‘Who’s up for doing the Three Peaks?’ read the email making its way through the office inboxes. It’s a challenge I’d always wanted to do but was often pushed to the back of my mind, so when it was presented to me I jumped at the chance.
Instead of doing the traditional 24 hour challenge we were going to make a weekend of it and use one of the Dragoman overland vehicles to get us around!
The weekend arrived and the challenge was to begin! After an overnight journey of 12 hours from Ipswich to Fort William we had arrived at the base of Ben Nevis (1,345m). There was a quick double check of the day-packs and a bite to eat, then we were off. The group of 15 climbers quickly split up as we settled into our own climbing paces. The track had some big climbs to begin with and some flatter zigzag sections as we made our ascent. The scenery was stunning as we approached the halfway stage of the tallest mountain in the UK. The crowds at this point had also began to thin out but it was still a busy trail to navigate.
I soon made it to the cloud-line, unaware how much further I had to climb. The cold weather gear was put on to protect from the rain and winds, it seemed like I was in a washing machine on a cold spin-cycle!
As I continued to climb, I started to see the people approaching in the opposite direction on their descent from the top! ‘Hellos’ were exchanged, along with other encouraging words (I found the climbing community to be a friendly bunch!). You’d occasionally get the wildly varying advice of how much farther you had to go, which I tried to ignore as much as possible.
The track was now basically rocks and boulders, you’d follow it by trying to make out the person in front of you. Then there it was through the mist and rain…the top!!! I’d made it, i jumped up the last few steps to have my photo and celebratory swig of vodka!
All that was to do now was to get back down! I saw a few of our group at the top but didn’t hang around due to trying to avoid hypothermia as much as possible! I’d made it to the top and just wanted to get back down to a warm cup of coffee.
I’d completed the ascent in around 3hrs and 8 mins and pretty much ran down the mountain (well tried to) to complete the climb in just over 5 hours. I’ve never enjoyed a coffee and a shower more as we got to relax at the campsite before we were off to the next climb.
It was an early 5am start the next day as we made our way to Scarfell Pike (978m), the tallest mountain in England. We’d been on the truck for a few hours and I was itching to get this mountain done and dusted. As we arrived I was straight off the truck, a quick safety poo and then off on the trail.
We’d arrived quite late in the afternoon and I wanted to get it done before it got dark, so I bounded up the trail, close behind our professional mountain climber in the group. I’d reached the top in 1hr 45 mins and was super pleased, then it was a quick descent to complete the climb in 3hrs and 8 mins. The scenery throughout the trek was stunning, it’s easy to see why people fall in love with climbing when you get views like this en-route.
Time for a quick bite and then on the road again as we made the overnight drive to Snowdon (1,085m). We arrived at 5.30am to a massively busy Snowdon carpark and got our bags ready to begin the climb still half asleep. Dawn soon broke over the hilltops as we scrambled over the large rocks. I found this to be the most difficult climb, probably due to tiredness but also the big rocks sapping more energy than I thought they would. I was euphoric as I reached the top in just under 2 hours even though it actually seemed a lot longer.
I reached the top with two colleagues and we descended together but we took quite a long detour after veering off the correct path. After a few climbs over wire fences, bare-foot river crossings and almost losing a boot in the marshy bogs we made it back to the track where we found the train station that runs non-climbers up and down the mountain.
As we made it to the end of the trek I couldn’t have been happier to get some food and coffee in me as the realisation set in that we’d done it, we’d climbed the three highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales. I’d never climbed a mountain before and to do three in three days was a huge achievement!
Even though I’ve come out the other side of the challenge with aching muscles, tired eyes and a left knee that needs some attention, I’m so happy that I did it…..now it’s on to the next challenge!!! BRING! IT! ON!