While the blog’s looked a bit thin lately its still been a busy summer for me with trips to Russia, Morocco and Tanzania. Need some more insperation to write up those big trips so in the mean time here’s what I was up to lately.
This last weekend I was working with “Life Changing Challenges” and “Mountain explorers“ guiding the Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike parts of the challenge. For those of you who don’t know the 3 peaks challenge involves summitting the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales within a 24hr period. We met the team from “Gap Recruitment” in Glasgow and a few hrs minibus ride later we were ready at the foot of the Ben. It was a fantastic day for this time of year, the thermometer at Fort William read +18 degrees we set off in bright sunshine with hardly a cloud in the sky. A very sweaty 3hrs later and all participants were on the summit, a very good time for a fit bunch of lads. A short break for photo’s and some snacks and its time to head back down, most of the lads made it back to the bus as darkness fell, unfortunately one lad had a rather embarrassing illness which made him stop many times on the way down, bad timing for that problem, not many trees to hide behind on the Ben. Once back at the bus and everyone fed and watered and cleaned up, we set off for the lakes with 5hrs 55mins on the clock, about 5 mins behind schedule.
With the clock running on the long drive to Wasdale head and the start of the Scafell Pike ascent any slight traffic problems can put the whole challenge in jeopardy. Coupled with drive a bus in the dark on twisty mountain roads and hitting every red light on the way, by the time we reached the start of Scafell we were almost an hour behind. With the Scafell ascent being short and steep its very hard to make up for lost time, plus the fact you are starting at 03:00 in the morning and navigating in the dark doesn’t help matter’s. Hoping to make up some time we started the ascent at a brisk pace with all 7 of the lads making good time, unfortunately after 1/2 hr jim’s illness caught up with him again and drained of energy he was forced to retire. The rest of the lads did well in an increasingly cold and windy night and reached the summit ahead of time.
The descent from Scafell takes longer than you think, the top third in over many lose rocks and great care has to be taken in the dark to avoid injury. By the time we reached Hollow Stones dawn had arrived and we were able to pick up the place slightly. Alternating between the stone path and the grass to save the knees the lads made it back to the bus shaving a good 20 mins of the expected time, maybe the challenge was back on, only the drive to Snowdon will tell. This is where my part in the challenge ends, at Snowden they were due to meet another leader who whould guide them to the summit and back. I left the lads, who were vissible suffering I have to say in the hands of Nathen from Life Changing Challenges and Mike from Mountain Explorers to continue the effort and returned to my own van, After a little sleep I was off home and thinking of a pint.
My opinion on these Challenges, well while its great to raise money for charity, why rush something you enjoy? 3 peaks in 3 days sound eminently more sensible!