Blue Peter brings back so many childhood memories. When we were kids my brother and I would religiously watch it every day at 5pm. In fact, so did my parents. Blue Peter is the UK’s longest running children’s TV show, first airing way back in 1958, when the show ran for just 15 minutes on a Friday afternoon.
Earlier this year an opportunity arose, an opportunity there was no way I could possibly turn down. Blue Peter invited me on the show! The program's producers had heard about my Everest 2017 expedition and wanted to film a piece about my plans to return to Mount Everest and climb it from the North side.
After many emails and calls back and forth, plans were set. We would be filming in one of my favourite training grounds in Scotland, Glencoe.
The day of filming arrived, along with some strong Westerly winds, cloud and extensive hill fog. However, there was no way this wet weather would dampen my excitement for the day! I met the Blue Peter team on the shores of Loch Leven, where we began filming the opening piece for the show. The Blue Peter presenter, Lindsey, interviewed me about my first expedition to Mount Everest in 2012, what were the most challenging parts? What is it like on the summit? And why do I want to go back in 2017?
Towards the end of the interview, it happened, the moment I had dreamed of as a child. Lindsey put her hand in her pocket and pulled out a badge, a Blue Peter badge! For those readers that don’t know (where have you been!?), Blue Peter badges are a coveted award given to viewers and fans of the show. Lindsey told me that a Blue Peter badge had travelled to Space, it had travelled to the South Pole, across deserts, but never had it been to the top of the world! Lindsey asked me if I would take the badge on my journey and attempt to get it to the summit of Mount Everest; of course, I said yes.
The winter climbing conditions this year in Scotland have been particularly bad. We therefore opted for the safer and easier option of filming in the Kinlochleven Ice Wall. Previously, I worked as an ice climbing instructor at a similar wall in London and once climbed the height of Mount Everest with two friends in just 24 hours. With this experience, my next job for Blue Peter was to teach Lindsey how to ice climb.
Learning to ice climb for the first time is hard for anyone, even seasoned rock climbers struggle with getting to grips with this technique. Luckily, Lindsey was a fast learner and she was used to jumping head first into Blue Peter challenges. This girl had completed the London Marathon, skied a high-altitude marathon and even crossed the Irish Sea in an inflatable Zorb ball! I knew she would be okay. After a bit of training Lindsey got the hang of the ice climbing and made it to the top of the wall!
The piece we filmed is airing on the CBBC channel at 5pm on 2nd March 2017 or you will be able to catch it on the CBBC iplayer. Please do follow my expedition to return to Mount Everest and see if I can successfully take the Blue Peter badge to the top - www.tiso.com/everest