So finally I take to the skies……

Following on from yesterdays blog of laying Sylvia to rest after a 10 mile walk around the Lake, I headed to my room for a brief rest and a much needed cuppa……we’d been walking for over 5 hours – and I actually did the walk in a record time since dementia.😇

But 20 minutes later after a cuppa, I was up and out again as Josh had told me to meet him at Cat Bells. I was going to catch the little 77 bus to the foot of the fell, but luckily as I went outside, Catherine my lovely Appletrees landlady, was outside with her family visiting. I met her gorgeous little granddaughter Lily, and at that time she asked me if I wanted a lift as they were just leaving. I didn’t want to be a nuisance but she thankfully insisted, considering what I had ahead of me 😳…

What I hadn’t realised was, I’d have to climb Cat Bells 😳😳…..I hadn’t climbed anywhere in years…..Josh’s dad, Jocky, had had to go to London as his father was in hospital. This meant Josh was on his own so no land rover lift or help up the fell 😳…..it was a case of find strength and a way to get up there or I can’t fly…..and no way was I not going to fly….💪🏻

Catherine dropped me off at the bottom and I decided to take it slowly, small chunks at a time, then sit on a rock and look at the view

Josh had 5 other people before me during the day, so this would be his 6th time of climbing the fell😳. He sent me a ‘pin’ of where we would meet on the fell, but I didn’t understand it and asked him to translate that into words 🤣….the ever patient Josh, did just that.

Chunk by chunk I got higher and higher, foxgloves peppered around the fell side…

The scrabbling bit on all fours was my biggest challenge – as soon as I got there I remembered having no trouble in my previous life but today, it felt and looked like a mammoth challenge; my stick clanking on the rugged rocks as I tried to find secure foot holes; each person that passed me by asked if I was alright, but there was no way they could help me, so I just had to keep plodding on. 

Another rest, another piccie on my phone

…..until I got to the bit where Josh told me to wait. I simply sat, breathing heavily but so pleased I’d managed it. Josh was climbing a different path up and I could see his blond hair marching along the narrow path with all the paraphernalia for the paraglide on his back AND he’d done that 6 times. 😳

And here’s our take off point from the ground 😳

The arrow marks the take off spot…..

He shouted me from below to make sure I’d seen him as I’d actually gone a tad too far. He collapsed on the grass as I’d done

I watched as he deftly unpacked the paraglider gubbins and suddenly. The back pack magically turned into 2 seats, the silk canopy’s, helmets and so much more…….I was in charge of the filming and Go pro and he gave me a quick demonstration and play with it while he was getting everything ready. There was one problem he doesn’t usually have with flyers…….where to put my stick 🤣…..he tucked it in a side pocket and it looked just like he had an antennae coming out of his back 😂

You can just see the end of my stick poking up behind me

Now my turn – helmet first then a fleece as it would be cooler up high, followed by the harnesses and bucket seat. Instructions were given and quickly forgotten but so as not to alarm him, I asked which was the most important – it was to shuffle back in my seat once we were airborne otherwise I’d be dangling 😳….fair enough, so I’ll remember that one 🤣…

Still on the ground with the sail behind me

The take off must have looked quite scary for onlookers as I can’t run and you really have to run off the edge🙈……’what happens. If that bit doesn’t quite work?’ I asked nonchalantly🤷‍♀️

“Hopefully my momentum will lift you off the ground and we’ll just stagger for a while until I get control”……well I least I knew what would happen even if Josh didn’t but at least he knew how to put it right 😜

So the time came. Safety checks complete and with onlookers watching my prediction came true as I stumbled my way off the edge. I’m not particularly heavy so Josh was easily able to get control. 

Shuffle back into your seat” he shouted in my ear

Oooooo yes, I thought….and was soon on what I can only describe, as a comfy armchair. Operating the camera stick, in short. 2 minutes bursts (see I remembered that bit😂), I sat back and simply enjoyed the stunning flight. Floating, then turning and swishing into the wind wherever it took us, gradually climbing higher and higher. 

Onlookers below, waving up at me and me happily waving back.. Felt like we could  touch the tree tops with our feet at times as we soared and swooped. Then hanging in mid air over the water before swooping back in land again. I was in a flying armchair and loved it ❤️….

The sheep on the high fells were used to Josh and didn’t bat an eyelid as we headed towards them

On the other side of Cat Bells Bassentwiate was bathed in the early evening sunlight

A distinct line of cloud in the sky heralded a change in the wind direction as Josh suggested, after, what turned out to be an hour in the sky, that we should think about landing. He asked where my car was parked 😳🤣…..to which I replied,  my legs were my wheels. 🤣

He said he’d land somewhere I knew — on the Lake path where I’d walked that morning with David. 

The landing was going to be as tricky as the take off😳, mainly because I wouldn’t be able to keep my balance as we headed swiftly for the ground. As the sheep quickly scattered I  landed splat on the grass. Unhooked, Josh gave me a hand and pulled me up..as no way could I get up on my own 🤣

As I hugged him my thanks and goodbye I. tried to get my bearings and  realised……amazingly……and poignantly ……that we’d landed near where we laid Sylvia to rest that morning. Josh wasn’t to know how perfect that ending was to the day.

It was now 7pm and I had another 2/3 mile walk home…the evening sun was starting to lower and I had my walk home all to myself, the hordes from this morning now nowhere to be seen thankfully…..I needed peace and quiet and my sole companion was simply nature – perfect.

…..exhausted, thoroughly exhausted, I made my way home trying desperately to hold onto the memories of a truly wonderful day…….finally I DID IT 🙌

Still time for anyone to donate, and for those that have, a HUGE thank you 🙏 last time I looked it had reached over £3,500 – amazingly generous of people….

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/mindsandvoices-york?utm_term=ngaBDqdJ9

About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with Young Onset Dementia. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

56 thoughts on “So finally I take to the skies……

  1. More tears, Wendy, that was simply AMAZING! So so well done to you for what you achieved in just one day, and what day it was! Words fail me, you are just incredible and wonderful. Wonderful Wendy!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What an incredible day, Wendy. I’m in awe. So much walking and climbing before you got to relax in your airborne armchair. And then you had to walk home!!! You’re an inspiration. The flight looked incredible. I think I might have to do it too, one day. Fabulous! Sheila Ashley

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  3. Hurray for you and for Josh! What an incredible experience at the end of such a long and emotional day. Wonderful photos as always. I’m so pleased that the weather finally made it possible. I’m not sure I could get up Catbells, or do the paraglide either but you’ve definitely made it sound tempting! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow Wendy! You’re a far braver woman than me! I’ve often thought about climbing CatBells and wimped out at the last minute. As for the parachute thing – words fail me! Well done doesn’t seem enough! You are an example to us all – young, old and somewhere in between, with or without dementia – you are incredible and should be very, very proud of yourself. xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That was an amazing story! From the start you perservered up the mountain and then gave us so many amazing photos of the view, and then finally got your much desired (and we desired it for you!) time in the air. Josh sounds like a lovely man. I am so glad you got to do it on a really amazing weekend filled with excitement and celebration of your friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. How brave! It’s amazing that you did so much to get there and on your own. You really are a shining example of what’s possible, thank you. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow Wendy that was amazing .. Your photos and description made me feel like I was there .. what an inspiration you are .. love your energy Trudy

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow!! What else can I say Wendy!! A true inspiration and a positive role model for anyone, not just those living with dementia but for all of us. I have never consideref paragliding but your wonderful description has made me think that perhaps I might have a go one day!!
    Amazing piccies too!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a wonderful cliff hanger of an achievement it turned out to be. I am speechless with admiration for your stamina, tenacity and courage. Three cheers for Wendy everyone- hip hip hurrah!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow What a day! Well done Wendy your determination is amazing….. an emotional and exhilarating day. I so admire your strength and courage. Fabulous photos of the paragliding. It must have been the most wonderful feeling.
    You deserved a well earned rest at the end of that day.
    🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear Wendy. I’ve just finished reading your inspiring book and was anxious to know how you had fared after all these lockdown stresses so I followed your link to your blog. Such a relief to find you indomitable as ever and in Cumbrian skies. How on earth do you do it? It makes me feel ashamed of myself, I panic nowadays at the slightest challenge or setback. You are a real inspiration

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow, Wendy, You have some stamina. Walking 10 miles, then climbing Catbells, then after your glide, you still have to walk back to base! Are you sure you are not Wonderwoman? ;-D

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