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x-11th Bulawayo (Riverside) Scout Richard Millar


UK map of the 3 mountains.jpg


Mol's Three Peaks Challenge 2005



6 Jun 2005 A bunch of chaps from work and a few friends have decided to tackle the Three Peak Challenge and raise money for charity in doing so. Our MD has said he will match all monies raised - a very generous gesture!! The Three Peaks Challenge is to climb the highest mountains in Scotland - Ben Nevis 1344m, England - Scafell Pike 978m and Wales - Snowdon 1085m all within 24 hours including the 10 hours driving between these mountains. We are tackling this challenge this coming weekend. The two 3 men teams from work are starting at Ben Nevis on Saturday 11th June at approx 8am and my team is starting at Mt Snowdon on Saturday at 10:00 (British Summer Time). My team includes Brian and Rachel - our American friends ex Buckingham University, Brian's friend Duncan from Cambridge and our friend Paul from Malvern. Gayle and Paul's wife Mary will be our support team and drivers. The chances are that we will meet the other two teams at Scafell Pike!! The charity we are supporting is a local children's charity called Barnardo's for disadvantaged children. Please send your sponsorship money to me at "Kachana" 29 Oriel Way, Brackley, Northants NN13 6DR or alternatively deposit it in my account Abbey Cheque account Sprt Code 090126 Acct No. 90153591 Please let me know how much you are sponsoring in place of filling in the sponsorship form. If you have any queries please don't hesitate to email me. Your generosity will be appreciated. Richard


22 Jun 2005
Dear All

A week and more has gone since we attempted the Three Peak Challenge and succeeded.

We were 3 teams, two teams from work and my team. The two teams from work started at Ben Nevis on Saturday (11th) morning at 07:45 and 08:15 and my team started at Snowdon at 10:00. My team included Brian (25) and Rachel (22)- our American friends ex Buckingham University, Brian's friend Duncan (55) from Cambridge and our friend Paul (57) from Malvern. Gayle and Paul's wife, Mary, were our support team and drivers.

My team met at Llanberis - the Welsh town at the base of Mt Snowdon on Friday evening. Gayle managed to arrange to start and finish work earlier than normal on a Friday. We did the usual carbo loading for our evening meal at Kachana before driving to Wales. We stayed in a hotel B&B which worked well. We had a leisurely breakfast - full English - before starting our 1st mountain.

Click to see big picture
The Start at Snowdon zoomed
The Start at Snowdon zoomed


The weather was perfect, mostly sunny, temp around 20'C and good visibility. Rachel and Duncan took a lot of strain on Snowdon and we really thought there was no way they were going to both complete the challenge. Snowdon is the longest walk (14.2km round trip) and the second highest climb (start 106m and summit at 1085m). We waited for Duncan and Rachel half way up and at the top. It was a 3:12 walk with a total of 30 minutes waiting (3:42 total time). After photos at the top and bottom we took off in two cars to the Lake District - 4 1/2 hr drive.

Click to see big picture
5 of us Snowdon Summit
5 of us Snowdon Summit


We got to the base of Scafell Pike around 6pm as planned. Brian & Rachel set off first, I waited for Mary, Paul and Duncan to arrive. They were only 5 minutes behind but miss communication meant we lost another 10 minutes. Whilst at the bottom of Scafell the first of the Faccenda teams came past. Paul, Duncan and I set of 18 minutes behind Rachel and Brian. Scafell is the steepest of the 3 mountains (starting at 65m and climbing to 978m over a relatively short 3.7km stretch).

Click to see big picture
Richard climbing Scafell Pike
Richard climbing Scafell Pike

Whilst climbing the lower portion the 2nd Faccenda team caught up with me and we walked some of the way together. At the "Y" I went right up the steeper scree slopes and they went left up the steps. I caught Brian and Rachel at the top of the scree slopes and from there it was just 500 m to the summit. Brian and Rachel didn't hang around at the top even though the views were just great. I waited 16 minutes at the top for Paul and as we were leaving Duncan made it to the top. A quick photo and we started down. My knees started taking strain on the way down so at the "Y" I waited another 16 minutes for Duncan, then making sure he was OK set off for the bottom.

Click to see big picture
Richard, Duncan & Paul summit Scafell
Richard, Duncan & Paul summit Scafell


Gayle and Mary in the meantime had gone to Whitehaven (20 miles away) and bought Chinese take away - what a pleasure!! A couple of other 3 peak challenge teams asked their support team why they didn't have Chinese. We had decided on this two weeks prior when Paul & I had done Scafell Pike twice in one day and Gayle, Paul & I had stayed at Whitehaven.

I drove out of the Wastwater valley then Gayle took the wheel. We had one pit stop on the way to Fort William arriving at 3:30am. I was too wired to sleep but we did get some rest. We set off up Ben Nevis all together just before 4am - broad daylight, no torches needed. I decided not to stop along the way and wait for the others. Brian is very fit but held back to walk with Rachel and Paul then Duncan brought up the rear. About 1/4 of the way up it started to spit a bit. By halfway it started to rain, then sleet then snow. Whilst putting on my water proofs Brian and Rachel caught me up then I went on ahead. This was now not so much fun!!

Click to see big picture
Paul summit of Ben Nevis
Paul summit of Ben Nevis

The other two teams couldn't believe our stories as they had had a fantastic walk up Ben Nevis 20 hrs earlier with great views from the top. Visibility was now cut to about 30m but you really focused only 1-2m ahead to keep your face out of the wind, ice and snow. We came across 3 teams coming down. In the one lot a couple of guys had no head protection and their hair was frozen on their heads. We had learned - from reading and experience - always take warm gear and waterproofs - it paid off. One would still get very cold if you stopped moving.

Once I had reached the summit I climbed into the little mountain rescue hut to wait for the others. The wind was bitter!! Brain and Rachel climbed into the hut for a bit then set off back down. I waited a couple more minutes then as I was setting off I came across Duncan and 80 m further on Paul. They had lost each other in the mist and Paul didn't know he was so close to Paul. They took a couple pictures at the top. About 15 minutes from the top the mist cleared, the sun came out and the views were fantastic. We all walked down at our own pace. Brian got down around 08:39, Rachel 10 minutes later and me 8 minutes behind her. Paul got back with half an hour to spare and Duncan made it with just 1 minute before the 24hour cut off. I tried to keep up with Brian and Rachel but my knees were just too sore. Surprisingly Ben Nevis is a shorter walk than Mt Snowdon. A round trip of 13.6km but significantly steeper starting at just 20m above sea level and going to 1343m.

Click to see big picture
Challenge completed
Challenge completed


Poor Rachel just cried and cried at the bottom - relief and exhaustion. After popping the bubbly and celebrating we found a breakfast cafe. Man, did the breakfast go down well or what!! Gayle and Mary managed to get some sleep while we were on Ben Nevis so they were OK to drive while the rest of us crashed out on the long journey home. After a few hours Brian and Paul shared the driving home.

A big thank you to those who sponsored me - have raised over £400 for a local children's charity.

In true Millar style I did my normal time and distance study along the way - see attached file. We walked a total distance of 35.5km and climbed up and down 3206m (10518ft). The significant fact about the altitude is it is all low altitude walking - the top of Ben Nevis is significantly lower than Johannesburg!!!

From Brackley we did over 1150miles round trip by car. Please excuse the miles and km but we here are not yet fully metric.

It was a really great challenge and as long as my body, knees mainly, are OK I'll do it again next year.

Well done to my team - Brian - young and fit, Rachel - young, not as fit as she thought but very determined, Paul - fit and steady paced and Duncan - also not as fit as he thought but also very determined!!

Cheers

Rich

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Acknowledgements:- With thanks to Richard Millar for sharing his experiences with us all.
Mol's MD has said he will match all monies raised - a very generous gesture!!