So, the big day finally arrived and on Friday 10th August team 'We Thought This Was A 5K!' embarked on our 3 Peaks Challenge.
We set off from B’ham airport where we had breakfast. We landed at Glasgow and were met by our guide, Adam, at the airport. He was a ridiculously fit, skinny, northerner who has done the 3 Peaks over 100 times! Actually he was a real star and we loved him. He stayed with us the whole time and we had other individual guides for each ‘hill’. They were all lovely but do this for a living!
We met our driver, Steve, and got on the minibus up to Fort William to our hotel. A little bit Spartan but hilarious! It was full of other groups doing the 3 Peaks, or at least Ben Nevis, but also a recently arrived coach-load of Swedes who were doing Scotland in 8 days and so the hotel had laid on ‘entertainment’ for them. We had a team talk from Adam before dinner. We would have loved to join in the cabaret but we knew we had to be sensible. In bed by about 9.30 ish.
Alarm at 5am. Had a huge breakfast and were picked up by Spanish Pedro, the taxi driver, at 7am ready for a 7.15am start up Ben Nevis. This allowed Steve to have a lie in so that we could maximise his hours behind the wheel.
Ben Nevis was our best and 'easiest' Peak. It is the biggest and so not most people’s favourite but it was our best one, not only because it was the first but also because the weather was perfect - light cloud and a bit of a breeze - heaven! It’s not a bad climb either, some sharp inclines, some steep rocky steps and some hard climbing. Our group was made up of varying levels of fitness so Jonny, Fleety, Lily and Harry managed it in 5 hours 45 minutes, Tim and Mol in 6 hours, and Kirsty and me in a few minutes over 6. To give you a guide, Adam and his fit mates do it in 3!!!
Sadly Kirsty managed to put her hip out on the Ben so that was poor Kirsty out of it for the rest of the week-end and meant that she was sleeping with Steve in the minibus!!
Once we were all down, we radioed Steve to come and get us and off we set to Scafell in the Lakes at around 2pm. We tried to sleep on the bus without much success – it was so uncomfortable! The weather started to turn during the drive and by the time we arrived at ‘Skyfall’ at about 9pm we were met with driving rain and gale force winds. It was horrific! We set off and Adam advised that we all needed to stay together on this one due to the dark and the weather conditions. There were already weather warnings out there and the mountain rescue team was on the hill trying to find someone who had got stuck. We realised that it was going to be very slow progress as, although ‘Skyfall’ is the smallest, it is pretty much a vertical rock climb with no let ups and, as the ‘quick group’ were clearly much faster than the rest of us, it really wouldn’t have been fair on them to have had to wait for us in the atrocious conditions. If it had been light, dry and mild, a different matter. After 40 minutes Mol, Tim and I decided to pull out and let the faster ones go on without us so we returned to the bus and tried to sleep through Steve's snoring. The ‘quick ones’ did it in 4 and a quarter hours. Amazing!
We drove through the night to Snowdon and, although the forecast sounded better, it wasn’t! When we got to Snowdon it was rainy and overcast but, as we climbed, thank goodness that luck was with us… the rain just got heavier and heavier and the wind got up too!! By this time we were so wet that it really didn’t matter. Our water proofs were just not water proof enough! We made it to the top but sadly could see absolutely none of the fab views, only rain and cloud! We all climbed down together. It took the 'quick group' about 5.5 in total to get up and down but our legs were so tired by now that we were all strung out at different stages along the path down. The rest of us trickled in one by one.
We said a fond farewell to Adam and told him to get a proper job!
Friends met us in the car park as we’d hired the minibus for them to drive us home. We were very pleased to see them. This enabled us to stop and have a beer and a McDonald’s on the way home!
We got back to Solihull at around 5pm on Sunday and I suspect most of us weren’t late to bed that night. We did consider sleeping in our cars as we had grown unaccustomed to the luxury of a proper bed!
Our legs were really stiff and aching on Monday but with some Compeed blister plasters I don’t think any of us suffered with blisters which is fantastic. It was an amazing event and, although some of us didn’t manage Scafell, we really don’t feel disappointed about that, given the awful conditions. Fair play to Jonny, Fleety, Lily and Harry who climbed them all – a fantastic job! We had a great group with tremendous team spirit and the banter was awesome. The ‘hills’ and the minibus saw a lot of laughter.
The reason we were putting ourselves through it all was never far from our thoughts either. It looks like we will not only reach but exceed our fundraising target as we still have a lot more to come in. So it’s hopefully the youngsters of The Prince’s Trust who are the real winners here.
On behalf of our whole team we would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us. Thank you for all your donations, texts, and wonderful words of encouragement. You really kept us going and we couldn't have done it without you. Please take a look at some of our photos.
It's not too late to donate so, if you would like to do so, we would be extremely grateful. Thank you.
For our next challenge we are considering a sewing bee!!