Well, I did it !! The highest peaks of Scotland, England and Wales summited in a little over 24 hours (26 hours 14 minutes) to help raise funds for GAG. It really was a tough challenge – both physically and logistically but with added drama thrown in for good measure ...
Saturday 22nd August: Ben Nevis
We travelled up to Glen Nevis the night before so were ready to tackle the climb at 09:00 on Saturday morning. The weather was warm and humid for almost 3 miles before we went into mist at around 3,100 feet. Visibility deteriorated progressively up to the summit which we reached at 11:24. After a brief stop for GAG sponsor photo’s (Perfectly Clear drinks) and a drink, we pressed back down and were back at the minibus at 13:26: 9 miles, 4,409 feet in 4 hours 26 minutes.
Saturday 22nd August: Ben Nevis – to Wasdale
After a quick change and pack up, it was off to Wasdale in the minibus – 257 miles. Heavy rain started within minutes of departure and lasted pretty much all the way to Carlisle. The journey was slow thanks to a number of caravans that had created a slow procession all the way from Glencoe almost to Loch Lomond and a shortcut gamble to take the A5086 at Cockermouth back fired as the road had been closed at Pardshaw forcing an unplanned detour on various backroads to bypass the closure. We finally arrived at Wasdale at 19:48.
Saturday 22nd August: Scafell
We set out at 20:06 in fading light. The weather was dry and humid to start with but a storm warning had been forecast and the heavens opened at the ¼ mile mark with lightning the likes of which I hope I don’t see again while I’m stuck in the open! In darkness, we strayed off the track near the Brown Tongue turn off and zig-zagged the stream (now a torrent) on Lingmell Scars before reverting to making our own route – straight up the fell on our hands and knees to reach high ground at Hollow Stones then following a black route to the top: 3,208 feet. This had taken us 2 hours 43 minutes, almost an hour longer than our schedule due to a ¾ mile nightmare detour. After the briefest of stops (for sponsor photo’s) we headed back down – this time at a reduced pace to ensure we didn’t stray from the path. The storm prevailed and there were a few nasty slips on the path down despite slowing to a safe pace. We were back at the minibus at 00:59, wet to the core but mightily relieved to be back in one piece. This had taken nearly two hours longer than a daytime practice run two weeks previous.
Saturday 22nd August: Wasdale to Snowdon
In order for the minibus to get moving as quickly as possible, we changed out of our wet clothes on the move and wrapped up in blankets to dry off and get warm. The driver had picked a route over Hardknott Pass as a shortcut to help save time. At this stage, a shortcut was the only way we could keep our hope of the 24 hour target. As we neared the ¾ mark on Hardknott, the severity of the hill and weather got the better of us – the minibus couldn’t get any traction on the treacherous track. After much pushing in torrential rain, we managed to turn the minibus around to pick up a much safer route on the A595. Getting stuck and having to ‘U’ turn and divert had cost us almost another hour. No-one mentioned it, but we all knew the 24 hour dream had slipped out of our grip: this was now about finishing the peaks to protect much needed sponsorship and pride. We arrived at Pen Y Pass car park at 07:15. The weather was damp and cool.
Sunday 23rd August: Snowdon
We set out onto Snowdon at 07:28 and chose the Miners track as this was a faster route to get to Pyg Track at 3¼ miles (2,404 feet). We reached the summit (3,559 feet) at 09:51 with virtually no visibility due to heavy mist. After another photo stop we headed back down to Pen Y Pass – this time taking Pyg Pass all the way down. This route was 8 miles and had taken us 4 hours 48 minutes.
After a brief café stop and a much needed hot drink we set off back to Bingley – exhausted but hugely pleased to have completed the challenge in such dreadful conditions and managed to snatch a brief sleep on the journey back. Three mountains totalling 22¾ miles (combining to 10,976 feet) walked in 14 hours 30 minutes. Thanks to some very kind sponsors and one significant corporate sponsor, Perfectly Clear drinks, I’ve raised around £2,000 for our much needed fighting fund. Not bad for a first attempt…..