Last weekend was another National 3 Peaks Challenge that we were running for Naomi House and Jacksplace. We have supported this charity for a while now and we have run many events for them. It is a wonderful charity.
Any event takes a fair amount of planning – you’d be surprised how much! A National 3 Peaks Challenge takes a little bit more time and planning and although it is to be completed in 24-hours, running the event is 5 days of work for us, and that does not include all the planning, the kit preparation, the information evening we run and the practice day in the Brecon Beacons that we do for the participants. The event itself starts for us when we collect the minibus the day before our travel day and run our daily checks on it to ensure it is in perfect order and ready to go. The next day we are up early to load the bus and then head to Naomi House which is the start point for the event. We have a very precise travel plan that we use, and it was noticed by our participants on the event last week that it is a very good plan and allows us to make the long journey up to Scotland without a hitch. Peter from Naomi House is a fully qualified minibus driver, so he also did some of the driving with us for this event which was really appreciated. We took a short detour near Glencoe, so I could show the group one of the most beautiful places I know. Not long after that we arrived at the accommodation and once we had sorted out the rooms the participants took a short free ferry over the Loch to the pub at the other side, so they could refuel on food, and probably a little drink, after the long days journey. Later that evening we had a briefing about the challenge so that we could discuss the weather and the finer details of the plan. Then some sleep.
The next morning, we set off early and started the clock at the foot of Ben Nevis. The weather was ok, but not great, and we knew it was going to get worse, and wetter, and windier. There was also the Ben Nevis race that was due to start just after lunch time, so we had set ourselves the objective of being back down before it started. It was going to be tight.
Near the summit we knew the visibility would be quite poor, so we stayed close and all made the top together in pretty good time. The wet slippery conditions were really against us on the descent as we needed to make sure every footstep was placed carefully and precisely. Although it slowed us down the group stayed super focussed on the objective and we finished Ben Nevis in great time. Back at the minibus we got a quick change out of our soaked clothes and we saw the Ben Nevis race start. It was very busy, so we were glad we made it down as planned. Well done to everyone who took part in it.
The next leg was the travel to the Lake District, but we had some time in hand, so we made use of it and stopped on route to load up on some calories. Our local guide met us at Scafell Pike and while the group battled with the elements in the dark the drivers took the opportunity to get some rest. It was tough conditions, but our guide is superb, the group were strong and arrived back at the minibus in pretty good spirits. Scafell Pike is the shortest and the smallest of the 3 peaks, but it is usually the one that people struggle with the most, especially if the weather is unkind.
We were soon on our way to Snowdon and after a very welcome stop for breakfast we met our amazing local guide for Snowdon and the group set off on their third and final peak. The weather was not great here either. Our group had been granted no views and no respite from the wind or rain on any of the 3 peaks. Snowdon was still quite busy though, so we were glad to see our group round the final corner and arrive back at the minibus with a sense of relief, achievement and pride. And a smell of sweat and dampness.
All they needed to do now was relax as we got them back to Naomi House. One of my favourite parts of a National 3 Peaks is when we stop at the services on the way back. Watching the group walking from the bus into the services is always a great example of what hard work and effort looks like. Legs are tired and stiff from sitting in the minibus and the bodies are weary and sleepy. I must admit, its pretty funny to watch. But it gives me an immense feeling of satisfaction of the effort they have all put into their challenge. They very much earn every single penny of their fundraising for Naomi House and Jacksplace.