The ‘Almost’ 3 Peaks Challenge
I honestly think that at least once a week we should all sit down and take a moment to be bloody grateful for the opportunities that come our way in life. I think the ideal time for this, is after 3 days living in a mini-bus, with around 8 hours sleep during those 3 days and whilst sporting the kind of odor that would clear a room.
The beginning is always the best place to start, so let me tell you my story…
Last year I signed myself and G up to complete the 3 Peaks Challenge, we have a good base level of fitness, a love for the great outdoors and a passion for adventure. Despite having a seriously busy few months building up to the challenge (Hey, you only get married once right?). Our time had come and we were standing by our temporary 4 wheeled home with too many bags.
I have absolutely no comprehension of traveling light, I’d also added every possible travel inflatable to my Amazon Basket and pressed ‘Buy Now‘, all in my quest for comfort.
The journey to Scotland was a long slog, but thankfully there were 7 mini-buses in convoy, each with 7 walkers and 2 drivers. I’m not going to lie, having my name on the bus list did help every time I deliriously tried to get in the wrong bus. We enjoyed culinary delights at one of the most upmarket roadside services I’ve ever experienced and managed shout outs on Radio One and Radio Two. We were almost at Fort William when a bus broke down, so we gained an additional passenger and the unexpected thrill of feeling like we were on a rollercoaster whilst being driven around the bendy roads.
At 1 am, we started our ascent of Ben Nevis, the pace was steady as we got into a groove and allowed other walkers focusing on the 24-hour time frame to pass us. The route is relatively straightforward, but long in ascent and extremely tiring on so little sleep. We reached the summit, rejoiced, took a few snaps and started the journey back down. Around 45mins from completion is when exhaustion kicked in, whilst I’ll cover this in more detail during a future post, but for now, I present to you my ‘leave me alone’ face.
After a baby wipe wash, change of clothing and nearly falling asleep in my breakfast of ‘Bangers and Mash’ (Diet, I beg your pardon what diet?) I got some sleep before we started our journey to Scarfell Pike. I’m going, to be frank, a mix of exhaustion, boredom and sheer greed meant I ate quite possibly the best and worst variety of food. I was so glad to be reunited with Cadbury Boost bars, endless jelly babies, cereal bars and sugar-laden drinks. The downside? I didn’t go to the loo in 3 days and looked pregnant, I missed an opportunity for a ‘Before and After‘ photo.
We collected Lee and Lorraine from the train station, as they’d been in London the night before and started our journey up Scarfel Pike. In comparison to Ben Nevis, this felt easy, it was great to get back on our feet and explore a new peak. Unfortunately, due to the fact, there was so many of us completing the challenge and we all had different levels of fitness, we were 4 hours behind schedule.
“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes backbone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates
Whilst folk on our bus were fit, confident and happy to slog, it was, however, proving difficult and almost impossible for others in the team. Therefore, we were instructed that everyone had to turn back, less than a mile from the summit, I’m not going to deny that I found this extremely hard to handle. I was disappointed, feeling hugely irrational and very frustrated, on the other hand, I had to respect others and the fact that they too are on this journey.
A lesson of the day…
“The trick is to be grateful when your mood is high and graceful when it is low.” – Richard Carlson
We returned to the mini-bus, with the knowledge that I was going to one of my favorite peaks (You can read about how much I love Snowdon here). Plus, I was looking forward to some sleep and my highly nutritious breakfast of a Drifter bar with a side of red bull.
After 5 hours we arrived at Snowdonia, to me Snowdon feels like returning home. It’s one of my favorite peaks, I’ve enjoyed so many adventures along those pathways. I love the turns and twists, the scrambles and eating a hot sausage roll at the top. We took the Pyg route up and the Miners route down, I’m so thankful we made this choice as we stopped to fuel our souls by paddling and swimming in the cool waters. All my frustration subsided, I felt at ease, calm and so bloody thankful that I was able to experience these kinds of moments.
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” – Willie Nelson
After a celebration with fish’n’chips by the water in Bets-y-coed, we headed home to one of the most rewarding hot showers and a great nights sleep!
I’d like to say a huge thank you to my fabulous bus mates, the drivers and to Mick who organized the trip and of course, every single person on the team who made this adventure possible. You’re all bloody fabulous, I’m sorry for looking so grumpy, it’s my natural expression. Finally, thanks to G who took endless photos of me, never lost patience when I was falling asleep and/or losing the plot and not openly judging my disgusting food consumption, you are the best.
P.s – You might enjoy reading…