On 30th June 2012 a group of us attempted the Three Peaks Challenge (climbing Ben Nevis - the highest peak in Scotland, Mount Snowdon - the highest peak in Wales, and Scafell Pike - the highest peak in England, all within twenty four hours including the approximate twelve hours of journey time between each peak). As an added incentive we were trying to raise some money for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.
Now we are extending this site to include other groups we are sponsoring who are planning to do the Three Peaks Challenge. If you are looking at undertaking this challenge we hope that you will find this site useful.
A fantastic effort by Team Fastfind to complete the challenge in horrendous weather conditions.
As the climb leader I would like to say a big thank you to all the walkers, drivers and all our sponsors and supporters for backing us on this epic cha
Well done to the walkers, they did a cracking job. Unfortunately the weather meant that it was unlikely they would complete the task in 24 hours. They could so easily have become demoralised but they continued to pull out the stops on each peak, trul
We all work for Orolia Ltd, based in Portsmouth on the south coast of England, manufacturer of the Fast Find range of Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs). Having been involved with many people undertaking adventures all over the world, we had all talke
On the 12th July 2013 a new team of Ross Wilkinson(the team captain who was ill for the 2012 event) and David duffin will try and attempt this event witin the time of 24h......training has be going well at Lulworth cove (back again) and the times are improving....this weekend will see the last trip before the event. Neil Jordan will be driving again and hopefully will knowhere to go............
On 13th July there will be a new Three Peaks Challenge. With a slimmed down team and using the experience learned from last year Team FastFind 2013 are quietly confident of completing the challenge within 24 hours.
Having overnighted in Stirling we all had a fairly leisurely drive up to Fort William through the wonderful scenery of Glen Coe and The Trossachs. We arrived in Fort William around early afternoon, and after a stop at the local supermarket to stock up on pasta bowls and similar for the trip between the peaks we arrived at the Glen Nevis visitor centre. Our planned start time for our trek up Ben Nevis was 4pm and we all quickly got organised filling our rucksacs with drink and food, and getting our boots on. A number of Three Peaker groups were leaving before us, and after a brief stop for team photos we finally left at 3.37pm. The rain started falling as we left and headed over the bouncy bridge, which takes you over the river by the car park.
After following along the other side of the river and across a couple of fields the path quickly starts to wind along the hill leading towards Ben Nevis. Soon the path leads upwards and starts to zig zag. After about 30 minutes we came across a group of stationery walkers and it quickly became apparent that an accident further up the path was causing the congestion. This incident is already described in another blog on this site Rescue on Ben Nevis.
We hurried past the casualty quickly to get out of the way before the helicopter arrived to lift him to safety. The path continued to rise up the side of the hill and then passed a cascading stream. By this point we had reach cloud height, the temperature fell and so did visibilty, until we could no longer see anything apart from the immediate path in front of us. The path then got steeper and by a series of 8 zig zags took us closer and closer to the summit. By this time a lot of us were feeling the aches in our legs (this is where our hours of training walks up and down the steep hills around Lulworth Cove were really valuable as we were all able to push on without stopping).
In the mist we could see an area of white ahead. The last day of June and we were slipping across snow! Shortly after this we all reached the summit. It was very cold, and there was no view to see in any direction so after a brief stop for food we turned around and retraced our steps back past the snow and down the mountain. One of our team was taken ill shortly after we started our descent; we think it may have been related to the cold conditions, but she was able to continue down the mountain unaided.
Halfway down the zig zags the cloud cleared to show wonderful views north and west to Fort William and the Isle of Mull. It really is a stunning area; many of the other Three Peakers who pushed past us on the descend hardly lifted their gazes from the path, and definitely missed some fanatastic views. Most of the descent was spent walking in the dry, which was a welcomed change after the climb. We finally arrived back at the car park after 6 and a half hours, a reasonable time considering the hold up for the rescue and the wet weather.The support team were impatiently waiting for us as they were getting bitten to bits by swarms of midges! We all quickly changed, grabbed some food and made off back to Fort William and the drive down to ther Lake District- and Scafell Pike.
After the soaking rain accompanying our climb up Scafell Pike, it was good to leave the wet weather behind on our journey to Snowdonia. However, as we got closer to Mount Snowdon we could see a large area of cloud obscuring the summit. Our route up was from Pen Y Gwyrd, following either the Pyg track or the Miners track. By this time we knew that we would be completing the challenge outside of 24 hours so were under no pressure to rush. One of the lessons we learnt was not to over rely on sat navs. Travelling in 4 cars seperately resulted in two cars travelling through Liverpool, one also being routed through Preston. This made a 90 minute difference between arrival times of the first and last cars. We arrived in the car park at Pen Y Gwyrd in dry but cloudy conditions; the summit of Snowdon was hidden above thick layer of cloud.
We had planned to take the Pyg track up to the summit, but for no particular reason took the Miners track instead. Both leave from the car park, the Miners track is fairly flat until it climbs up to join the Pyg track by a large series of steps hewn out of the rock face. This was a great track to be following, firstly because it was quite wide and flat for the start , which meant we could walk together as a group and chat, which we couldn't do on the narrower paths of Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis.
Everyone was in a good mood, as this was the last peak we had to climb. The Miners track gently wound up by the side of two seperate lakes before we had to scramble up the rock staircase to join the Pyg track. Then, the path zig zagged steeply till it came out on the ridge whcih we followed to the summit. Now in cold damp cloud and strong wind. 15 minutes later we were briefly at the summit, and started to retrace our steps along the ridge. The rain now decided to lash down and accompanied us all the way to the end. It had been decided that we would walk down the Tourist track which follows the railway line all the way to Llanberis a long way below the summit. The path seemed to go on forever, until finally we could see our cars waiting for us in the distance. The Three Peaks Challenge for us was over and we could look forward to a warm shower and a pub meal!
Blog posted from Snowdon, Snowdonia National Park, Caernarfon, Gwynedd LL55, UKView larger map
Having driven through the night in reasonable weather, as soon as we arrived in the valley below Scafell Pike at some time after 4am the heavens opened. We could see the head torch lights of other three peakers completing their climbs on the hil above. We were held up for a time waiting for one of our cars; Sue, one of the walkers, had been taken ill on the descent of Ben Nevis, and was not in good enough state to start the walk with us. Once we had all assembled we quickly started the trek.
Climbing Scafell Pike is very straight forward, even in heavy rain and limited visibility. Leaving the road and walking past the National Trust car park at Wasdale Head you follow the path up by the side of a stream until you reach a small wooden bridge which you cross and then head up the valley. After 20 minutes or so you reach a rocky stream which you need to cross by jumping between rocks. Having reached the other side, the path becomes apparent and the proper climb begins. And how it begins... upwards all the way to the summit.
The weather conditions were so severe that photo opportunities were very few. As we got higher it got colder, until finally we reached the summit in a cold strong wind and horizontal rain. See the following video for an idea of how the weather was. The last 30 minutes was spent walking between small piles of rocks called cairns which mark the route of the path. In the mist it would have been a lot more tricky working out which way to go without them. Also there were a number of other Three Peakers to follow up and down.
We didn't hang around at the top as there was nothing to see, and a worry that we might start to get very cold if we stopped for any period of time; so we turned around and headed back down the path as fast as we could. Unfortunately, because of the heavy rain, the rocky steps on the path had become very wet and slippery so we had to be very careful how we negotiated them. Finally after 4 hours we returned to our cars waiting below at Wasdale Head; everyone was soaked to the bone and cold. There are pretty much no facilities around at Wasdale Head at 9am so we all piled into our cars and headed towards the nearest services to change and fuel up for the final peak.
Blog posted from Scafell Pike, Lake District National Park, Seascale, Cumbria CA20, UKView larger map
One hour into the Challange and we were held up on our ascent by a helicopter rescue. A fell runner had broken his leg and was suffering from possible hypothermia on his descent. Luckily there were enough people around and still with a mobile phone signal to call the emergency services and organise a helicopter. If this had happened a thousand feet higher up on another day it might have been a different story. This is when an emergency beacon like the Fast Find Ranger would have been invaluable. The air rescue services would have been notified within minutes; the rescue helicopter would be able to use the homing signal from the beacon to pinpoint the casualty.
The team eat a hearty breakfast before setting out on the journey to Fort William. Unfortunately it was in Stirling that we heard the sad news that our Team leader would be unable to complete the challenge due to illness.
Today we start the Challenge! It is Friday morning, we are all at work, kit packed, food supplies bought, emergency equipment all organised. We are due to leave for our overnight stopping point of Stirling some time after 1pm. Being based in Portsmouth, on the south coast of England, we will have an eight hour drive in front of us. All that is left is to get some team photos taken for some of our sponsors, get the four cars loaded and we are ready to roll!
Additionally to our team of ten walkers we also have four people who will drive us up to and between each peak. The challenge would not have been possible without them so we are all very grateful to them! Thank you Dave, Tracy, Robin and Neil. Some people in smaller groups try to do the challenge and drive themselves but this would make things much more difficult as all of the walkers aim to try to get some sleep/rest between each peak.
We have been scanning the five day weather forecasts for each of the peaks and it's looking like it will be wet and windy for at least some of the time (temperatures at the summits of Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike will probably be hovering around 0 degrees) so it is going to be a testing time for us. We plan to keep the blog updated throughout the weekend via laptops and GSM cards, but technology has a habit of breaking down!
Below are some of our walkers' supplies for the challenge.
With the time of our challenge fast approaching and our training all done we can't wait to get going! With our logistical organisation in full flow we all feel confident that we are as organised as we can be for the upcoming challenge.
We would like to thank Sign It (http://www.signit-uk.com/) from Lymington who have kindly organised our team logos being embroidered on our fleeces.
Today was our last main training walk before we attempt the Three Peaks Challenge; as has become customary we all met in Lulworth Cove car park around 8:30am. The Army ranges were closed today so instead off our usual circuit east around Mupe Bay and Tynham we headed westward, up over the hill to Durdle Door, and then up the steep path to Ringstead bay, passing Scratchy Bottom (titter!), Swyre Head and White Nothe. The landscape, as usual was stunning, steep chalk cliffs, rock stacks and rolling hills. Although we had no rain today, which was a relief, it was very, very windy! In fact so windy we couldn't here Paul's awful jokes which usual accompany any walk we do; so every cloud has a silver lining! Getting back to Lulworth Cove after only 4 and a hlf hours everyone was still fit and full of energy. We can't wait for the weekend of the challenge to come around now, we are as fit as we will ever be.
This weekend we split into 2, half training on the Saturday and half on the Sunday. I was part of the Sunday team and boy did we get wet!, Saturday had been windy but Sunny; Sunday on the other hand started wet, and after a brief respite continued wet. Still it's all experience and training. Kate, Anneka, Paul and me spent six hours walking without break what has become the standard training route: starting and finishing at Lulworth Cove, going almost to Kimmeridge and also taking in Tyneham, Gadd Cliffs, Worbarrow Tout (a side excursion, very slippery coming down!!!!) and also for good measure doing an extra climb around the Cove itself. It was good to finish, everyone did well.
My most awful training session to date. The rain set in fairly suddenly, and I realised far too late that I needed waterproof trousers on! So I trudged miserably on with soaked legs, my waterproof trousers tucked away happy and dry in my backpack!
Three weeks away from the big event, I have learned the following things about walking in bad conditions:
Put waterproofs on at thefirst signs of rain! They can always be taken off if not needed, but are useless over wet stuff.
I urgently needdecent rainwear!!Treating my old jacket with waterproofing solution obviously hasn’t done the trick!
Getting changed out of wet stuff is REALLY difficult, especially if it has to be done in the car, or worse – in the wind and rain! We’re going to discuss how to handle this, so more to come.
I needwaterproof gloves– my hands were so cold that I couldn’t get food out of my backpack, or get my boots off to get into the car at the end.
Most importantly –Group support is crucial!!I was so wet and miserable during the walk that I was convinced I was dropping out of the team. I turned around to Sue with a face like a child about to throw a tantrum – she started laughing at how ridiculous I looked, and so did I. After that, I was happy again and actually enjoyed the rest of the walk! The group training is important for us to learn how to handle each other when someone gets in a strop; there will be times on the day when everyone reaches a low point and needs someone to make them snap out of it!
I’m afraid it was too wet to get my camera out, so no photos this time!
After five hours of non stop climbing and walking, even eating lunch on the go we finished our training circuit, taking in Flowers Barrow, Gadd Cliff, then around Tyneham, passed Worbarrow Tout and back up Flowers Barrow, then on to Lulworth Cove. The hills are still steep but we are climbing them more quickly and our recovery rates at the top are better; rather than stopping for a rest we can now walk on.
After a few roasting hot training sessions, Pete joins us again, and so does the rain - coincidence?
God knows how many times we've walked up and down Butser Hill now, I think it may have been a few feet higher when we started.. To spice our training up a bit, we decided to walk up the side of the hill - Where the sheep are. This was a bad move, partly because it was full of sheep poo, but mostly because we got to hear Paul's entire repertoire of sheep jokes - there are a lot of them!
I've attached a photo of Paul and Pete tiptoeing down what will now be known as sheep **** lane, plus a photo of the raggedy-est looking sheep I have ever seen.
Hi I am David Duffin, nominated leader of our 3 Peaks challenge. It must have been something I said, because I trained on my own this weekend. Again the Purbecks was the venue and 15km of steep ups and downs ahead of me to face. I started early at about 0730 and four hours later was done (literally). Next weekend lets hope I have a full team. Perhaps it is my great jokes which I am not afraid to repeat til I get a laugh! Is this the way to London?
Another training walk had been arranged for Lulworth Cove, and we all spent the week watching the weather forecasts become increasingly bleak. So you can imagine our surprise when we arrived in Lulworth to fantastic sunshine! The Team (sadly missing Pete) had a very tiring but fun day climbing a series of steep inclines whilst discussing who were the most fanciable celebrities of the last century! We learned a lot about our fitness, how much water and nutrition we'll need on the day (none of us had eaten enough!) and who had the weirdest crush in the Eighties.