Gorffannef/Awst 2005 July/August

Three Peaks - The Carrogites

We reached the Pen-y-Pass car park at Snowdon by 9.30 a.m. Iwan Edwards and Barry Wilson (both allocated drivers) decided they wanted to do the climb. Glad of the support we started up the Pyg Track at 10.00 a.m. leaving the other drivers to have breakfast at the café. We had practised this route a number of times and our first target, the Style at the top of the first hard climb, was reached in 20 minutes, the second, where the Miners and Pyg tracks meet - in 55 minutes. We struggled a bit to get to the summit, but with team moral fairly high we hit the summit at 11.18 a.m. (1 hour 18 minutes)

A quick break and we started the descent at 11.28 a.m. making up time by gentle jogging down at a pace to avoid injury. On our way down we passed Team A coming up.

We completed the first peak in 2 hours 17 minutes and set off for Scafell at 12.30 p.m., starting our climb at 4.55 p.m. Iwan and Barry came with us, making the climb for the first time. However, they were forced to turn back to assist Daz and Hywel when we got news that Hywel had crashed the hire car! It turned out he had backed into a ditch whilst making room for an oncoming vehicle. Fortunately it turned out the car was undamaged.

The rest of us carried on under some strain. Even though we had done a pre-run we had not anticipated the heat and the fact that we had already walked one mountain. However, our motivation was high and we soon started climbing at a better pace.

At 6.45 p.m. (1 hour 50 minutes) we reached the summit, in slightly longer than planned, but only stopped long enough to take in the scenery and catch our breath before heading down. The terrain was very difficult to run on and needed care but the sight of the finish quickened our pace and we reached the base at 7.40 p.m., completing the second peak in 2 hours 45 minutes.

Huw had a little turn in the final descent probably due to dehydration and the lack of salt/sugar in his system. Andy had a few problems with cramp. Other than that, the team were still in good spirits.

Left the base of Scafell at 7.45 p.m. - next stop Ben Nevis.

The approach to Ben Nevis made us realise how big this peak is! We started hoping we had the stamina and reserves to get up and down.

Starting from the youth hostel at 12.25 p.m., Iwan and Barry decided once again to put their bodies through the pain barrier and walk the highest mountain in the British Isles. As it was dark and pretty cold, we had for the first time coats, and Andy and Chris put on their head torches (to look the part whilst walking in the dark). Starting at 12.37 a.m. we left the drivers Hywel and Daz to get some sleep. Considering the time it was surprisingly light, allowing us to see the route in the moonlight.

Climbing fairly quickly, we reached our first target where Huw and Barry decided on a steeper but shorter route, which went up close to the lake and back on itself. However, those of us on the longer route looked less exhausted when we met up.

We now had to start up the dreaded zig-zag’s, probably the worst part of the whole challenge. You gain false hope you are near the top but actually have a fair climb to go.

The summit was conquered at around 3.20 a.m. (2 hours 43 minutes). Because it was clear the views were spectacular, but had we been in low cloud it would have been very dangerous and you need to be aware of your bearings in case this should happen. It was very cold and after a short stay we headed down, having learned throughout the day - the longer you stop the harder it is to start again.

Chris and Barry decided to go for personal times down the mountain and ran off on their own. Andy, Dan, Iwan and Huw started making the long walk down at their own pace until Dan picked up his pace and went on ahead. For mutual encouragement the other three decided to finish the challenge together as a group. On the way down, we passed Team A ascending on the zig-zags.

It took Chris and Barry an hour to reach the bottom giving Chris a time of 18 hours 12 minutes to complete all 3 Peaks. Dan completed the challenge in 18 hours 58 minutes

As a group, it is only right we base the final time of all crossing the finishing line. This was 19 hours 40 minutes.

Team A finished a couple of hours after us but in a respectable time of 20 hours 58 minutes, down by 1 hour 15 minutes from 5 years ago.

Fort William after the Three Peaks

Both teams enjoy hard earned glasses of lemonade in Fort William

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