|1 | Mid point on Ben Nevis 2 | Top of Ben Nevis 3 | Fingerpoint Rock on Snowdon|
What is the 3 Peaks Challenge?
To put it simply, climbing the 3 highest peaks in the UK, within 24 hours. These are Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scarfell Pike in the Lake District, and Snowdon in Wales. The idea is to complete it, including travel time, in 24 hours. I believe they said they time it from the top of Ben Nevis to the top of Snowdon (but I think every company is slightly different).
Before you get scared, it's not proper climbing. Most of it was just walking, fast walking and over rocks and such, but really just walking - trekking if you will.
My company do charity events and this was one of theirs. So they organised everything, we just had to do our travel there and back, kit and training. I figured it was something I've never done before and I felt like getting out of my comfort zone - and what better way to do that then with work right? Plus, one of my closest friends who I work with was thinking about doing it as well so we both signed up together. And yes, we stuck together for most of the trip.... Also it's for charity so it's for a good cause, and who can say no to that?
What did I think?
Overvall, it's probably one of the best experiences of my life. It was probably also the hardest. Saturday morning we did Ben Nevis, which was probably my favourite. We had amazing weather for it and it was probably the nicest one to do in terms of terrain. The views from the top were spectacular, and there was snow as well which was cool. We then had 6 hours on a coach to prepare for Scarfell Pike, which I'd already heard was the hardest one, even though it was the smallest.
This was probably my lowest point. There was one section called the spiral staircase that was just about 40 minutes of steep rocky, uneven stairs. I've had issues with my knee the past few months and honestly, in about 15 minutes of doing it my knee was complete agony and I just couldn't do anymore. I had to go back down unfortunately and it is probably the most annoyed at myself I have ever been. I know it was the right thing to do as if I'd pushed myself I probably wouldn't have been able to walk, let alone do the next one, but at the time I was pretty devastated. The others finished this one and got back to the coach around 2am Sunday morning, so then we were off to Wales - about a four hour coach ride again with very little sleep.
|View from the top of Ben Nevis|
On about 2-3 hours sleep, and in pouring rain we attempted Snowdon. Now, the scenery was beautiful - even with the rain - and after my failed attempt at Scarfell I was really up for this one. A lot of Snowdon was very scrambly - basically hands and feet over rocks etc to climb up. It was good fun through. My knee had started hurting again but I was trying to push through. Unfortunately we were soon told we had to pick up the pace to do it in the 24 hours alloted, and also to prevent hyperthermia (nice right). I tried the fast pace for a while but again, my knee wasn't having any of it. About 3/4 of the way up we were given the option of going back down. I decided to do this mainly because of my knee, but also I was already pretty damn proud of myself for doing what I'd done - I felt like I could still go home proud.
Although I didn't get to the top of all three, I know I did my best and I am still very proud of myself for having even attempted it in the first place. Amazing credit to our fast group - who were insane. They did Ben Nevis in about 4 hours, which is just ridiculous. The entire group did amazingly and I think we all came back feeling different about ourselves and much happier with ourselves - though I think we all agreed we would never do it again.
My main tip? Train. Seriously. I started, then my knee played up and I never got back into it. This was my biggest mistake. Strength and endurance are a massive part of this challenge and if you haven't trained in these areas then you will struggle. If I was to ever attempt it again, I would do month of training before to make sure I was fully prepared this time. And replace my knee, you know, like a normal person.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who asked. It was an amazing experience and I have come back feeling more confident in myself - if I can do that I can do anything right?! Sounds silly, but a few of us have said we do feel different since we've come back. I for one am definitely going to start looking for my next challenge...