Peak effort by Naval Reservist Sian nets charities more than £3k

Topic: CommunityFundraising Storyline: Royal Naval Reserve

Climb every mountain – and Royal Navy sailor Sian Lewis did, conquering 214 peaks in the Lake District in 29 days, all for good causes.

The reservist, who serves with the RN Leadership Academy at HMS Collingwood in Fareham which teachers sailors to be better, more effective leaders, set her sights on walking up every ‘Wainright’: hills and mountains in the Lake District, all but one of them rising more than 1,000ft above sea level which take their collective name from prominent fell walker and author Alfred Wainwright.

Together, the 214 peaks rise more than 119,000 feet (36,282 metres) – that’s about four times the height of Everest – spread over a distance of 418 miles (672.8 kilometres). So a lot of walking and climbing.

It took Sian four days to get into her stride and condition her body to the physical activity, after which the walks became less demanding.

What she hadn’t fully prepared for was how tough the challenge would be mentally, especially as the Lake District threw everything it had to offer at her, winds exceeding 60mph on some of the summits and some of the worst rainfall in recent history combined to make the challenge of wild camping both miserable and incredibly tough.

“I definitely came extremely close to quitting on more than one occasion,” the 26-year-old said. “Luckily, I was able to adapt my plan to suit the weather and push on. There were some beautiful days to help balance out the misery of the bad weather.

“I had an incredible support team throughout the walk and can’t thank my family and friends who brought me an endless supply of raspberries, chocolate and the encouragement to keep going, and I know my success wouldn’t have been possible without such amazing support.”

The highlight of the 29-day effort was scaling the 3,118ft (950-metre) Helvellyn, her favourite Wainright and England’s third-highest mountain.

“I am incredibly proud of myself for fighting hard against the mental struggle to not give in and keep going through the challenging elements and make it to the finish line,” said Sian.

“If I can take two things away from the challenge, the first would be how incredible it is to know how far we can push ourselves when we fight back against the voice in our head telling us we cannot achieve amazing things. The second is: never again!”

Sian set out to raise £3,000 for three charities: Rock2Recovery which helps Forces/emergency services personnel suffering from stress; animal charity PDSA and the Lake District Mountain Rescue.

So far she’s topped that by £450… and is still taking donations at: