Our multimedia expert Simon recently took on the Three Peaks Challenge in aid of our Charity of the Year – Simon Says. Simon shares his experience here…
With 3 friends (Ryan, Rich & Moe) I took on the 24 hour 3 peaks challenge, which covers a distance of almost 27 miles up and down the three highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales in 24 hours.
Along the way I also hoped to raise some money for our Charity of the Year (and not just because we share a name).
Simon Says is a small local charity that provides child bereavement support to children, parents, teachers and carers throughout Hampshire. So far I am proud to announce I have raised £580! If you’d like to read about the events of the challenge continuing reading below…
After a 10 hour journey from Southampton to Fort William on Wednesday 1st June, 4 of us sharing 2.5 hours each in the driving seat, we eventually started the challenge to climb Ben Nevis on Thursday 2nd June at 15:50. The challenge started at the bottom of Glen Nevis and our aim was to return to the car by 21:50.
10 minutes in I didn’t look a pleasant sight! It dawned on me I’d totally underestimated how hard it was going to be, especially as I was in 26 degree heat and the sun was beating down, which is very rare for Scotland! The scenery more than made up for it though and I got on with it, 1 small step at a time. We made it to the summit in 2 hours and 30 minutes and spent 20 minutes taking in the moment knowing we were the highest people in the UK having a beer!
The descent took 2 hours, and it would’ve been less if it wasn’t for stopping to help a few casualties on the way down (not us I will add!).
With not a minute to spare we got changed into clean clothes and were ready for the 5 hour drive to the Lake District. We left Fort William at 20:50 which meant we’d gained an hour on our planned schedule. On to Scafell Pike…
The drive…we were a group of 4, so we were teams of 2 when driving – a driver and a co-pilot keeping each other awake. We would then switch teams half way through the journey when we needed to fuel up and buy a quick sandwich at a service station. The driver and co-pilot taking the first stint then got some shut eye the rest of the trip! By doing this we knew 1 individual in each team would take their turn driving at least once throughout the 24 hours.
The trip down to Scafell Pike wasn’t a good one – road closures meant that the hour we’d gained, we’d lost and were now half an hour down. The plan was to set off from the bottom of Scafell Pike at 02:50, but we actually got there at 03:20, and started the climb at 03:30! We were very despondent and spirits were low at this point, as the chance of completing the challenge within 24hours seemed to be slipping away!
We set off wearing head torches and then the Sun came up at about 04:15 showing the route ahead more clearly. We kept to our schedule and we planned to return to the car at 07:50.
There are 2 routes up Scafell Pike and on our SAT NAV route planner we had the choice of the black route or the green one. The green sounded safer so off we headed along this route only to find out from another climber that it was the more dangerous route, but luckily the more direct one. After I had a few vertigo freeze moments we got to the summit at 05:20. We had a quick beer and took some photos, before starting our descent down the safer black route.
Along the way we passed several individuals that had started climbing Scafell Pike at 01:00, nearly 2 hours and half before us and on the same 24 hour challenge. Sadly they said their hopes of doing it in 24 hours were over, so perhaps we were right to take the green route up!
We got back to the car at 07:10 and I prepared myself to drive, while the others freshened up and got ready for the journey to Snowdon inside the car. We left Scafell Pike at 07:20, happy because we had gained half an hour on our original schedule and gained a full hour altogether from being behind earlier.
The plan was to get to Snowdon at 11:40 and start walking no later than 11:50. This part of the journey was the most concerning because we had to drive though rush-hour traffic – with some careful driving we got to Snowdon at 11:35, only to be told we were unable to park anywhere close to the base by the parking attendants. No bribery or persuasion was going to change their minds, and again, the 24 hour target was fading away!
With time ticking we approached a gentleman who was returning from a Snowdon hike, and he said we could have his spot if we were happy to wait 20 minutes – it couldn’t have been closer to our original start time. We started our walk at 11:55 as planned and reached the summit 13:30. Again, after a quick beer, a couple of pics and a call to Annabel (our field manager at work), we rushed back down. I returned to the bottom at 15:10, 23 hours and 20 minutes after I started.
Would I do it again? No
Did I find it fun? Yes and No
If I was to do to it again is there anything I’d do better? Yes I’d train for it(!) and buy appropriate walking boots
How do I feel now? Bucket list TICKED, pleased that I’ve finally done it and more importantly within 24 hours. My legs are painful and they feel like they belong to someone else though!
What was the highlight? The beer at each summit and the most beautiful scenery I had never known existed in the UK.
Would you recommend it? YesSubscribe