Olivia takes on the National Three Peaks Challenge!
The National Three Peaks Challenge is a well known phrase amongst the more adventurous. This challenge involves walking the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales within 24 hours!
Our team spend a lot of time talking soap, making soap and selling soap, but we love it when our team get outside, take part in challenges and adventures.
Over one of the hottest summer weekends Olivia took on the National Three Peaks Challenge… For those of you unaware The National Three Peaks Challenge is a well known phrase amongst the more adventurous. This challenge involves walking the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales within 24 hours.
The three peaks are:
- Snowdon, in Wales (1085m)
- Scafell Pike, in England (978m)
- Ben Nevis, in Scotland (1344m)
Olivia shares her experience:
“Months of training for the National Three Peaks could not prepare me for what I encountered!!
After an 8 hour drive to Scotland we arrived in Glencoe, dumped our bags in the hostel and headed to the pub for a couple of fortifying drinks before bed. After a little ‘sleep in’ we headed to Fort William for breakfast and ‘the big shop’!
Full Scottish Breakfast down the hatch, and a whizz round the supermarket for walking supplies and plenty of water. We had a couple of hours to kill before we began the Challenge, with the sun beating down we opted to go sun bathing and have a quick nap.
40 winks later we headed to the starting point, bathed in sun cream and stocked our bags with essentials.
After speaking to groups who had just finished Ben Nevis about how they had found it, we decided on a quick re packed of our bags. No need for water proofs or warm clothing, we swapped these for more sun cream, bug repellent and water, lots of water, hydrate, hydrate!
With not a cloud in the sky and a temperatures up to around 26 degrees we knew this was going to be a real challenge…We set off in high spirits, telling ourselves WE CAN TOTALLY DO THIS!
It didn’t take long before I realised exactly how hard this was going to be- We were barely 45 minutes into the planed 5 hr walk and I had drank a third of my water! I was doing better than some in our group though. After a quick rest stop for everyone to catch up, I spotted my best friend was really struggling. I walked back to find her, short of breath, and not in a good place. With some supportive words, water intake and a fresh layer of sun cream I decided I would carry her bag for a bit and we set off again!
Onwards and upwards we continued and I was happy to see that by best friend started to pick up after a few more short breaks. We split some of her bag contents between our bags to lighten her load and she took her bag back and plodded on.
Our next stop was at a natural spring, I don’t think I have ever been so happy in my life! Out goes the warm water I have been carrying and I topped up with some fresh, cool, Ben Nevis water! This really perked the group up, a much appreciated natural miracle, fresh H2O!
We almost flew up to the summit now, passing the last of the snow we sped to the Peak!
Quick photo call and snack and down we go!
With my fellow ‘mountain goat’ (one of the guys in our group) we began to run down! I took a little tumble on the loose shingle but we continued on until we spotted the sunset! With a magnificent view we stopped to take in this spectacular moment before scurrying down and competing Ben Nevis. I think I uttered the words, ‘Never Again’ as I attempted to take my walking boots off!
Quick pot noodle and a wash and it was into the van and off to Scafell. Little sleep was had in the cramped van but I was all ready to tackle Scafell, my favourite. We scrambled up the never ending Incline and reached the summit as the sun took pride of place high in the sky!
With my fellow mountain goat struggling there was no run down this one, instead he initiated group motivation singing of, ‘Alouette’ and we descended swiftly. The thought of Baked Beans in my head seemed to speed my flagging legs on, to pass that last stream, and float to the finish.
The baked beans did not disappoint!
I feel I need to thank our two drivers we had with us, with little sleep themselves, they drove us through the night, prepped our meals and never complained once. One of our drivers was even 5 months pregnant!
After a little wait as one of the team managed to find herself in the wrong car park, we re-packed the van, and headed to Snowdon. Thankfully I slept a little better on this journey and could see the end in sight.
We arrived just as some of the people we had see on Ben Nevis and Scafell were finishing, so we had to get a wriggle on!
Quick change, top up of water and off we go again. This was the 3rd mountain without a cloud in the sky. Knowing this one was more of a steep climb, slow and steady stretch, steep climb then a final slow and steady stretch we pressed on. We realised quickly that trying to sing group motivation songs going up hill was a bad idea. We split into smaller groups, finding our own pace and made our way to the summit. The views were spectacular, you could even see the sea!
Another photo call and time to get back down. The sun was setting and we didn’t want to have to walk in the dark. With a couple in our group struggling, I found that I was descending with neither of my knee supports after I had donated them to those more in ‘Kneed’!!
With a group split, front half ‘huffing it’ and the rears ‘slow and steady’ it was a race against daylight! With no knee supports I was feeling every step down!
Knowing that we would not manage the 24 hour mark, I began to try and recruit people in my group into trying again next year! I Wasn’t having much luck! I realised that I clearly have a competitive side! With both knees begging me to stop, a strange pain on my right foot, no sleep and dehydration and I was still trying to plan a 2nd attempt!!!
I clearly forgot my ‘Never Again’ comment as I finished Ben Nevis!
Being met at the end with big hugs and congratulations from the guys who ‘huffed it’ (because someone needed the loo) I remembered that this was all for charity. Regardless of managing it in 24 hours or not, we have raised over £1000 for our chosen charities!
So we made it!
We headed to the last hostel for Wine, Curry and A BED……..It was over!
Before you ask…..Yes I want to do it again next year and hopefully raise another £1000 for charity any volunteers?”