For those that don’t know, my sporting background is boxing, and the training for competitions including fight night is tough to say the least. Hardcore training and Challenges are right up my street, which naturally put a few other challenges in the equation, such as the three peak challenge.
Three peaks in 24 hours;
Ben Nevis 1345m (http://bit.ly/2rDveCS)
Scaffel Pike 978m (http://bit.ly/2qfKeaq)
Snowdon 1085m (http://bit.ly/2rUaWlO)
I heard of the three peaks challenge many years ago, but due to the sheer number of challenges out there, it was hard to pin down which one I would like to compete in first. Then, to cut a long story short, I recently helped in the training process with two of my clients who successfully climbed to Mount Everest base camp and the further climb up to a place called Kala Patthar (http://bit.ly/2rUjEAJ). I said “Everest looks like a great idea, but I wouldn’t mind starting with the three peak challenge”. A week later, on our next session, he said “let’s get some people together, we are booking it”.
Loving the enthusiasm, there was no doubt about me signing up to this!
Five Challengers, 9 weeks later after gruelling training sessions in the gym, long treks including steep inclines at a place called Box Hill (http://bit.ly/2qT2Sn7) and investing in proper kit, we are ready and set to go.
Ben Nevis Scotland.
We traveled up the day before and stayed the night in Glasgow. After a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast in the morning, we set off to pick three others up who were also jumping in on the challenge. A full minibus later we started the drive to Fort William, stocking up on some extra supplies along the way.
Finally, we arrived at the starting point at 3:20pm and for Scotland it was surprisingly great weather, warm with clear blue skies. We were told by the guide that this was rare for this part of the world, however to bring some warm gear for the top of Ben Nevis as there would be snow.
We set off for the long climb ahead. Although we were trekking to the summit of the highest mountain of the three, I found walking the paths wasn’t too bad, better than I had anticipated. We all had high hopes of enjoying the fantastic scenery along the way, and the views we encountered did not disappoint.
As we got to what felt like near the summit, the final climb was in sight. Approaching it, we felt like we were near the top, then as we got past the end of the path, we were confronted with another giant mound, dauntingly covered in a foot full of snow, which proved a little tricky to climb up, but once we hit the top it was quite fun sliding down it! After managing to complete it in a below average time, once back in the minibus, I thought to myself, this isn’t too bad so far.
Scafell Pike England
After a long drive and not a lot of sleep we got off the minibus, shaking the aches of Ben Nevis off and ready to start Scaffel. I had read before that this was the hardest in terms of physical and mental demand, and after experiencing it first hand, I can say they were definitely right. It was a horrible climb to complete at a fast pace, there weren’t clear paths and the terrain was a mixture of large boulders to climb up into a mix of large and small rocks that moved south when you stood on them. It really took it out of us getting to the top, and boy did it feel good to be up there, enjoying the stunning view of the Peak District. Now the sun had fully risen from the horizon we marched down, well that was the intention as the way down was just as hard as coming up it really put demand on the legs.
Keeping a steady pace and pushing through the grind, we conquered the mountain. Although I must add, we were still lucky with the weather which seemed to follow us from sunny Scotland, my fleece remained nicely folded in my hiking bag.
The demands of scaffel pike and the journey times between mountains didn’t all work out in our favour, leaving us with one hour and 20mins to finish at the summit of Snowdon. Two members of the team had no choice but to pull out because of injuries, leaving us with 6. Then one jogged ahead to try to get closer to the 24hr, we found out later he did it with 5mins to spare.
Snowdon felt like a mix between the two previous mountains, with long paths and tricky trails to climb up. We stopped a few times to hydrate and to munch on a couple of energy bars. Halfway through I actually hoped for a bit of rain as the sun glaring on our backs didn’t make things easy, but we could see to our left the summit was getting closer and could start to make out people at the top.
As we reached the point where the path was a lot easier to walk on and the incline bearable, the finish line was a few metres away. We walked a little faster along the mountain train track, I imagine we must have looked a state to the fresh faced train users! Then that was it, we hit the highest point with a massive sigh of relief and gorgeous views of wales, I felt on top of the world…..
The three peak challenge was certainly one of the hardest things I’ve done, but also so enjoyable and satisfying to know what could be made possible.
It took a few days after for my body to adjust, but I now have great memories with good friends, old and new, and the gratification and great sense of achievement of knowing we did it…..