Everest Basecamp – one of the most challenging experiences you could imagine. Few would dare to tackle this epic feat…one of these few is our very own Ellen Macgregor. As part of our online team she spends her weekdays behind a desk but come the weekend it’s a very different story, spending her spare time exploring the majestic mountain ranges of Scotland. Now that she’s conquered much of what Scotland has to offer, she’s now seeking something just the teensiest bit more taxing. Why the madness you ask..? Well, Ellen has taken five minutes out to tell us exactly why she’s lost her mind.
When did you start hill walking? And why?
I started hill walking just over a year ago now – although it feels like a lot longer. Generally I was feeling a bit fed up with life, looking for a new hobby to fill my free time, burn some unused energy and improve my fitness. Also I had always loved the outdoors growing up, usually found in some tree outside while my brother played his computer games!
In this time I have bagged 19 munros (Scottish mountains over 3000ft) and over 40 corbetts (over 2000ft).
What is it that keeps your interest in hill walking and munro bagging?
Firstly, each mountain is different – actually the same mountains can even feel completely different depending on the conditions you get. I absolutely love being outdoors, exploring Scotland’s beautiful mountain ranges and wild areas and the physical challenge makes it even more exciting.
Some of the hills you visit are pretty remote. How do you travel to the destinations?
Of course some of the most stunning and challenging hills are difficult to get to. Living in Glasgow makes it easy for me to get numerous munros in the Lomond’s and Arrochar Alp areas using the fantastic CityLink services available.
Mainly though I walk with groups such as Glasgow’s Young Walkers, Paisley Ramblers etc. These groups are usually made up of experienced walkers which make me feel safer on the mountains, plus they can navigate the correct route. Groups will tend to have transport arrangements in the form of car shares or busses and are super friendly. I mainly walk with Paisley Ramblers and highly recommend walking with a group!
What is it you will be doing in the Himalayas?
I am taking on the trek to Everest Base Camp (South) which is a 16 day hike reaching over 17,600ft at the highest point.
What are the main challenges you will face on the EBC trek?
The main challenges will be acclimatisation and maintaining stamina. The reason the trek takes so long is the body needs times to adjust to the reduced rate of oxygen to avoid getting altitude sickness. Altitude sickness can be life threatening and is exactly why you don’t want to rush the trek.
Each day will range from 5-10 hours of walking which I am completely comfortable with but I have never had to do this for 16 days consecutively. This is why a lot of my training has been based around cardio, stamina building and reducing the recovery time my body needs.
Why have you decided to donate to Scottish Mountain Rescue?
As a mountain enthusiast I am well aware of just how dangerous mountain climbing can be and have heard many horror stories of accidents and even fatalities. Often these stories include Mountain Rescue and their selfless volunteers. As much as I hope I never actually have to use the service, I feel safer in the knowledge that the skilled volunteers are on hand if I ever truly need them. This is why I’ve decided to try raise a little money for Scottish Mountain Rescue. I started with a goal of £200 but due to such amazing generosity already I have increased my goal to £500.
If you would like to contribute to this amazing charity then please click here, any donations whether big or small would be so greatly appreciated and will help these brave men and women continue to save lives.
Follow my training and journey to Everest Base Camp at @ellengoestoeverest on Instagram.