Climbing the National three peaks for island children and the Share Foundation!

Now that my hands have warmed up, I’m pleased to update you with the highlights of the National Three Peaks challenge completed on Sunday morning.

The challenge was set in early 2018 as part of a fundraiser for Junior ISA accounts of looked after children for Isle of Wight Council, which are administered by the charity the Share Foundation (full story and donations can be found over here).

It was a long time coming and took a fair amount of organizing, so a big thanks to my girlfriend Emily for helping with the fundraising, travel planning and basically all of it… the only thing I couldn’t convince her to do was walk it for me!

This was an open three peaks challenge with 48 other participants, and I enjoyed a scenic train ride from Glasgow up to Fort William with Emily’s sister Louisa, and her good friend Sarah who both provided great company and motivation so big thanks to them too, hope the legs aren’t seizing up too much!

1. Ben Nevis, bring it on!

Distance: 15.31km Time: 3:35:11 Elevation: 1,290m 
(timed in at 3:54, so must’ve cut some time off GPS)

I thought hats were mandatory on a walking trip?!

At the foot of Ben Nevis Saturday morning, we couldn’t of asked for better walking conditions, a smattering of cloud coverage but no rain so some of the extra base layers were left behind.

Extremely busy on the path from Glen Nevis being a bank holiday weekend, but soon found a bit of space for a few pictures.

The climb to the summit reminded me of L’Alpe D’ Huez stage in the Tour de France, zig-zagging left then right until you reach the top, which we couldn’t see coming because of the dense fog! Sam the walk lead for the fastest group maintained a challenging pace, but this meant we were up and down within 4 hours.

Top of Ben Nevis

2. Who turned the lights off?… Scaffel Pike!

Distance: 8.06km Time: 1:57:22 Elevation: 888m

After a 7 hour car journey from Ben Nevis to the Lake District, we were all a bit knackered, but we needed to have bags on and ready to get going as soon as we jumped out the bus.

Me: “Hey, can I have a quick pic?” Sam: “Sure! Any good?” Me: ”….That’ll do!” — me next to the trig point at the top of Scaffel Pike

We started at 11pm as oppose to the suggested 7pm so the entire schedule was running way behind. This also meant that the climb of Scaffel Pike was entirely in the dark, but luckily the weather was on our side again.

Bowl of porridge on our arrival back at the base was about the only highlight of this climb. Would’ve been nice to do in the light, as I’m a big fan of the Lakes anyway, so maybe another time!

Along with everyone else I was hoping for some sleep between Lake District and Snowdon on the minibus, but no such luck! I arrived in north Wales completely exhausted and wishing away the next four or so hours.

One positive was that the quick and regular changes of wet clothes, and basic first aid supplies had kept my legs and feet in relatively good condition, so I didn’t have any concerns about injuries starting the third climb.

3. Can we take the train?… Snowdon

Distance: 11.79km Time: 2:13:21 Elevation: 1,085m

With delirium setting in on the third and final ascent to the top of Snowdon, I was willing to pay for the train fare to the summit but no such luck.

Instead and rather stupidly with wet and heavy walking gear, tired legs and no sleep, me and a handful of others in the front group of walkers decided to run the final kilometer to the finish line as the rain was lashing horizontally into our tired faces — a memory that’ll stay with me for a long time!

Third and final climb — Snowdon

As far as event finishes go this was a rather un-glamorous one, in a Snowdon car park with nothing but a couple of cars and the white minivans used for transporting us around for the weekend.

The three peaks challenge organizers handed me a certificate (which soon turned into a piece of soggy paper with the rain still beating down) which said that I’d managed to complete it in 20 hours and 18 minutes— well within the 24 hour timescale!

The final time taken is a cumulative total of the three climbs and descents (including Snowdon, as some challenges would take the time at the top of the final climb) adding on an additional ten hours for the travelling.

We were running quite a few hours behind schedule so if it was calculated in real time we wouldn’t have achieved it. My times, distances and elevations provided here are also from my Garmin Forerunner 230, with a lot of stop/ starts and a relatively small amount of lost mileage in between, so not entirely accurate but it’ll do.

Special Thanks to donors and to Share Foundation.

To the Donors

I’d like to thank everyone who has supported the fundraiser for the junior ISA accounts of children looked after by Isle of Wight council, from work colleagues and their family members, to my friends and family too.

To the Share Foundation

Thanks to Kathy Caswell and the Share Foundation for promoting the fundraiser. Sorry the pictures at the summit weren’t the best, the weather was a lot different at the top to the bottom, as you can probably imagine!! Anyway, the flag made it to the top of Snowdon yesterday!

Trying to smile on the final summit of a cold and wet Snowdon before we pegged it back down.