A trip to the Himalayas proved both challenging and life-changing for Garstang vet Hattie Bertenshaw.
A month spent scaling Mera Peak and Island Peak was both gruelling and glorious.
Climbing the two 6,000 plus metre peaks has also changed her view of the world, says Hattie.
Back at work at the Beacon Veterinary Centre in Rope Walk, Garstang, she said: “The whole expedition was taking yourself right back to basics of what you do and don’t need to live. Travelling and seeing really remote areas and the people that live there... at Christmas you think of all the material things you don’t need. Having seen a different way of life and what we’ve got, it makes you less materialistic and appreciative of what you have got.”
Hattie had already proved her grit by last summer competing in the Lakeland 50, described as “one of the greatest ultra running and walking challenges in Europe, perhaps the world”.
But this was something different again. “I went to Nepal with my mum for three days a couple of years ago and flew over Everest. I wanted to go and walk there. I had no interest in just doing base camp, so I picked two summits Mera Peak at 6,492 metres and Island Peak, a more technical climbing challenge,” said Hattie.
In the last couple of years climbing has become a passion for Hattie. “I just love the outdoors and it’s a different way of experiencing the outdoors,” she says.
Hattie went with a friend from Penrith on the organised expedition and was one of a party of 10. “We had a team of sherpas and porters carrying items for us, which was quite embarrassing – they did all the hard work,” she said
“Mera Peak was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Mental stubbornness was needed to get there. Island Peak was absolutely amazing, you’re at the foot of Everest. But at 6,500 metres Everest is still 2,000 metres above you.”
But though she was miles from home, she notes with a smile an unusual coincidence.
“Food on the trek is really basic. But we had one square meal a day. At 6,000 metres we just took a pack of food and (when I read the label)it was from Red Scar industrial estate, (near Longridge),” she added.
Memorable moments included watching a sunrise from Mira. “It was the most beautiful sunrise ever, but it was too cold to get my camera out.,” said Hattie.
She said local store Tamarack Outdoors provided valuable support and advice for her adventure. Hattie has raised cash for local charities Croston House and the ADAM Appeal with the trek and says people can still give via a charity box at the vets.