Blencathra success 'like winning the lottery'
A GAUNLESS VALLEY pensioner has defied her age by crossing Sharp Edge to scale Blencathra.
Wendy Bellaris, at age 72, reached a personal milestone when she successfully negotiated her way up the famous Cumbrian mountain with fellow Cockfield resident Lorraine Williams despite some hair-raising moments where both were clinging to rocks for safety.
At one point the OAP admits having to creep along on her backside to get across “bad step”, a notoriously difficult and dangerous part of the route up the mountain.
It has claimed 11 lives since 1947.
Ms Bellaris, who was due to attend a family celebration only days later, said: “I thought I can’t fall off, I’ve got a wedding to go to.
“It kept getting misty and we got into a bit of trouble. Sharp Edge is a bit problematic but it is very short and very exciting. Once we were across I said ‘is that it’? I was so happy, it was like winning the lottery.”
Previously the fell walker has completed all three of Britain’s highest peaks and climbed Ben Nevis so many times that she began guiding others up the famous Scottish mountain.
A committed walker and marathon runner, the pensioner first entered the world of sport at the age of 50, saying she was inspired by watching people running the London Marathon on television.
She has since completed six London Marathons and completed her 18 marathon in September last year.
A volunteer at the Arc on the Edge animal sanctuary, Ms Bellaris has completed many of her runs in aid of animal charities such as the Scottish SPCA, the RSPCA and the Donkey Sanctuary.
It was through running for a moon bear charity that she met Born Free actress and wildlife campaigner Virginia McKenna.
Ms Bellaris said: “Until I was 50 I hadn’t done anything (sporty).”
Her favourite run is the Lock Ness Marathon which she has completed with her sons Austin, 37, and Todd, 36.
Next year she plans to complete the Great North Run with them, having missed the entry this year.
She said: “They’ve done six Lock Ness Marathons with me so this will be a treat for me, a walk in the park.”
Next on her list of outdoor adventures is scaling Scafell Pike which she hopes to complete during the coming weeks.