Towards the start of the year, Mark the owner of the gym I go to mentioned he was planning to do the Three Peaks Challenge for charity and was wondering if I and a couple of the other people from the gym would do it too. I wasn’t 100% sure at first, a little bit of research and having looked at the calendar turns out we had about 4 to 5 months depending on the date we would set for it so I thought why not.
Well, the weekend just gone (Saturday 20th July 2019) was the day we started the 24 hour challenge, and we finished it within 24hours on Sunday morning.
Everything you read about doing the Three Peaks Challenge talks about starting at Ben Nevis and finishing at Snowdon, but we decided to do it the other way around, mainly because we all live in Scotland and it’s about the same distance home if not a few minutes quicker.
Peak 1 – Snowdon
Distance: 12.49 km
Time: 3hours 16minutes 40seconds
We started Snowdon at 09:52 on Saturday morning, we planned to start at 10am but we were ready to go and the weather wasn’t very pleasant so we just got going. To start with the weather was dry but very low cloud. We took the Pyg Track up from Pen-y-pass, reaching the summit just around 11:30 where visibility was next to nothing a quick picture at the top to mark the achievement and then started making our descent. From the top to the junction on the ridge for the Pyg Track was full wind and rain due to the weather we opted to return on the Miners track as most of the Pyg Track path up was rock and lots of rnning water. Having stated the hostel across the road from the car park at Pen-y-pass upon return to the van we grab a quick shower to warm back and before heading north to Scafell.
Peak 2 – Scafell
Distance: 9 km
Time: 3hours 3minutes 42seconds
After the roughly 4 and half hour drive with a stop for some food and fuel we arrived at Wasdale Head car park around 6:15pm, and begun our walk at 6:24pm. Having walked Scafell Peak just over a month ago we knew was was in store and to say the second time up it wasn’t any easier. Scafell is much different to Snowdon, it’s shorter and steeper which means you get straight into it and start climbing – Once you’ve walked up and across a grass field you are straight into the rocky path that’s just keeps on going. We decided to go up the shorter route which means taking the path to the right when you reach Hollow Stones, this involves a bit of a scramble up a steep loose rocky section. We summited the peak just after 8pm, quick snack and drink then made our way back down the other path to be safer. After doing Snowdon in the rain, tackling Scafell in the early evening setting sun was a completely different walk and it provided some amazing views that made the walk so much more enjoyable.
Peak 3 – Ben Nevis
Distance: 16.63 km
Time: 5hours 41minutes 22seconds
We arrived at the car park at the bottom of Ben Nevis just after 3am Sunday morning to tackle the last of the three peaks after a night drive from Scafell, a few hours sleep for myself, and not much for any one else is appears we decided to take a little breather and set off a 4am to give us a bit more natural light and to time our arrival back to the car park for after 9am so that all the people who had come up to congratulate us would be there. We decided to walk Ben Nevis starting at the Ben Nevis Inn.
With our head torches on we set of at a steady pace from the car park, knowing this one was the longest and likely to the be the hardest after the other two – how wrong were we! 10 miles round trip for Ben Nevis and boy you felt it, it felt so much longer. The ascent was hard going some times you felt like you had walked half a mile to check the track and only a hundred meters or so. The weather wasn’t in our favour, but for the first half of the way up it was foggy, little bits of rain here and there but generally not bad for walking, the second half was a whole other story visibility was down to around 20 meters, there was wind and rain and it was much colder than the lower slopes.
Eventually we arrived at the summit just after 7am the ascent was just over 3hours. At the summit there was a small rescue shelter we took some cover in from the elements added another layer of clothing for the descent and made some phone calls and messages to loved one to tell the world we made it. Amazing that there was 4G at the top in that weather. A 10 minute stop and refuel before we tackled the descent. Descending was quicker than the ascent but not any easier. The legs were feeling it now, the knees where starting to ache from the impacts of the descent. The descent seemed to take forever and as we thought we were getting closer to the end there always seemed to be “another” corner, looking at the clock we had to start to pick the pace up a little if we were to complete it within the 24 hours. Then we came around another corner and there was the carpark with a small group of friends and family waiting for us.
09:42 we arrived at the start of the Ben Nevis climb! 23hours 50minutes after we started Snowdon we had completed the Three Peaks Challenge.