Climbing Xiang Shan, by James Benson


Celtic Border 6

The day started with an early alarm, and when I woke up I was relieved to see the sun was shining and it was going to be a nice day to be outside. At 7am we left the apartment and went down to meet some Aihua colleagues at the bus stop to travel to the mountains together. When we arrived, all the staff were in good spirits and everyone was starting to feel competitive. We were put into our teams, and given colored ribbons to distinguish ourselves from the others, and with everyone ready we embarked on our challenge.
To begin with everybody stuck together but it wasn’t long until the competitive streak took over some of the staff and a gap started to appear between those there for the scenery and those who were there to win. As the sun got higher the temperature increased and the climb got harder and harder. Every flat stage was a welcome break from the steps, but everybody persevered and kept on climbing. Soon there was just a handful of staff clear from the pack as people began to tire but instead of stopping to rest I decided to continue, having a background in fitness and good knowledge of correct breathing techniques helped me to get to the front and keep on climbing.
Throughout the climb, the scenery was amazing and it looked great when I turned to see a sea of red shirts coming up the steps behind me with all the trees in the background. I turned back, looked down and just kept walking, the next time I looked up I was happy to see I had not only made it to the top but I had made it there first. There was just time for a congratulatory handshake and a sip of water before Paul finished behind me. Both tired and glad to be at the top we had a chance to take in the incredible views before welcoming the next few members of staff to the top.
As more and more people made it up the mountain it was great to see everybody so happy with all of us congratulating each other on what was a greater challenge than any of us expected. After some photos and the award ceremony it was time to head back down the hill, some opted for the cable car whilst a handful of us walked down the longer, more scenic route.
The walk down was full of amazing views, from the top all the way to the bottom the trees were blossoming and the flowers blooming, Spring is a great time to visit the Fragrant Hills. Eventually we all got to the bottom and it was time for a well earned rest in the afternoon for everybody that took part.


Celtic Dragonfly

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