It is hard to believe that it was only a week ago that I was being picked up by Jason and Beth to set off for our big Scottish Highland Adventure. Some of us were better prepared than others, and some of us had a better understanding of the challenge than others, but Scotland really tested us all. We had snow, hail, heavy rain, light rain, drizzle, strong winds, sun, heat and minus temperatures. The mountains really threw everything at us and a bit more! I’m glad it is over, that is for sure, however, once my aches and pains have gone I think I will look back at it with fond memories.
Some good things did come of it: 1)- sun tan, 2)- made new friends (Alex and Beth) and 3)- we raised £4,204 for Cancer Research UK, the sole reason for our expedition.
|Sugar Bowl Car Park|
Mountains Climbed: Braeriach (3), Sgor An Lochain Uaine (5) and Cairn Toul (4)
Distance: 22 miles
Walking Time: 14 hours 30 minutes
|Setting off from the car park|
Day 1 was always going to be the toughest day: an epic traverse to reach our three designated mountains in the Cairngorms. Our targets: Braeriach (3),Sgor An Lochain Uaine (5) which we shall call Angel’s Peak from now on and Cairn Toul (4). A 22 mile walk with a total ascent of 1800 metres. We always knew this was going to be a tough one even in good weather, but the Arctic like Cairngorms gave us their best attempt at hell by throwing in 0 visibility and continuous torrential rain. And when not raining it either snowed or hailed.
5:45 my alarm went off ready for a quick breakfast of baked beans on toast before setting off at 6:20. That was the plan anyway; the others were 20 minutes late which really annoyed me as I would happily have slept that extra 20 minutes (I like my sleep!).We still managed to set up from the Sugar Bowl car park by 7 which gave us a good 15 hours of day light for our mammoth walk.
It was already raining when we started but spirits were high as we set off on the gentle man made path that leads away from the Sugar Bowl Car Park. Within 45 minutes we had reached our first challenge. The Chalamain Gap: a large awkward boulder field which required some care as plenty of potential leg breakers in there! Jason and Beth skipped through with no problems and I was through not long after. Alex and Magali took their time, but we were all safely through within 15 minutes making good progress once more on the nice man made path that made it’s way down Lairig Guru.
|On our way down to Lairig Guru, our climb up in sight|
The route description suggested we walked up the valley floor (Lairig Guru) until we got to Corrour bothy and from there climb up the steep path to the corrie. However, it does warn that it can be packed with hard snow well into the summer and not wanting to risk walking all the way there to find it was unpassable we decided to get the climbing out of the way first, so we crossed the stream and headed up the steep path that took us up towards Braeriach. The climb really got our legs and lungs going and after 500 metres or so when it levelled out slightly Beth asked whether we were there yet! I chuckled to myself as I said NO! Not even half way there yet!
The visibility disappeared at this point and the rain got heavier. We didn’t manage to find the path that would takes us to Braeriach so we walked with the cliffs on our left all the way until eventually we met the path again as we made the final pull up to the summit. We were so cold and wet when we reached it that we didn’t even bother taking a photo, we just kept going. We started off down the path but we soon lost sight of it so we continued with the same approach, keeping the cliffs on our left. These suddenly took a right hand turn. A quick check on the map suggested this was correct (although a little sooner than I expected but that is great I thought, it means we are covering lots of ground!).
|Looking back at out rote from Angel’s Peak|
About 5 minutes later I noticed that the cliffs weren’t really cliffs, but instead a gradual slope down. I checked the map to see that that shouldn’t be the case, these are pretty epic cliffs. Not overly worried we started bearing left but the cliffs just didn’t appear. I got my phone out to check the GPS but this suggested we hadn’t even reached our first mountain. How is that possible? I was sure that summit had been Braeriach. We got the compass out but our brains just couldn’t make sense of it. So we walked another couple of minutes in blindness hoping to find a landmark to get our bearings. Just then, as if in answer to my prayer, the fog lifted enough for me to see the cliffs. Only the cliffs were on both sides!! How could that be? Looking at the map I could only imagine the peak ahead of us was Braeriach. So we up the hill we walked and yes, we were back where we were 15 minutes before, on the summit of Braeriach somehow having done a full circle.
|Angel’s Peak Summit|
So off we set again. GPS out, cliffs on our left. Luckily the fog lifted enough to see my mistake. Where there had been a sharp turn before there was simply a bit of steep downhill. Enough for the fog to make it look like a cliff, but actually, we were nowhere near where the actual cliffs turned! The fog lifted substantially at this point, showing us the way and allowing us to cut across the large plateau whilst giving us the views of our next two targets: Angle’s Peak and Cairn Toul.
|Angel’s Peak from Cairn Toul|
Spirits lifted we made good time keeping close to the cliffs and were soon on our way up Angel’s Peak. The rain even gave us a bit of a break at this point too! Quick photo and back down ready for the scramble up to Cairn Toul. I didn’t mind the rocky terrain at all, but Alex and Magali particularly found it tricky and took their time. Whilst waiting I made my way to the other side of Cairn Toul from where I could see the bothy and the snow covered corrie. Unsure as to whether we would be able to get down or not we decided to retrack our steps.
|Cairn Toul summit|
Back down the tricky boulder field we then cut across the slopes of Angel’s Peak to continue our way back towards Braeriach. The views we had enjoyed for the last hour or so soon disappeared and the rain, sleet and snow came back with vengeance. Beth had already started to slow down in the earlier parts of the morning, but she was now really struggling. No matter how slow we walked she was still falling behind, tears in her eyes, ready to give up but to stubborn to. We tried to get her to let us carry her bag, not just to help her, but also to allow us to make better progress, but not wanting to be a burden she wouldn’t let us. Slowly we continued making our progress. Without the visibility we were once again having to go round with the cliffs on our right, not trusting my ability with just a compass to get across the vast plateau.
|Angel’s Peak Summit|
The rain kept on coming, Beth was getting slower and we were getting colder. Our waterproofs had long stopped working, our dried sweat chilling us to the bones. Beth has since admitted that she thought we were going to have to leave her up there to die. I won’t lie, I had thought that we were going to have to call mountain and rescue for her but fair play, she battled through and made it out the other side.
|Angel’s Peak summit|
We finally made it back up to Braeriach for the third time that day and it was at this point that we met Alistair, a fellow walker who was also mad enough to be out in this weather. The great news is that he had GPS so we were able to follow him home. He was suffering with his hips and therefore wasn’t really making that much more progress than Beth. When he did get ahead, we separated, making sure we could always see the one person ahead and one behind in the thick fog. Thanks to this we were able to go straight as opposed to around and finally we made it back to that original path that would steeply drop us down to Lairig Guru.
Beth was still struggling, and getting slower. Alex, Magali and I were walking as slowly as we could, but still having to stop and wait, shivering away. I had lost all feeling in my hands. I was so desperate for a wee but I couldn’t undo my trousers so I had to ask Magali to undo them for me (poor girl). After what seemed like forever we finally made it to Lairig Guru. The rain also started to ease at this point and I think that due to having the end in sight Beth finally managed to get pass that massive wall she was facing enabling her to pick up the pace. In no time we were back at the Chalamain Gap, a much harder ordeal than on the way out. Tired legs and slippery rocks did not make for easy crossing, however, we all made it unhurt (apart from Magali who got a nice bruise on her shin).
One last push back down the path to the car. Streams we hadn’t even noticed on the way up were now overflowing, but nothing was going to stop us. 14 and a half hours later we made it back to our starting point. I was so relieved that the day was over. I couldn’t wait to have a nice hot shower and a good night’s sleep ahead of the next day’s walk. I couldn’t even muster energy for dinner. I was feeling rather unwell so I had my shower and went straight to sleep.
Not for long though. I spent the majority of the night with my head in the toilet and when the morning came and it was time to set off on our next walk, I just couldn’t do it. Completely drained of energy, with a rather acute pain in my kidneys and a urine infection I felt I would be more of a burden than an asset on the mountains so instead I decided to take the day off and come back at the end of the trip to complete them. Beth and Jason had also decided to give today a miss due to blisters so we set off to our next location whilst Magali and Alex set off to conquer Ben Macdui and Cairngorm.
I spent all day sleeping and recovering whilst Magali and Alex managed the two mountains. Not a completely hassle free day though. They got another soaking, they forgot to check out of the hostel (in fact, they didn’t realise they were meant to leave, so had a shower and dinner and it wasn’t until they wondered where we were that they got hold of me to find they were in the wrong place!). So they had to pay for another night but not stay there, in the rush of leaving they took someone elses clothes and they turned up at 11 at our cottage with my phone in a tub of rice. I’d like to say I was understanding, but I was far from it which led to a great deal of tension between us all.
Mountains Climbed: Beinn Ghlas and Ben Lawers (10)
Distance: 6.5 miles
Walking Time: 6 hours
|En route up Beinn Ghlass|
What a lovely walk! There is a really nice path the whole way up starting off with a lovely nature trail where funnily there is Arctic fauna (not sure why or which of the flowers classed as Arctic but thats what the massage board said).
|Looking back at our starting point|
The way up is a rather steep climb which zig zags its way up the southern slopes of the mountain. It was quite demoralising looking back and still seeing the cars looking at us. However, there is something rather satisfying about being able to see how far you have climbed. The steep slope keeps going with only a couple of places where it levels off for no more than 200 metres before the steep climb begins again. The views however were phenomenal. You could see the entire southern highland range as well as the west highlands (including Ben Nevis) and even the East Highlands too! I wish that I could take photos that showed quite how amazing the views were.
|Views were alright! 😉|
|Beinn Ghlass summit|
The nice thing about this ascent is that despite it being sharp, I was able to just plod, one small step at a time and in no time I was stood at the top of Beinn Ghlass. Not one of the mountains of our challenge, just one that was in the way of Ben Lawers, our actual target and the 10th largest mountain in the UK.
|Admiring the views from Beinn Ghlass|
|Admiring the views from Beinn Ghlass|
We had a quick break on Beinn Ghlass before descending 100 metres ready for our final 250 metre incline. This was a bit rockier than the original path and potentially a little steeper too, but again, small steps and we were at the top in no time.
|Ben Lawers Summit|
Although the walk was easy there were a number of times I nearly gave up. My kidneys were still killing me and I was still feeling very weak from my lack of food the day before (due to still feeling nauseous). I’m glad I didn’t give up though. Magali also suffered today. It was rather hot and I think that coupled with our argument about my phone (and the late night, rush, and the fact they had to drive back to the hostel to return the stolen items) was getting to her. As a consequence she was struggling to breathe so Alex carried her bag up for her. And even with two bags he was quicker than the rest of us! Beth and Jason were also feeling full of beans after they day off.
Because the weather was so great we were able to have a 15 minute break enjoying the views without freezing to death as had been the case on Sunday. We even got chatting to some oldies (68 year old man who beat us up amongst them) who gave us a £5 donation. I also got £5 from a random group of guys in pub yesterday. Every little helps and nice that strangers are contributing too!
|Ben Lawers summit|
After a break we made our way back down. A little gingerly for the first 250 metres due to our knees creaking so much but we then spotted an escape route that bypassed Beinn Ghlass so took that instead. A really nice steady descent through the valley back to the nature trail.
|On our way down with Ben Lawers in the background|
I would go as far as saying that today’s walk was enjoyable! And best of all, we were heading to Fort William that night which could only mean one thing: dinner in the Grog and Gruel.
Mountains Climbed: Aonach Beag (7) and Aonach Mor (8)
Distance: 10.5 miles
Walking Time: 7 hours
|Walking up the Glen|
The guide suggested the walk would take us 7-10 hours so we had a bit of a lie in and set off at 10 am after a large Scottish Breakfast. Beth and Jason decided to pass on the walk and have a leisurely day in Fort William instead. Magali, Alex and I headed up to the Glen Nevis car park where we set off along the well worn path up the glen. Once out of the forest the views opened up to reveal the beautiful Steal Waterfalls. The sun was shining and it was actually rather pleasant. The first hour in fact was like a stroll in the park, nice scenery and not even the need to break into a sweat. Just what our muscles needed, a nice warm up!
|Time to leave the path and head up, straight up!|
We needed that warm up! Once at the Steal ruins we left the path and headed up the mountain keeping the stream on our left. Imagine a very large moss covered mountain with very steep slopes. Imagine no path. There was only one way and that was up. For 800 metres the ground was no more than 2 feet from our faces and it was relentless and never ending. The gradient didn’t change. The only thing that changed was the wetness of our feet! Being a massive marsh mountain you can imagine the ground.
Up we went. One small step at a time. Sometimes straight up, others zig zagging, others walking back. And it just went on, and on.. Luckily the views were great. We could see tomorrow’s challenge to our left (CMD, the arête, and Ben Nevis), and behind us we had the Ring of Steel.
|Looking down at the Ring of Steal|
On we plodded until at 800 metres the gradient levelled a bit giving us a more gradual ascent. I had drunk so much water in this time that I had to fill my pouch back up from one of the streams. Couldn’t get it any fresher than that!
Finally, after what seemed like forever we made it to the cliff where we were able to see our next challenge. An equally as gruelling climb to our first summit: Stob Coire Bhealaich (at just over 1000 metres). Again, no path, just a ridiculously steep ascent.
It was as we started to near the summit of this that the visibility started to go. In no time we could only see 30 metres ahead of us. Luckily there was a path from here so we started to follow that on our way to Aonach Beag. It seemed off that the path wasn’t really climbing much so I checked the GPS only to see we were skirting around our desired peak so again we had no choice but to go up!
|What we think was the summit of Aonach Beag|
This climb got progressively worse as snow appeared on what was already a very steep incline and the visibility was no more than 10 metres and very hard to tell what was fog and what was snow. We checked the GPS regularly until we reached a white nothingness that it suggested was the summit. The ground didn’t appear to go any higher but there was nothing to mark where we were so we it’s possible that we weren’t quite on it. The map suggested the summit was on the edge of the cliff, and not knowing where the solid ground finished and what was snow overhang we decided to not go any further and class our current spot as the summit.
Replying on the GPS we made our way towards our next target, Aonach Mor. We could see from the map that we needed to cross a very narrow ledge; with drops either side but we couldn’t see it. The GPS suggested which way, which to us just looked like a cliff, but we put our trust in it and started descending the cliff! Luckily it was right and the small ridge awaited us before opening up into a broader plateau that gradually made its way to Aonach Mor. Within half an hour we were on the summit of Aonach Mor (and 5 hours into our journey).
|Summit of Aonach Mor|
The problem now was that the weather was rapidly changing. Visibility was still nil, the rain had started (and it was predicted to get stronger), and our way back down was blocked by snow so we had two options: retrace our steps, which we didn’t fancy due to the snow/ice we would need to descend on; or continue straight ahead which would take us down to the Nevis Ski Resort.
We opted for the latter so off we trudged in the mist. At first a gradual descent but it quickly became rather steep. In fact, we were walking down the black ski route! Very hard on the knees, very sloppy, very marshy, and rather rocky in places. We were keen to get a move on as they have a gondola running but we had a feeling it closed at 4:30 and we really wanted to make it so we could get down the last 600 metres in that.
|Cheating our way down|
I always underestimate how long going down takes. We zig zagged our way down the slope, in more or less blindness. After about an hour I could hear the gondola so I upped my pace reluctant to miss it. Magali and Alex were being left quite far behind, but I was not stopping. I was more or less at a jog at this point ready to beg them to not let the last carriage go without us. When I reached the point that the map suggested the ski resort should be I could still see nothing. But I could hear it. Where was it? I started to run towards the noise in desperation and suddenly, this massive building appeared less than 5 metres ahead of me. I couldn’t believe the thickness of the fog! Just as we reached the building the heavens properly opened. Luckily the gondolas were still working so we jumped in one and descended the final 600 metres in comfort.
You cannot imagine our relief. The gondola did stop for nearly 20 metres whilst we hang in mid air, but we finally made it to the bottom where we called Jason who came to pick us up!
What a day!! A real tough one. But only 2 more to go for Alex and Maggie and 4 more for me.!
Mountains Climbed: Carn Mor Dearg (9) and Ben Nevis (1)
Distance: 11 miles
Walking Time: 9 hours
|Setting off towards Ben Nevis|
Today was incredible. Hard but worth it. For Magali and Alex their last day and all 10 peaks climbed. Also the last day for Jason and Beth but they’ve only managed 6. For me, 8 climbed, 2 to go tomorrow.
The weather forecast was predicting very heavy rain from 5 pm onwards. We were also unsure whether we were going to be able to traverse the arête due to snow so we decided to set off early to give ourselves as much time before the rain as possible, and also allow for any eventualities (such as having to turn round due to snow).
|On our way up the steep slopes to Carn Mor Dearg|
We set of from the North Face Car Park of Ben Nevis and made our way steadily up the forest. The sun was out but it wasn’t too warm. It was actually perfect. Once out of the woods we continued along the path that takes you to the CIC Hut (right at the base of Nevis) knowing that we needed to pick a spot to start turning up the massive lump of land that was towering over us: Carn Beag Dearg. There is no path up to CMD (our first target) so when the marsh land looked a little less boggy we set off and started making our way up hill.
|Spirits still up!|
Just like yesterday this was a killer. No line to follow, wet marshy ground that got progressively steeper with no end in sight. The plus were the views. We were climbing with the North Fave of Ben Nevis on our right peaking in and out of the cloud. And I can tell you, it is stunning!
|The North Face of Ben Nevis|
After 2 1/2 hours our target was finally in sight. Jason and Beth scooted off ahead of us, only to realise they had climbed the wrong peak! Magali, Alex and I made our way up to CMD rather more conservatively.
We were still unsure of whether we would be going over the arête or not, but luckily we met a man on the CMD summit who said the arête was fine and that we were able to avoid the snow on the scramble up to Ben Nevis.
|Carn Mor Dearg Arete|
Shortly after saying that he run down the cliff. Literally!! A little bit apprehensive about trusting this mad man, but unable to face descending what we had just been up, we decided to go with it. Alex found it quite scary but for the rest of us it was ok. It was nowhere near as bad as Crib Goch. You could happily walk over the top of this one without holding on or without the risk of losing your balance. In addition there was also an escape route pretty much the entire way over. Jason, Beth and I made good progress and made the most of the views whilst we waited for the others.
From here we could see yesterday’s route and I have to say, even with perfect visibility what we did yesterday with none looked terrifying. Maybe it was best we couldn’t see! I also couldn’t spot the way down we should have supposedly taken so I’m glad we did decide to keep going to the ski centre!
|Aonach Beag as seen from the arete|
At last we were over the arête and only 200 metres below the summit of Nevis. A very steep scramble up (but easier than Crib Goch) and we were there in no time. It was absolutely breath-taking. We arrived at some snow, and a quick check of the GPS suggested we were close, but also very close to the cliff, so we started averting around it until the hut came into view. That’s when we started walking on the snow. Wow! A few people up there, but nothing in comparison to normal. There was 2 metres of snow covering the summit so all the normal windbreakers were covered. The snow was more or less up to the shelters door (normally you have to clamber up) and the cairn marking the summit was also at ground level. It gave it a very bare look but a very pretty one too. And just as we got there the fog lifted and we got the most amazing views all around. Just stunning!!
|Ben Nevis Summit|
|What the summit normally looks like|
|Admiring the views from Ben Nevis|
From here we set off down the tourist path, the first 200 metres or so in snow, which was actually easier. And from then on, the never ending zig zag on loose rock. I hated it the last two times and I still hate it. It was never ending. And I was bursting for a wee with nowhere to hide. In the end Beth had to stop traffic (where there was a rock I could hide behind). Rather embarrassing as obviously everyone knew what was happening!
|We’ve done it!!|
After what seemed like forever we made it down to the lake where we veered off from the tourist path and started to make the descent down the rather boggy marshy hill back down to our original path and forest. We started off by trying to avoid the wet but soon gave up and just splashed through it all desperate to get home.
Eventually we reached the stream that we needed to cross (was looking more like a river and required some rather large leaps across the protruding rocks) to get us back onto the path that would lead us through the forest and back to the car park. I thought Magali was going to fall in the water as she was faffing so much! I did have the camera out at the ready but unfortunately no footage for “You’ve been framed”.
It was on the way down the man-made path that my knee decided to give up, so instead of 15 minutes down it took 30 minutes as I hoped my way off the mountain. I hoped it would be better by the next day but it wasn’t going to be.
Mountains Climbed: Ben Macdui (2) and Cairn Gorm (6)
Distance: 11 miles
Walking Time: 6 1/2 hours
|On route up Ben Macdui|
I can only think of one word to describe today: horrid!
I caught the bus from Fort William to Inverness this morning where I was able to collect a hire car. This saw me arriving at the Cairngorm Ski Centre at 12 ready for my walk. The guide suggested 6-8 hours so I figured this gave me enough time to get up and down in daylight.
Even so, I didn’t want to take any chances and knowing how slow I am on the down I raced up. I had a really good pace and not having the others with me meant I didn’t have to stop for anything. 20 minutes in it started to rain so even more of a reason to get it over and done with.
The ascent up to Ben Macdui (2) isn’t too bad. It’s actually rather gradual and in some places you can’t even tell you are climbing so it makes for good progress. Unfortunately I had no views and the higher I got the worse the visibility got (and the worse the rain got). Just reading the description online, the Cairngorms are described as Arctic like and much wilder than Ben Nevis. I believe them! It was horrible up there.
There was a very obvious path all the way so I didn’t need to check my map at all until we reached some snow when I thought I’d get my bearings to make sure I didn’t go off course. Damn! My map! I hadn’t picked it up. Here I am 1000 metres high, with no more than 30 metres visibility and I haven’t got a map!
|The moment I realised I had no map!|
I made the decision at this point to only proceed if I could under any circumstances retract my steps. Luckily I still had my phone. Nope, that also decided to die on me, the water damage from Monday finally taking its toll. I could get the map up but I couldn’t get it off airplane mode so the GPS was worthless. Luckily all this happened in a very obvious place so I was able get my bearings and using the phone as my map and my compass I was able to proceed.
Once the path finished the entire route to the top of Ben Macdui is marked out by cairns. The fog was so thick I couldn’t see from one to the next but luckily it was straight South so I was able to make my way there safely. I was concentrating so much on the route that I never even noticed the climb. Had I not felt it on my knees on the way down I wouldn’t have even known I had climbed! The views: None! The rain: pouring and getting stronger.
It had only taken me 2 1/2 hours to get there and I wasn’t going to hang about so I turned back on myself and made my way back to that first patch of snow where I knew the route branched off east towards my next and final target: Cairn Gorm.
Again, there was a good path to follow and I was able to pick up on certain features as we went allowing me to know I was on the right route. Of course, it wouldn’t be as simple as that and soon a massive patch of snow was thrown in my way. Worried of losing my bearings I decided my only option was to continue through it. The problem, it was very shallow and therefore difficult to walk on as very slippery. I survived though and finally made it to the other side only a metre or so off the path which was good.
Luckily, despite the visibility not improving there was a clear path all the way from here and as it was relatively flat I was again marching on. I knew I was walking close to the cliffs but the visibility was so poor I never once saw them! Scary!
Finally I reached the ascent to Cairn Gorm. Not a very long one and I don’t think particularly steep but it completely drained me. Every step was an effort. I had to make myself take each step. So close and so very nearly giving up the will to live. And finally, there it was. The summit of Cairn Gorm (6) with its weather station and grey misty views.
I didn’t even stop. I took the chocolate bar out my bag whilst walking and munched on that as I made my way down towards the restaurant. I had made it to Cairn Gorm in 4 hours (which I thought was pretty good), however, not quite quick enough to get the funicular down so I had to walk down.
This is where I struggled. My knees where screaming at me. Every step they felt like they were popping out their sockets. Some of the worst pain I have experienced. I’d say more painful than when I broke my foot or even my ribs.
And the path just seemed never ending. At this point I could see the car park but it just didn’t seem to get any closer, so I had another chocolate bar; and a Saureen; and another Saureen; and a trail bar; and another trail bar. And finally, my energy returned, I gritted my teeth and just sped down the hill. Despite the wind I could still hear my knees crunching with every step.
But it was all over. 6 1/2 hours. What a relief!! I never want to see a mountain again. I’ve told Doug we are moving to Holland!! I don’t think my knees can cope with another mountain again! I have never seen them this swollen!
But despite all the pains and aches it has been a great week. I feel like I’ve really achieved something. It has been harder in some ways but easier in others. I expected more aches and pains from my muscles but I haven’t really had any, just my knees, which I suppose means I did the right training. I expected blisters which I didn’t get. I did chafe a bit but I put the blister plasters on that on the first day which stopped any further. So from that respect it has been easy. And the actual walks have also been ok, apart from the odd moment of weakness here and there. I think the hardest part was the mental part. I feel completely emotionaly drained. I was sobbing my eyes out as I made it to the car and then again on the phone to Doug. I was even tearful eating my pasta in the Italian restaurant. I must have looked like such a freak to all the other customers!
A true challenge and one that I will remember for a long time. Thank you Magali, Beth, Alex and Jason for joining me. The hardest part of the last day was not having anyone with me so I can’t imagine what doing all 10 on my own would have been like.