Reflections in the Lakes

15th July 2018

Ruth, 42, from Lincolnshire, recently took part in our Lake District Challenge, a two-day trek up and down eight peaks in the Lake District

Ruth LDC

Here, Ruth gives us an insight into the highs and lows of the trek, and how the experience is much more than just a walking challenge.

"As the clouds parted at the top of the first hill to reveal the valley and lake below, there was a sense of euphoria."

"The scene was like a mystery being revealed, the mystery of why we were all there taking on the challenge of this landscape; a landscape of literal highs and lows and at times seemingly unforgiving and relentless - a metaphor for my journey with meningitis."

"We'd made it this far, we could do another seven peaks, surely? And so, we did."

"One step at a time we traversed slopes, slid down scree, climbed over boulders and, sometimes on all fours, made it to the top of all eight. It was worth every ounce of effort."

"The landscape connected and represented collective and individual experiences, giving space for reflection and recovery."

"It took me beyond my experience of hospital, pain and flashing blue lights, the experience of lying on the floor because it was too painful to move forwards, backwards or stand. It took me beyond the recovery process and the five years of after-effects including fatigue, headaches, hypersensitivity, voids and memory loss. It took me beyond the loss of identity as my job and role in society was stripped from me because of an acquired brain injury."

"The landscape we were in, rugged and ravaged by nature, stood seemingly outside time. It was beautiful because it had endured, it was sublime and we had met it, and in that process, there was a transcendence and inspiration."

"There was a beauty in what we had achieved together; we shared our experiences of this terrible disease with people who understood the illness or the grief, and we celebrated the memory of loved ones, and the lives of those who had survived."

"Broken as we were by our meningitis experiences, we had made it this far, and we would continue."