4.30 am on Friday 22nd September and we’re off! 2 minibuses jammed packed, heading up to Fort William. We are full of excitement and trepedation for what lies ahead.
14 hours later we start our first steps up to the summit of Ben Nevis at 1345m. I am quite shocked by the steepness of the first hour and reality begins to sink in that this is going to test me both physically and mentally. Having the support of 2 local guides we make our way to the summit through the darkness and the clouds. The relief of getting to the top of the first peak is immense and the realisation of the long climb down is slightly daunting. The closeness and support of our team pays off and we wake it back to the minibus before and set on our way to the Lake District.
A few broken hours of sleep and the scenery of the Lakes greets us with Scarfell Pike ahead. We take the path overlooking Wastwater to the peak. The climb is consistently steep and rocky with no flat parts to ease the pain. The weather is kind and we see some magnificent views along the way. As we head towards thte summit the clouds roll in and the terrain is slippery and loose whuch means more of a scramble than a climb. This tests us all and the team spirit kicks in again to make sure we make it to the peak.
Our guide takes us on a detour on the way down to avoid the hazardous terrain at the top and we gently make our way to basecamp. Our amazing drivers are there to meet us with cups of tea and bacon sandwiches, which is beyond kind.
There is a huge sense of achievement having completed 2 out of 3 peaks and we all now believe that we are, by hook or by crook, going to complete the challenge. Snowden we have been told is the ‘easiest’ of the peaks and we will smash it with no worries.
Another 6 hours of dosing and we reach Snowdon. A beautiful clear mountain lies ahead and we are so determined that we have this one in the bag. We commence our ascent in great spirits and can see the finish line ahead. Out of all the peaks, this is the one where we have to dig the deepest.
The climb is harder than we expect and, with tiredness and aching muscles, our team camaraderie is called into play. We approah the peak at sunset and are greeted by one of the most magical views I have ever seen. Nature is celebrating our success and gicing us the final salute to our challenge. A most welcome gentle path down leads us back to our celebration supper of takeaway Sausage and Chips – the best I’ve ever tasted!
I can honestly say (and I hope that I speak for the whole team) that through the pain, the effort, the tears and the laughter, this challenge has been one of the most amazing things I have ever done. Every part of me was taken out of my comfort zone but the support and camaraderie of Luke and the rest of the team was immense… i can’t recommend it enough!