Climbing Mount Everest - Virtually

Mt Everest
Mt Everest Rdevany / CC BY-SA (

Inspired by a letter to The Times from Alan Phillips on 25 March 2020 about climbing Mount Everest via his staircase, I thought I might try something similar.

I calculate that a walk from home, at 112m above sea level, down to the River Evenlode, 90m, and up to the top of Pudlicote Lane at 190m is an ascent of 122m.  The summit of Mount Everest is 8,848m above sea level; if I make this walk once a day it will take 73 days to climb the equivalent of the height of Mount Everest.  I started on the day of the Coronavirus "lockdown" on 23rd March 2020 and hope to complete the ascent on 3rd June 2020.

To put this feeble effort into perspective, Jo 'climbs' Mt Everest about 5 times a year before breakfast!

The weather in late March and April has been unusually dry and sunny.  These are some of the photographs I have taken; most have been taken with an iPhone 7, but a few with a Sony NEX 5.  I'm afraid that they are a little repetitive as I only go up and down Pudlicote Lane.

25 March 2020

April 2020

1 April 2020

6 April 2020

7 April 2020

11 April 2020

15 April 2020 

18 April 2020

20 April 2020

24 April 2020 

26 April 2020

A small additional climb today, through Chilson Hill, up to the bluebell woods on the edge of Wychwood Forest.

27 April 2020

28 April 2020

After weeks of glorious sunshine the weather has turned cold and rainy.  Not good for little lambs.  Ed has told me that sheep tend to choose to be solitary when they give birth, leaving the flock and heading for high ground when they can find it.  I have seen two new-born lambs and their mothers at this spot, in just about the highest part of the field.

It was also the day the repairs to the drystone wall damaged in the July 2007 storms started!  Not to mention, the day I reached the half-way point up Everest...

29 April 2020

I noticed the cattle in the 'park' on my normal walk last week.  Today I took a diversion on my descent to visit the cattle.  They are Herefords.

30 April 2020

May 2020

1 May 2020

2 May 2020

3 May 2020

Today the weather was grey and cloudy.  As a result my attention turned to the verges rather than the horizon.  Flora is therefore the theme of the day.

I also learnt that whilst the iPhone 7 can take some surprisingly good landscape photos (considering the photographer), close-ups of flowers aren't its strong point.

4 May 2020

5 May 2020

6 May 2020

Today is the 45th day since 'lockdown' and the 45th time I have walked up to the Black Pine trees close to where Pudlicote Lane meets the A361. 'Climbing' 122metres per day means I have now ascended 5,490 metres.  Everest Base Camp is 5,380 metres - I've reached Base Camp!  (My respect for Alan Phillips and his wife grows daily!)

I first thought I heard a cuckoo on 25th April.  I definitely heard one today, from the direction of Chadlington.  On a separate note, I am told that sheep shearing is starting today at Pudlicote Farm.

Having reached Base Camp I allowed myself a diversion, going down Barters Hill (the road from the Black Pines to Chadlington) and returning along the footpath through Lower Court Farm to Pudlicote.  My main reason for this route was that Jo had alerted me to some caterpillar 'nests' on Barters Hill, and I had to see them for myself. We have since established that they are caterpillars of the 'Small Eggar' moth (Eriogaster lanestris).

7 May 2020

8 May 2020

Who said it's quiet in the countryside?  Recorded on the path from Lower Court Farm to Pudlicote at about 10:45am. A woodpecker can be heard at 4 seconds into the recording. (Turn your speakers on!)

9 May 2020

10 May 2020

11 May 2020

12 May 2020

13 May 2020

14 May 2020

15 May 2020

17 May 2020

To date I have taken my daily walk in the morning.  The thought of leaving it until the afternoon hangs over me like the Sword of Damocles, so best avoided.  Today, however, with the morning dull and mainly cloudy I thought I would wait until the afternoon in the hope that the afternoon sun would cast some different shadows and add some variety to the photographs.  However, the afternoon still had a lot of cloud cover, and the hoped for strong late afternoon shadows didn't appear,

As previously, when overcast, my gaze fell on the verge and hedgerow and as a result I saw my first wild rose and dewberry in flower.

19 May 2020

20 May 2020

21 May 2020

For a change I took my Sony NEX 5 camera, fitted with a 16mm lens (relatively wide angle). The field of view is perhaps marginally wider than the iPhone, but not significantly. Interestingly the skies don't seem quite as blue, but as I didn't take any photos with the iPhone I don't have a control - perhaps an experiment for another day.

22 May 2020

23 May 2020

24 May 2020

Yesterday we had a couple of very light showers. The weather forecast for the next week is for sunshine (again).  Grass has been cut for silage (or hay?).  Last Sunday I saw a couple of open wild dog roses, today they seem to be in full bloom.

One way or another, there has been a lot of drystone wall repairs in the village this year...

25 May 2020

 The day dawned with clear, blue skies, again.

26 May 2020

28 May 2020

It seems summer has almost crept up on us.  The spring flowers are fading and early summer ones coming into bloom, almost without me really realising. Cowparsley is going to seed, especially where it isn't in shade, and in its place hogweed in the verges and elder and wild roses in the hedgerow; the latter in abundance in the lane above the entrance to Pudlicote Farm.

29 May 2020

29th May is the anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest.  Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Nepalese sherpa reached the summit of Mount Everest at 11:30am on 29th May 1953.  News of the ascent wouldn't reach the UK until 2nd June 1953, Queen Elizabeth II's coronation day.  A full account of the expedition can be found on Wikipedia. I was interested to read that Edmund Hillary's profession was given as 'Apiarist', not an obvious career for a mountain climber.

One other random fact is that Nepal is the only sovereign state not to have a rectangular national flag.  It comprises two triangles.  (And there are only two national flags that are square...)

Here in Chilson the day has dawned with a clear blue sky again.

30 May 2020

Another day that has dawned with clear blue skies.

31 May 2020

And yet another day with clear blue skies.

June 2020

Summer, at last!

1 June 2020

Blue skies again.

2 June 2020

3 June 2020

I've done it.  I've 'climbed' the equivalent of the height of Mount Everest.  And to my surprise I now find myself in Scotland! I calculate that I have walked a total of 251 miles (probably a little more if I take my various excursions into account). From home to Gretna Green is 250 miles.  So Scotland it is.  And to coincide with my arrival in Scotland today's walk took place in light rain and a thistle came into bloom to greet me!

I have written a little more about my walk and thoughts in the Epilogue.