National 3 Peaks Challenge

27 August 2015

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.

And finally….
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…..


Application called-in by Secretary of State

01 November 2014

On 31st October the National Planning Casework Unit issued a letter to Bradford Council advising them that they are NOT to grant planning permission on the Sty Lane application and that the Secretary of State has decided to call-in the application and to hold a Public Inquiry.
This is excellent news for GAG. The Secretary of State has found in favour of GAG and against Bradford Council and the Developers.
We now have only 6 weeks to present our initial statement of case and decide who to appoint to fight this for us. We cannot do this without your financial support and we need to ask you to dig deep again. We understand the timing is not good particularly in the run up to Christmas but we have no choice. The GAG committee will be meeting this week to formulate our strategy.
Meantime if you are able to assist us financially please donate via our website or send to our Treasurer Graham Hey at Mickle Cottage, 12-16 Victoria Street, Micklethwaite, BD16 3JB.

We Lost

20 June 2014

The Planning Hearing was held on 19th June 2014 and unfortunately we lost. The vote went 5-2 in the developers favour.
The hearing was a travesty. The handling of this whole episode has not been fair nor transparent. Many objections raised were not brought before the panel and the whole event was steamrollered through. There is more I could say but you will excuse me if we don’t publish them here as we are taking legal advice on our next steps. We are not crying foul because we lost as even 2 of the councillors on the committee requested the hearing be deferred because they did not believe Bradford Council had been fair and transparent in their handling of the meeting.
Councillors Mark Shaw and David Heseltine did us proud as did all our speakers, Richard Pinchbeck, Richard Butler, Janet Payn, Tony Plumbe and Mick Meares. We had wonderful support from the community for the whole day. Thank you for all your support and for your donations.
We need to consider next steps and as I understand it the only option open to us is a Judicial Review. We will take legal advice on this and the cost of doing so, but I believe there are a number of issues we can raise. In addition the chairman of the committee also said at the end of the meeting that whilst they have approved this application the housing site is only outline and the developers will need to bring forward a full application which we may wish to have an input on.
We do need time to consider all of this but should you have any questions I will try to answer them. However please bear with us if you don’t get a speedy response as this is a new position we find ourselves in and we have lots of questions that we need to ask to aid our understanding.

Latest Planning Application

10 June 2014

The latest planning application is to be heard at the Regulatory and Appeals Committee at 10:00am on 19th June 2014 at Bingley Arts Centre, Main Street, Bingley.

New application

07 January 2014

On 27th January 2014 the developers submitted a new application. More details will be given shortly but be aware you will need to object again and sign our petition which will go online next week. Whilst notification letters have been issued by the Council showing a response date of 19th February, this should read 28th February. We will provide information on points of objection but feel free to write now as you can always write again with further points. Indeed the Council have agreed to accept representations up to the date of the Planning Panel (date not yet available).

Public Meeting 9/12/13

10 December 2013

We had a great turnout at our Public Meeting and the hall was filled. After a presentation by GAG everyone was given the opportunity to ask questions and have their say. When asked if they were up for another fight and whether they would support us financially and with their time the audience were unanimous in their support.