Three Peaks Challenge

On June 22nd, creative director Gareth set out on a quest to scale the three highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales in under 24 hours. This would be Gareth’s second Three Peaks Challenge after a successful attempt in 2012, and he assembled a team of 6 walkers and a dedicated driver to carry out the challenge with him. David Whitehouse, Chris Whybrow, Phil Arkinstall, James Haughton, Hannah Montgomery and Emma Smith joined Gareth in heading north on Friday 21st June to Glen Nevis and the town of Fort William, at the base of Ben Nevis – the highest mountain in the whole of the UK.

 

 

Gareth said, “In June, I will be leading an intrepid team of walkers on the Three Peaks Challenge. We will be aiming to summit the three highest peaks in the UK in under 24 hours. This is a huge task as the mountains that we will scaling are huge – Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in the Lake District and Mount Snowdon in Wales. The total walking distance is 23 miles and the total ascent is 3064 metres (10,052ft). And sandwiched in between peaks, there will also be around 460 miles of driving to be done”.

The 4 day trip was planned to support a charity close to Gareth’s heart and added a deeper level of importance to the task.

“We’ll be raising money for Parkinson’s UK and I would like to ask you to consider sponsoring us as we embark on this task. Please click here to make a donation, we would all be most grateful for anything you can spare us”.

To date, the team have surpassed their target of £2000 and combined with offline donations, they look set to go close to £3000 by the time the JustGiving page closes. The challenge itself provided more challenges than the team had ever imagined! On arriving in Scotland on the Friday night, it appeared that the hostel reservation had been lost, missed or deleted in error. Without anywhere to stay, they had to find a replacement hostel or hotel in the area quickly – at 10pm at night and on one of the busiest weekends of the year! Fortunately, Hannah managed to find a hotel 18 miles away that had space for the team to sleep and off they went to the small town of Roybridge and the Roybridge Hotel. The hotel provided a superb welcome and even cooked food for the hungry walkers at 11pm.

 

After a great night’s sleep, they woke for breakfast and prepared for the challenge at 5pm that night. The temperature rose with the sun at 4:45pm and the team headed off to start Ben Nevis in blazing sunshine. The mountain paths twisted and turned, directing the team away from direct sunlight just as the incline levelled out somewhat. However, the relentless mountain took it’s toll on the weary bodies of some team members – Hannah twisting an already injured knee and straining an Achilles tendon, James and Phil suffering from nausea and soreness in the knees. Somehow, they managed to summit and descent Ben Nevis in around 4 and a half hours. Next came a 5 and a half hour drive to the Lake District and Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak…

 

 

 

Despite being able to rest after Ben Nevis, the road leg still claimed another victim. Unable to sleep or rest comfortably in the minibus, Gareth suffer a large back spasm during the night and felt his back fully lock up. In a great amount of pain and rendered unable to walk, his Three Peaks Challenge ended in the car park at Wasdale Head as the rest of the team head off to start the next walk. Gareth was left to nurse his injury and wounded pride at the bus with driver Emma and injured walker Hannah. The remaining walkers put in an incredible shift to summit and descend Scafell Pike in around 3 hours. And then began the drive to Wales and the imperious Mount Snowdon…

 

After a 4 and a half hour journey flat on his back on the minibus floor, a belly full of painkillers and numerous energy drinks, Gareth decided to see how far he could make it up Snowdon. As the bus screeched into the Pen-y-Pass car park, David and Chris shot off up the mountain closely followed by James. Behind them was Phil, now hampered by severely sore knees and blisters, and Gareth who was determined to finish as much of the final mountain as he possibly could within the timeframe. After a mammoth effort, Snowdon was conquered by David, Chris, James and Phil. Gareth made it two thirds of the way up before the painkillers wore off and he begrudgingly admitted defeat…

 

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On Friday 28th June, there will be a short documentary film released that charts the journey of the team with live footage of the challenge shot live on task. Watch this space for more information on where that film can be seen.

 

 

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Gareth

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