Standing in the carpark at the bottom of Ben Ledi, I felt a buzz of excitment. This is the day I had been waiting for. The day where I was finally able to push myself and find out what I was capable off. You see, I’m not like your typical teenager. Im a 17 year old, who struggles with the day to day challenges of living myself, fitting in coming to terms with my gender, holding down a job and attending school at the same time. I dont really have the time or the money to go away so when I was offered the chance to escape for the day and walk up Ben Ledi it seemed like the perfect oppertunity to get a well earned break. Standing at the bottom of Ben Ledi looking at the mountain in front of me was an exciting but very daunting experience. Loaded up with my lunch, water and plenty of sunscreen, I started the walk that would turn out to be the walk that helped give me the freedom that would save my sanity.
Taking the first few steps was scary. When I crossed the wooden barrier at the bottom of the mountain, I knew there was no turning back. This was it. After we had been walking for about half an hour I noticed I was beginning to sweat. It was hot and tiring and I was very thirsty. I was out of breathe and my thighs where burning. But the scenery around me was marvellous. You could see for miles and we werent even half way up yet. When we got out of the trees you could see Loch Lubnaig which was sitting near a cottage that looked tiny in the distance. We stopped several times to take a breather and get some water and for me that was my time to take pictures and take in the amazing breathetaking scenery.
Once we got past the halfway mark, I felt a new excitment. I felt like i could actually do this. That i coulod actually achieve something in my life. That new found excitment was good for me but i also ran into more pressing problems. Doing the toilet. As i had never actually did this before i wasnt really too keen on doing the toilet outside. The leader kept trying to reassure me that it was okay and that i would be safe. I put it off for ages but then i started to get a sore stomach and when we were about 15 to 20 minutes from the top, the leader stopped for a water break and I went to the toilet. I was terrified but in reality it wasnt actually that bad. After we were all ready we started to walk the final stretch of Brn Ledi.
Seeing the cross signifing the top of the mountain was so amazing. Knowing how close I was to a dream I never actually realized I wanted was exceptional. Each step i took made my stomach flutter with butterflies. The closer i came to the top of the mountain the more I wanted to cry. And then I took the final step. I was there.
When my feel touched the top of the mountain I was at peace. The view was breathtaking. All my life I had been plagued with anxiety and depression but as I stood up tall on the top of Ben Ledi I had never felt more calm. Standing there looking at the world below me, nothing else mattered. I was free. I had never felt so calm and relaxed all my life. For the first time in ages I smiled. I smiled because I was genuinely happy and nothing i had ever done had ever made me feel like that. Feel that happy nothing could bring me down. Standing on that mountain I felt as if i was home and that feeling was new too me. I felt I actually belonged somehwere. I belonged there. And that was a feeling I never wanna lose.
I might have my own house, a great group of friends and my own life but nothing can ever make me feel as peaceful and more at home that standing on the top of Ben Ledi did. I truly cant wait to climb more mountains and to carry on with the group that helped change my life. SiMY.