When taking on the three peaks, don’t let anyone tell you that preparation isn't everything. Weeks of training, progression of fitness, suitable kit and accommodation are just a handful of things that MUST be done. Everyone approaches the Three Peaks Challenge differently, here are just two approaches.
Jason Cartwright is a graphic designer at Regatta HQ. His motivation for completing the challenge was to raise as much money as possible for Pumping Marvellous, a charity close to his heart.
James Shell is your everyday adventurer who set about the challenge with a group of friends, again to raise money for a child abuse charity and autism charity.
My alarm goes off at 5am - today’s the day. All the preparation, training and fundraising has come down to this. The National Three Peaks Challenge. My girlfriend, Helen, and I frantically ran around making sure we had all the essentials; extra clothes, spare socks and wine gums.
It was a Thursday morning and we (a group of six friends) were getting ready for the long journey north from Portsmouth to Fort William. We had packed everything we needed, including every bit of clothing Regatta had given us! It took around 10 hours to drive and we finally got there after a few pit stops on the way for food and rest breaks!
Starting a little behind schedule at 1:30pm we set off to the sounds of bagpipes. Unsurprisingly, the sound seemed to scare the clouds away, causing us to be exposed to the burning sun. The trail is full of people raising money for various charities - we even witnessed a group fundraising for Macmillan carrying a bath down (I’m still unsure how they managed to get it up there). When we let them past, yes they were going quicker than us… we offered them a few encouraging words to keep them motivated.
At around three quarters of the way up, we were met with snow/ice for approximately 300m of climbing. The snow was slippy going up but great fun on the return leg with trying to slide down. When we reached the summit, the temperature had fallen dramatically. This is where Regatta’s wind stoppers and waterproofs came in very handy, keeping us warm and snug. Coming down was surprising a lot easier than the journey up. When we arrived back, the Pumping Marvellous team had pasta ready for us all, which was desperately needed, and then back into the minivan - to Scafell!
At 7am sharp, I put on all my Regatta trousers, t-shirt, socks and boots and put my jacket in the bag which was also provided by Regatta! As we walked up we were taking in the sights, the comments of encouragement from fellow three peakers about our matching Regatta attire really spurred us on. At the summit of Ben Nevis, which we reached in just under two and a half hours, the fog came in fast and the temperature dropped quickly so it was time to get the jackets out! There was still snow on the floor and the boots gripped well through it. The jackets got rid of the wind chill and made the last bit of the climb a lot easier. We jogged down, making use of the bags with waist straps, before hitting the road for the six hour drive to Scaffel Pike. Unfortunately on the way down we lost half of our team due to an injury so by the time we reached the cars we are down to just the three of us.
We got what little sleep we could on the journey, though it wasn’t anywhere near enough, and ascended up Scafell Pike in the pitch black with nothing but head lights to guide us. The path up Scafell was steep, even steeper once the sun had risen and we looked down! We eventually made it to the top just as the sun was starting to rise but we couldn't hang around to watch. We quickly took our group picture at the peak and headed back down for our well-needed scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. The end was in sight – not literally!
The drive to Scaffel Pike was not easy on the legs, which were slowly seizing up but after a few energy drinks and some carb overloading, it was time to be back on our feet and moving again. We were warned this was to be the smallest mountain to climb but hardest terrain to cover. The lightweight boots had no problems keeping grip and still no sign of blisters, the Regatta anti blister socks were holding out. The heat was our enemy on this mountain; however the bags had a great ventilation system reducing the amount of sweat.We got to the top in a good time and we did the same routine, take in views and get some pictures then straight back down. 2 hours 58 minutes to complete mountain number two.
At the base of Snowdon, we were all exhausted from yet again no sleep. We were warned before the challenge by a family friend, “Don’t think because Snowdon isn’t the biggest that it’s the easiest. This is a myth!” Unfortunately for us, this advice was spot on. A combination of the sweltering heat, blisters and exhaustion - we struggled our way up Snowdon. As I have already mentioned, we had enough winegums to give us a quick energy boost when we were all feeling fatigued. When we finally got to the top, the view and the feeling of relief that you had conquered the three peaks was unbelievable. We stood for a few minutes and took in the view from the top, which was spectacular, before heading back down to the mini bus to head home.
The path going down seemed to be never ending but we finally made it back to the mini-van, drowned ourselves in water and then began our journey back to the North West.
Upon arriving at Snowdon, the weather was so bad that we sat around for half an hour hoping the wind would calm down. The start was different this time as it was still dark but we moved forward with good progress. The ever changing climate meant we were making the most of our zip off trousers – a handy thing to be able to do. We stayed up the top of Snowdon a while longer than the other two, and what a great feeling! We took a nice walk down and took in all the great sights. We finished the challenge in 22 hours 31 mins. I felt great and proud of my achievement and I was shocked at how good my body felt! I thought I was going to be a broken man but the pain was to a minimal, thanks in part to Regatta. Roughly 26 miles covered and to not have and blisters, I am impressed! It’s safe to say I will be using Regatta again.