Sometime in the summer of 2000, I decided that I needed to get myself focused on a challenge to keep me motivated whilst the pandemic was affecting my mental state, so I put my name down for “ The 3 Peaks Challenge”, run by Global Adventures, to raise money for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. This challenge was to complete the three highest peaks of the UK, Ben Nevis, Scafell and Snowdon, in under 16 hours of trekking.
Steve, Kal and I caught the 8 am train from Telford so we could be in Glasgow for the 2 pm pick up when we would be driven to Glen Nevis YHA. We met our other participants at Glasgow Central Station, didn’t they look young !!!! Once at Glen Nevis YHA we were briefed on what was going to occur over the next 36 hours. Basically, we HAD to be able to climb 1,000 feet an hour as long as we were on each mountain, or we were not going to be able to complete the challenge. The routes that we would be expected to take would be the most direct to the summit.
After our evening meal, we went to our allocated dormitories and tried to get some sleep. At 6 am on Saturday we congregated on the YHA car park ready for the first of the challenges: we had to get up and down Nevis in less than seven hours, with a lot of support from the guides. I did it – the photo of Kal and me at the summit of Ben Nevis was a special moment because the last time I was there was with my first Hearing Dog, Nevis.
We left Glen Nevis at around 1 pm to head south to the Lake District and Wasdale Head, to attempt Scafell. We arrived at the foot of the mountain around 10 pm, in a torrential downpour which didn’t relent till we had left the car park some five hours later. After two hours of clambering up the mountainside in stair-rodding rain and losing my guide’s lights as he disappeared in the rain, my 64-year-old body had had enough, so I flashed my headlamp to anyone who could help me. I explained to our guide that I promised my Dad I wouldn’t be a hero and that I was finished with Scafell, so with approximately only 40/50 minutes of scrambling up a rain-sodden hill to the summit, I was escorted off the mountain by Steve and a group of our own “youngsters”.
Next stop Snowdon, 6 off us in a minibus, all soaked to the skin, all tired; some of us couldn’t sleep – not the best prep for the last challenge. We set off on the Pygs Path at nine o’clock Sunday morning. At around two hours later, after getting slower and slower, I asked my guide if he could get the two young girls who were struggling with us to the summit if I stopped my attempt. So where the Miners Track meets Pygs Path, my challenge to the summit ended, and yes, the two girls made it.
I look back at the weekend with a little pride and, of course, disappointment at not having achieved all the summits, but grateful that I managed Nevis and was able to walk off all the “hills” under my own steam.
Most importantly I have raised in excess of £1k for my favourite charity. If you would like to donate, please look at my Just Giving page,