When Billy and I first started planning the national three peaks challenge I’m sure we both had the same two thoughts; we will struggle to hit our target of £1,000 for Tŷ Hafan and the challenge won’t be that bad. We were wrong on both counts. Just before we got onto the flight to Glasgow we hit the thousand pound mark, and as I sit down writing this four days after we finished, my legs are just getting back to normal.
The morning after the challenge finished we were both taking the lift down from the first floor of the hotel in Crewe, because walking down one flight of stairs simply wasn’t an option. We were left bruised, broken but also very proud of completing the challenge and of the money we have raised for this fantastic charity.
We picked Tŷ Hafan as they are a charity that does so much, but is completely funded by charitable donations. I know the support they offer to children and their families makes a huge difference and their work is something that I’m sure both of us will continue to support in the future.
We started the challenge at 3pm on Saturday after the short journey from Fort William where we had picked up supplies to last us for the next 24 hours. We got out of the mini bus in sunshine, something that unfortunately, wouldn’t last the rest of the trip. Besides me and Billy, there were eight other people taking on the challenge in this organised group, all but one of them managed to climb all three mountains, although with widely varying times.
From the bottom of the valley the top of Ben Nevis was hidden in clouds, a fact that was true with all three mountains, meaning we never saw what was in store for us. The path up Ben Nevis snaked its way up the mountain and made for some fantastic views of the truly epic surroundings. At 4,409 feet this first mountain was by far the highest, and as we left the sunshine behind and climbed into the clouds and over the fresh thick snow coving its peak it certainly felt it. We arrived back at the mini bus four and a half hours after leaving it, feeling relatively fresh and keen for the next challenge, a feeling that unfortunately didn’t last.
The night-time drive to Scafell Pike was a long and sleepless one, ending with us speeding down single track lanes towards the mountain. As we skidded into the car park one of our group was promptly sick as a result of the last half an hour of the journey. Scafell Pike was horrible, starting the climb at around 1:30am, the darkness, torrential rain and wind followed us all the way up and down this steep, rocky and unforgiving mountain. The next four hours were some of the most unpleasant of the challenge and we arrived back at the mini bus wet through and dejected. After another half an hour of being thrown about in the bus, we managed to grab some sleep as we travelled towards our final destination; Snowdon.
We arrived in daylight at the final mountain, but unfortunately still in torrential rain. As we put on clothes still wet from the last mountain and boots that squelched with water, we had to keep our goal in sight. We climbed the mountain via the Pyg Track through cloud and rain, never having a sight of the mountain until we reached its summit. As my legs started to cramp up on the way down the mountain the weather lifted and the sun came out, while I wouldn’t call the last stretch down the mountain enjoyable, relief built as we got closer to the car park. We finished the challenge 21 and a half hours after leaving the mini bus at the base of Ben Nevis. Sitting propped up against a wall in the car park at the bottom of Snowdon that seemed like a lifetime ago.
At the lowest points of the challenge the fantastic support we have received kept us going. We would like to thank everyone who donated; you really did help drive us on. In terms of the logistics of organising the trip we would also like to say a huge thank you to Wil of Crockford & Co, Gareth of Star Legal and Dominic and Tim of FBM and FBM Holidays. As proud as we are of completing the challenge, we are happier to raise money for a charity that deserves so much more.
If you would like to support Billy and Ted’s fundraising efforts, please visit their JustGiving page.