PUBLISHED: 17:28 13 July 2009 | UPDATED: 15:23 20 February 2013
Adam Green is a prominent Shrewsbury jeweller and businessman - owner of his family's 200-year-old fine jewellery shop Fabricius Green in High Street. Last year he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and while continuing treatment wondered what he ...
Adam Green is a prominent Shrewsbury jeweller and businessman - owner of his family's 200-year-old fine jewellery shop Fabricius Green in High Street. Last year he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and while continuing treatment wondered what he could do to contribute to the battle against this disease.
Not one to go for the easy option he decided to raise money for The Severn Hospice in Shropshire and The Prostate Cancer Charity by climbing The 14 Peaks of Snowdonia, also known as The Welsh 3000s - in one day.
Here is his story
In the autumn of 2007 I was recovering from an operation to remove my prostate, and the subsequent radiotherapy, when I decided to take a positive outlook and do a sponsored walk to raise money for cancer relief.
Firstly I decided on the challenge. As a younger man I had tried without success to walk the Welsh 3,000 feet peaks, a walk also known as The 14 Peaks. This time I wanted to put that failure behind me and, with proper planning and fitness training, to complete the whole route in one day. The route takes in all the peaks over 3,000 feet and starts or finishes on top of Snowdon. The route I chose is 31.5 miles or 52 kilometres and has 12,000 feet or 3,650 metres of ascent.
The choice of charities was easier. The Severn Hospice does wonderful work, helped by hard-working volunteers, but it cannot survive without money. The Prostate Cancer Charity was my other choice, for obvious reasons. These two good causes were enough to motivate me to lose weight and get fit for the biggest walk of my life.
Radiotherapy seems to drain all the energy from your muscles, and the hormone therapy that I was receiving cut off all my testosterone, so getting fit was an enormous effort. I did not realise at the time that testosterone helps muscles to recover after exercise, and also aids the building of extra muscle. My hormone injections also tended to make me put on weight, so getting fit was not as easy as it had been in earlier years, but at first I just put it all down to being 59-years-old.
In January I started going as regularly as I could to the Bodytech Health Club in Mardol, and was shocked at how hard it was to do 20 minutes of simple aerobic exercise. On days off I would try to go for a walk on the Long Mynd. Forget the training for a moment; we are so lucky to have such an outstandingly beautiful area on our doorsteps. I could hardly wait for the lighter evenings when I could go for a two hour walk after work, followed by supper at one of the many pubs in the area.
My walking partner was to be my son-in-law, Chris Good. Not only is he super fit but he is, more importantly, a cheerful and agreeable companion. He and my daughter Beth live in St Albans, so his only problem was finding some hills for training walks. Our wives kindly offered to be the support team, meeting us at the two places where the route crosses the road and also at the finishing line. My wife also supported my training walks, often having to give up her own plans to help me. We just had to keep our fingers crossed that Beth would not produce our first grandchild more than two weeks early.
Training in Snowdonia was dogged by poor weather. Chris and I walked on Good Friday, but the snow, poor visibility and strong wind curtailed our outing. Snow and low cloud prevented several of my reconnaissance trips but I felt that my fitness was gradually improving.
The weather was fine for the weekend of the walk. After working in the shop on the Saturday we drove up to our hotel in Capel Curig. An early start saw Chris and me walking from Pen-y-Pass car park at ten past four in the morning. Our schedule allowed four hours 15 minutes for the three peaks of Snowdon, then breakfast in Nant Peris, six hours 30minutes for the middle section from Elidir Fawr to Tryfan, tea in the Ogwen Valley and then six hours 20minutes for the Carneddau to Abergwyngregyn.
Cobden's Hotel in Capel had come up trumps with breakfast. They made a thermos of porridge for our support team to bring us, so we had a 30 minute break before we headed on and our wives went back for a full English at the hotel. The climb from Nant Peris to Elidir Fawr is the longest of the day, and I think Chris was concerned that I was finding it really tough. However, once on top, the views inspired me, and I found the next section much easier. We made good time over Y Garn and the Glyders and had almost made up lost time when we got to the top of Tryfan. My knees were beginning to feel all their 59 years on the steep descent to the valley, and I was relieved to be able to sit on a wall by the lake at our second pit stop.
The third and final section started at 4pm with the ascent of Pen Yr Ole Wen from Glan Dana, at the head of Llyn Ogwen. This time it was Chris who was suffering, but we reached the top after one hour 30 minutes and then lengthened our stride for the easier walking over Carnedd Daffydd and Carnedd Lewellyn. It was getting late in the day so we were not surprised that there were very few people about. There is a detour of about one hour to take in the summit of Yr Elen and then an easy path over the last few tops before we reached our last cairn on top of Foel Fras. The sun was sinking behind Anglesey, defying the weather prophets who had predicted low cloud and drizzle for the evening. Our time from first summit to last had been 15 hours 15 minutes, but we still had some miles to go.
We ate the last of our energy foods and drained our bottles and almost raced down the slope, over Drum and down the track to the car park. At 10.25pm in the gathering gloom we heard welcoming voices calling to us, reassuring us that we did not have to walk any further. We had been walking for 17 hours and 15 minutes, and had two stops of about 30 minutes each.
We have been thrilled by the generous response from all those who have agreed to sponsor us. Friends, family and business contacts have responded enthusiastically. Money is still coming in but we have passed our target of raising £5,000 and currently the figure stands at £5,600.