'Life has no remote, get up and change it yourself'!RUSSIA!? The Story So Far… So yeah! Why Russia. I am kind of wondering/thinking the same thing…how did this actually come about…I wonder, have you ever dug yourself into a hole that is so deep you cannot climb back out….well I did. I dug that hole so deep and here’s exactly how it happened…(taken from journal extracts). 19th October 2017 – Taken from our Everest Basecamp Group Whatsapp chat – “What’s the next Mountain guys?”….”The one in Russia”!!!….”Lets get a team together and do it!! “Totally up for that”!! 12th May 2018 – On attending a wedding of two friends we met on EBT, where the big proposal took place……..”Lets do this mountain btw”….too much drink involved I think! 13th November 2018 – “Would you guys be up for Elbrus?”, reply, “YES” (without thinking). 20th November 2018 – huge amount of research undertaken to find route/guide/cost etc ect 14th January 2019 – serious thoughts of doubt sinking in, is this even achievable, am I fit enough, conditions on the mountain seems rough, too old for this nonsence, do I even actually really really want to do it….the turmoil goes on and on and on! 24th January 2019 – Were in! I feel like its too far gone, in too deep, were going to Elbrus…I suddenly don’t want to go!!! 25th January 2019 – “I can do this, I can!” 3rd February 2019 – deposit paid, am I actually doing this. I am now a group of 8 (some of our friends from EBC Trek are tagging along) climbing Mount Elbrus in Russsia, the highest mountain in Europe!!! 11th February 2019 – flights to Mineralnyn Vody booked….madness. 13th February 2019 – Hotel in Mineralnye Vody booked….feeling anxious/nervous….possibly my money could be better spent?? Preperation is now the key to our success on the mountain! Along with a positive mindset…which is probably more important! Positive, positive, positive!!! Thursday 21st March 2019 – Applied for Russian Visa tonight…so having a British passport meant being interrogated page after page, question after question for 3 hours solid…I’ll never get that 3 hours back!!!! However partner having an Irish passport meant him being asked 4 simple questions, 10 minutes later his was done…..hmmmmm yes, very interesting indeed!! I am sure Russia now know more about me than me! Friday 22nd March 2019 – Drove through to the Russian Embassy in Edinburgh to hand in Visa application form…after a few simple questions, 8 fingers prints and 2 thumb prints being taken, my details were now finally secure in a zip lock bag and being sent to the Russian Consulate…I should find out on March 29th if successful or not! So a few thoughts are going through my head at this stage……….thought number one “I’d be so disappointed if my visa was not to come through”……..thought number two “I’d be so elated if my visa was not to come through…no visa no climb”….is that bad of me!!! Friday 29th March 2019 – received a cryptic text message from the Russian Embassy to say a decision had been made on our visa application and we had to go back into the office. Monday 1st April 2019 – drove through to the Russian Embassy in Edinburgh to hear our fate – ow yes – ow no – we got the visa…..Russia here we come! Monday 6th May 2019 – Aeroflot plane crashes just after takeoff from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport: 41 killed on Russian jet….same airline we are flying with to Mineralnyn Vody. Saturday 11th May 2019 – paid our final payment!!! Its happening! Sunday 26th May 2019 – eight becomes seven. One member of our group has been unable to get his visa. Ironically he is a vlogger and travels the world. He returned briefly from Iran/Iraq to Hungary where he resides. Applied from here but having a British and New Zealand passport was told he had to apply from one of these countries thus paying them a visit in person. He was due out on another flight to Venizula before heading from there straight to Russia. Time was not on his side. He pulled out. We are all gutted! Friday 14th June 2019 – in exactly two weeks time we leave for Russia! Sunday 16th June 2019 – more hill walks undertaken. After being forced into buying new walking boots (old ones burst) wore them today to ‘break them in’ and they destroyed my feet. Not a good sign with two weeks to go!! Tuesday 18th June 2019 – ordered another pair of boots – call it panic buying! Saturday 22nd June/Sunday 23rd June 2019 – trekked & wild camped in the Cairngorms for a ‘practice run’ and the opportunity to try out the newest new boots! Success, much better than those other ones and I love the colour! Wednesday 26th June 2019 – so with two days to go I am on countdown. I have done as much preparation as I could possibly do. Mountains have been climbed both physically and mentally. Tonight bags/rucksacks have been packed unpacked and packed again. My stomach is churning! I am as ready as I will ever be…Will I ever be ready!
Wednesday 26th June 2019