My 3 Peaks Challenge by Gareth Walker
Well what an experience... The 3 Peaks Challenge in 24 hours.
My experience, Gareth Walker
When we booked this trip back in May, I did not realise what I was letting myself into! Training is key- I started off with a 14-mile walk (this was mainly to see how well my equipment worked and If I could manage it!). The first thing I noticed was I needed camel backs and not big bulky boots...as well as doing a lot more walks. The next walk I decided to do was Snowdon (Pig Route with Gavin Who joined me). The weather was dismal, it was constantly raining which made it challenging to complete – but we did it! From then on, every weekend my alarms were set for 5am where I walked up the Wrekin, for me this was essential in my walking training; where I learnt what clothing was best to wear, the best food and water intake for me as well as finally finding the right boots (after going through 3 pairs!)
The big weekend
The nerves were really kicking in by now! Again, the alarm was set at 5am on Friday 18th August as our train from Wolverhampton was at 7:40am. From the train, we met the other participants and Challenge Central Team at Glasgow Airport at 12:45pm which we then headed to our first mountain, Ben Nevis (followed by a pit stop to Morrisons to purchase last minute supplies and change into appropriate clothing). At 16:00pm a quick briefing was carried out and off we went. The start of Ben Nevis is a gradual incline with a defined path to take, soon this changed to a much steeper and rockier path with the weather also coming in (Heavy rain and fog which had an impact on vision and speed). As we were reaching the summit we had to visits cans, which were barely visible from one to the next. When we finally reached the top, we could forget about how much our legs were burning and how sore the felt for a quick photo.
Next, we were on route to Scarfell Pike where we had a slight delay as unfortunately the vehicle had an incident with a deer. This put us behind about 3 hours, the clock was stopped at this point. We arrived here at 5:50am and started walking. Again, the weather was not desirable, however this was my personal favourite mountain to climb. I felt I really got into my stride while climbing this and could enjoy the beautiful views as I went. A few stops for a couple of photos and we were soon at the top! We had made good time on this mountain, after crossing a stream to get down we were soon at the bottom at 10:00 am. A full change of clothes was needed and then we were off to our final mountain, Snowdon.
When we got there, we were told we needed to accomplish this mountain in 4 hours to be able to complete the challenge. Finally, the weather had changed and the sun was shining, the start of the mountain was relatively easy having a gradual incline along a gravel track... until hitting the railway track! The incline then hits you all the way to the top. Once reaching the peaks visibility becomes poor as the cloud base covers you. A few more pushes and we were there... again a quick photo and back to the bottom. Snowdown took 2 hours to complete... mission completed with 30 minutes to spare!!!
Although we did not complete the challenge in 24 hours, we did achieve all the mountain walks within the allocated time slots.
I can personally say I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of both training and completed the challenge itself. It is a massive achievement to undertake and I believe training and ensuring I had the right equipment for the task was paramount.
The communication between challengers and the Challenge Central Team is superb, they have a whatsapp group to keep you in touch as much as possible. If you were to ask me would I recommend the Challenge Central Team... then the answer would be a profound YES.
My only regret is not getting to know the team better... maybe next time?
Yours in Scouting,