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Welcome to the blog of the NeverTooLate Girl.

With the aim to try out, write about and rate the things that people say they'd like to do but haven't quite gotten around to, this website gives you the real and often humourous inside gen on whether it's really worth it.

Read about it,think about it, do it.

 The Top 20 Never Too Late List

  1. Learn to fly - RATED 4/5.
  2. Learn to shoot - RATED 4/5.
  3. Have a personal shopper day.
  4. Attend carols at Kings College Chapel on Christmas Eve - RATED 2.5/5.
  5. Have a date with a toy boy.
  6. Do a sky dive.
  7. Eat at The Ivy - RATED 4/5.
  8. Drive a Lamborgini.
  9. Climb a mountain - CURRENT CHALLENGE.
  10. Have a spa break - RATED 4.5/5.
  11. See the Northern Lights.
  12. Get a detox RATED 4/5.
  13. Read War & Peace - RATED 1/5.
  14. Go on a demonstration for something you believe in.
  15. Attend a Premier in Leicester Square.
  16. Go to Royal Ascot.
  17. Buy a Harley Davidson - RATED 5/5
  18. Study for a PhD - RATED 4/5.
  19. Visit Cuba - RATED 4/5.
  20. Be a medical volunteer overseas - RATED 3/5. 



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Entries in Everest (5)


And the postcard and greeting card shortlist.....

A shortlist of the images to be used in the first print run of the postcard and greeting card range is on the gallery.  All proceeds will go towards the Everest expedition.


A study in tenacity; too many zeros.

I saw the PhD as a measure of one’s intellectual pain threshold.  And, as I sat with my pal (Dr.) Ruthie in Zizzi recently, we both agreed it was a study in tenacity.  It takes bloody-minded stubbornness and strength of character to sit at one’s desk day after day, hour after hour, writing and rewriting.  I see Everest as a similar test of endurance. Except with Everest it is a measure of one’s physical pain threshold.  Both of them, though, are a test of one’s psychological determination and individuality.

People ask me why I am bothered about climbing Everest and I can give them any number of answers.  It provides a focus for life so that the months and years do not drift by without any tangible evidence of achievement or success.  A great plan like Everest or a PhD has to be carefully thought through and so creates purpose and structure and meaning to one’s existence.  The challenge and excitement and the personal satisfaction that comes from succeeding in something that, relatively, so few other people have done builds personal confidence and pushes one on to even better and greater things.

In some ways Everest already seems harder.  With the PhD my MBA research was noticed and the funding for three more years study established in a reasonably straight forward manner.  As such, there was no need for me to raise study funds of my own and I thank Warwick Business School, Aston Business School and NESTA for all their contributions.  But for Everest the fund-raising needs to be done from scratch.  £70,000 has more zeros than I would like.


A life of it's own; I may be some time; it all sounds so easy.

The abstract thoughts which led to an idea which led to the Everest plan have, now they are committed to paper, taken on a life of their own.  It’s interesting how in only a week or so of re-establishing old contacts and making new ones, the objective, to summit Everest for a British record, has begun to develop a critical mass. Despite  some of the ambivalent qualities of the internet and the world-wide-web, it is a resource like no other for supplying one with the knowledge, information and resources with which to make things happen.

Contacts I made at an Everest event at the Royal Geographical Society nearly three years ago recollect the conversations we had, the company who will take me up Everest, Dream Guides (, are still in business and Kenton Cool who I met for coffee a couple of years ago to chat about the attempt is still alive and kicking and summitted Everest recently for the eleventh time.  The dedicated Facebook site is almost done, the charities who will benefit from the fund raising are decided and I have found the list of suggested fund-raising activities which was given to me when I was short-listed for the Cracknell/Fogle team for their race to the south pole in July 2008 (see photo above).  The fundraising prospect is daunting; there is no point in pretending otherwise.  The trip to Everest for the attempt itself is sixty thousand dollars.  I calculate the total will be somewhere in the region of seventy thousand pounds, plus what I can raise for charity.    

 I have devised a provisional training plan in conjunction with Dream Guides. Mont Blanc next June which will give me a 4800m introduction level to snow and ice and mixed climbing to build on the winter mountaineering course I took on Ben Nevis a few years ago.  I recollect that trip took place on a bleak weekend in January. At the base of the hill where the Land rover dropped us, driving rain soaked our small group despite layers of waterproofs and we trudged miserably upwards for two hours to the first of the mountain huts in which we could take shelter.  The rain turned to thick damp snow on the way and the wind, rising as we rose, slammed into us. I lost the feeling in my fingers before we were half way up, despite twice exchanging wet gloves for dry.  At the hut the combination on the lock had been changed and in the absence of any other shelter we huddled despondently in the lea of a wall, waiting for the snow to stop.  Increasingly desperate for the loo I had struck out from the moderate shelter we had found, feeling, as the snow closed around me, a bit like Captain Lawrence Oates in Scott’s ill-fated South Pole quest.  Except I didn’t leave my shoes behind.  It’s sobering to remember how battered and dominated by the weather we were.  And that was only about two and a half thousand feet up.   

After Mont Blanc will be the Chamonix Classics or a similar technical course in the Alps which provides an intermediate level snow/ice and mixed climbing opportunity.  Then the Matterhorn or Eiger or similar which offers a more technical alpine terrain to an AD level of competence.  Mera/Kilimanjaro or similar takes me into high altitude trekking and climbing in a remote area to around 6000m. Then, Manaslu or similar in the Himalaya is a suitable high altitude expedition to over 8000m as a final testing point before Everest.  And before, during and after these training climbs over the next two and a half years will be lots of climbing and trekking work up in the Lakes and the Scottish Highlands.

It all sounds so very straight forward as I sit at my computer and write....... 


A bear of little brain, throwing in the towel, making a plan

Being a bear of little brain, I had this naïve sense that I would be able to do a PhD, run a business, swim competitively, have some semblance of life AND plan and train for an Everest attempt in 2014. I realise now how pathetically ambitious that was.  Especially as all the other things, even without the Everest plan, almost conspired to send me quite around the bend.  In the last twelve months of my PhD I did little else than write, work, consume junk food, drink too much wine and cry.  There were more than a few moments where, late at night, my hand hovered over the keyboard ready to write one mere line of narrative to my PhD supervisor….” I’ve had enough”.  Now, the other side of thesis submission, waiting for my viva, surprised and pleased with the interest in my research and experience, I look back on that time as a place that existed somewhere between a nightmare and a reality. 

The month in the US post thesis submission was supposed to be a time of rest and calm in which to consider and establish the plan for the next decade of my life.  Fifty, on paper seems impossibly old but here I was, essentially at the beginning of something, rather than the end.  Between flights and car journeys and one new hotel after another, between new places to see and new experiences to have, I’d felt that there was not much time to sit and consider both practically or philosophically the years ahead.  But on the final flight, with home in sight, surprised by how much I was looking forward to being back, things began to take form in my mind.  Opting out of the in-flight entertainment and laying aside the novel I was reading, I set about making a plan.


No. 9 Climb a Mountain

There are four things on the NeverTooLate List that are going to take some thought and some serious application. No. 1 – Learn to fly, No. 11 – Write a book, and No. 20 – Make money from doing something you love. But No. 9 – Climb a Mountain, and my particular aim to climb Everest, to the summit, probably requires the most thought of all. For that reason I have started thinking about it now and to consider whether I should be spending my money on going to see a therapist instead, as I clearly have a screw loose. I have been following the blog of a bloke called Ian Rogers who lives in my local town of Market Harborough. His expedition team went out with Altitude Junkies and the team summited at different points over 19th/20th /21st of May. Ian got as far as the Hillary Step and couldn’t continue due to vision problems but made it down and you can read his personal account on a blog called Climb4Life at Reading Ian’s account alongside those of other climbers really serves to make you take this most significant of decisions very carefully. Ed Viesturs, one of only five people on the planet to summit all fourteen mountains over 8,000 feet and without supplemental oxygen to boot so a bit of an authority on the subject reckons that people need risk. Now for most people that doesn’t involve scaling Everest but we all take risks every day whether we think about it or not. I’ve come up with a list of ten risks I think people take all the time without giving the slightest thought to the consequences but which given the wrong place wrong time theory, could have a pretty troublesome outcome:


  1. Driving through an amber light
  2. Eating out-of-date food in the fridge
  3. Holding a mobile phone to your ear instead of using an earpiece
  4. Changing all your credit and debit cards to the same PIN number and then writing it down
  5. Crossing the road without waiting for the ‘green man’ to flash
  6. Going out/going to bede and leaving the oven/washing machine/tumble drier going
  7. Not having the boiler and electrical appliances checked and serviced annually
  8. Drinking more than is good for us
  9. Being overweight and not taking enough exercise
  10. Having sex without using a condom

Risk is relative I suppose and the more risk you take and the harder you push yourself without negative results then the more risk you’re inclined to take. That’s why some climbers start with Ben Nevis and end up on the  summit of Everest......