Three Peaks Challenge
Our trip took us up to Ben Nevis, leaving the south of the England at 01:00 hrs. With a few rest breaks on the way we ended up at Ben Nevis around 13:00hrs, giving us a few hours to eat, walk about and stretch. Ideally we would have travelled up the day before and stayed over night in a bed. Trying to sleep on a mini bus is no fun!
We decided to start at this time as it meant we could travel over night to Scafell Pike and start the walk there in the early hours of the next day as the sun came out.
We started the ascent of Ben Nevis around 15:45hrs on a warm and humid Friday afternoon in June. About an hour in to the walk we had lost sight of the sun behind some clouds and mountain tops and the temperature soon dropped, so the warmer tops had to come out (wearing thin layers is key). Getting to the top, which was covered in snow and ice, took us about two and half hours.
The descent took us roughly one and half hours, with part of the mountain having a steady decline, meaning you could get a little jog on to make up time. The torrential down pour that then arrived put a stop to this and we soon slowed as the ground became slippery, with a couple of people loosing their footing along the way.
We travelled in a large group using two mini buses. The first person down arrived at 19:35, with the last group coming in at 20:30. With a quick change of dry comfortable clothing we jumped in the buses to hit the road.
Arriving at Scafell Pike around 03:50hrs, we started our hike at 04:20, with the first person back at 07:15 (he was on a mission) and the last back at 08:15. This could have been a lot quicker had the walker not picked up an unfortunate injury on the way up.
The weather was kind to us here, and stopping briefly for some photo opportunities and to take in the views it was a good climb. We were thankful for this as Scafell can be a hard mountain to navigate which is why it is best to attack it in daylight.
We were quick to get back on the road and as much as I wanted to get to sleep it was a struggle. I got a couple of hours on and off before arriving in Snowdonia at 14:25. Snowdon was very wet and misty, waterproofs were needed from the off, but this was nothing compared to the top. The walk to the top had a few hair raising moments, with wet slippery rocks and visibility being reduced to less than ten metres ahead I was genuinely concerned with both my own and the groups safety at certain points.
Getting to the top I didn’t hang around (see the below video to see why). By this point I was tired, drenched and very fed up. Heading down two of us managed to miss the turning that took us down the miners track, and we realised we were on the Pyg track. Do we turn back and face the loss of time, or keep going and have to walk the extra at the bottom on the flat? We did neither and saw a grass sloped area that we thought we could get down. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT consider doing this. Looking back it was a silly move which could have put us in danger, but thankfully on this occasion it worked and we actually made up a little time.
Getting to the bottom around 13:25hrs I had completed the Three Peaks Challenge in 22 hours 40mins, not the quickest by any stretch, but I still managed it in under 24 hours. How did I feel? Tired, shattered infact, but the sense of achievement took away all the pain……briefly at least.
Would I recommend this to anyone else? Definitely!