Roseberry Topping Image by Steven Iceton

Image Courtesy of Steven Iceton

Living with a heart condition has always been a challenge and this has had its ups and downs. Since discovering The Somerville Foundation a number of years ago, I have received a lot of help and advice from them.  I received an email earlier this year about #TeamSF, after reading it, I was eager to raise some funds for The Somerville Foundation. Although, I didn’t expect it would be as challenging or rewarding as walking up Roseberry Topping.

For those of you who are not from the north east or Yorkshire, Roseberry Topping is a large hill in the North Yorkshire National Park. It is 320 meters high and the highest point in the area. I thought about easier targets but settled on this. I regularly walk a lot in my job and felt that if I was going to ask for sponsorships, I would try something that was more of a challenge.

I had persuaded my mum to assist me on the walk and had a cousin on stand by just in case as my mum had recently been diagnosed with cancer. I think this gave me more impetus to do this as the cancer is treatable but not curable.

The sponsorship money had been collected and the doctors had given the “Okay” for both of us. All we needed to do was get up the hill in one piece. The day came, the satnav was set up, and off we went. En route I realised that I had put the last two digits of the postcode the wrong way round in the satnav and ended up five miles away from where we supposed to be! But a quick check on Google and a reset of the satnav got us on the right track (anyone who knows me knows I can get lost in my own town so this was expected).

We arrived and a saw the scale of the task. Suddenly 320 meters looked a long way. The walk from the car park to entrance give an indication of how hard this would be and I began to think I had overestimated the task. At this point I asked my mum which way we would go and decided to turn left. It was about half way up the wooden steps that I realised that my mum had picked the steep way and was about to give up. I rested for a couple of minutes, and then noticed that my mum was at the top of the stairs. After a few choice words from my mum, reminding me of the reason why we came, we got going again. At this point we changed tact and I followed my mum at a much slower pace and took regular breaks until we reached half way.

We reached some benches and looked back on how far we had come. There was time for a quick snack and a drink to recover some energy. Before starting the last half, I got the walking poles out and started the ascent to the top. This section was not as hard as the earlier section and I found using the sticks helped. We took our time to reach the top and took the opportunity view Teesside and the surrounding area. The weather was helpful and a breeze kept us cool once we got close to the top. However nature threw another challenge as the last rocks were high and we had to use our hands.


When my mum and I reached the top it felt like I had climbed the equivalent of Everest in my mind as this was something I would not have attempted under normal circumstances.

After some photographs and some rest, we started the descent and found the easy route. At this point my mum let slip that she deliberately took the steep route as this would be more of an achievement. Part of me wanted to make her walk home, but I am glad she did. I hate to admit this as felt very proud of both of us.

It is at this point that I apologise for the less than flattering photos as I had a just got to the top and had a drink put in my hand at the time. It was off to the pub for a drink and a rest before driving home (I double checked the satnav this time).

Looking back, it was an excellent day! I also raised £255.81 for The Somerville Foundation and have something positive to take from a very difficult twelve months. I would like do more walks or events in the future but will leave Roseberry Topping for a while