Ahhhh!! I think I’m underestimating this….. ‘courage over comfort…..’ Brene Brown
So I decided to add the 3 Peaks 24 hr Challenge to my Charity Triple Challenge literally last minute. I have not climbed a mountain since my Gold Duke of Edinburgh (& that is a ‘wee’ while ago…) and that was only 1, with some sleep.
Sure it’s madness, yet I really, wanted to raise the £350 outstanding for Encephalitis Society (we have smashed this now, but you can still donate here) which have given, and continue to give me and so many others much support. This will cover one person to attend their annual weekend retreat for hope and support, plus 6 hours telephone advice and support for individuals and those closely affected.
I’ve always thought I would love to do the 3 Peaks at somepoint in my life…. but didn’t expect to book and leave within24hrs! (I didn’t tell the man in Snow & Rock the Salomon boots were travelling up the mountains tomorrow…. !). I found a little company called Adventurous Ewe who have a space due to someone dropping out, so I figured it was meant to be…?! I worked out, although not walking training, from the marathon & Tour de Yorkshire I should have the stamina and strength, but could i cope…?? I embraced the fear, smashed my Money Pot savings to pay, and thought, let’s give this go….
Taking action, giving back to others & moving often shifts things, giving courage and clarity for growth…. so that’s what i am going to do, eek (after Rhodes Marathon I’m especially nervous & don’t trust my body fully again). However, having just been awarded the NLP Awards Public Service and Community Award it feels right to finish the fundraising target I set out to achieve, and celebrate this & the Bristol Sports ‘Hall of Fame’ – both of which help others have the courage to dare to dream and do the impossible!
The start of my challenge was flying up to Scotland and staying one lovely evening with my Mum in Comrie, peaceful, quiet and the best way to energise before the challenge. She then kindly drove me up to Fort William to meet the group, to start the climb at 4pm Saturday.
As we drove up the reality set in….. I had no idea how my neurology will cope with the lack of sleep, darkness, descending balance wise, travelling in a car…. I tend to ‘avoid’ these things… never mind the actual climb of three mountains…. we’ve agreed medically I may miss Scafell, but see how things unfold. The mind ninja mental strength plan was done in my Chroma Stationery notebook, models of excellence set for this challenge were, Martin Hartley, Levison Woods, Kelly Proctor (who I met doing the Tetbury Wool Sack Races!) & Gethin Jones. A large volume of snacks and electrolytes ready…..
The group was 4 Scottish girls, 2 work colleagues from Birmingham, our guide and driver. All seemed pretty relaxed…. so with factor 50 sunblock, a vest and 2 litres of water Ben Nevis loomed. Now, climbing in Scotland at 28 degrees is quite unusual I think, especially at 4pm in the afternoon. My thermal leggings were a little over the top perhaps?
There’s something meditative about walking, in peace up a mountain I find. It’s amazing how the time passes and you gentle wind your way up. We passed many other people, dogs in rucksacks and sheep, the last hour was spent trekking through melting snow, still in my vest top! I loved climbing Ben Nevis, I felt full of energy (powered by plenty of food!) and Summit was incredible, just Gail and I to savor the views and moment. Descending, Gail was like a mountain goat, zipping down the mountain side, yet I found my balance and neurology was starting to fade, so it felt like a never ending path… with more food consumed… I know! At the base we discovered one of the group had severe heat stroke, which was such a shame. Yet reminded me, wherever you are in the World, you must respect the weather, the mountains (challenge) and adapt to the conditions to ‘succeed’. We completed Ben Nevis in 4.hrs 46 mins and I was totally pooped…. with no idea how the next peak would happen!!
Stopping off to get some more food (!) we travelled from 9pm to 3am, with one night food stop (!) to Scafell. This was undoubtedly for me like another mountain. I have not been in a car for more than an hour or so for 5 years as the motion really aggravated my neurology. Arriving I didn’t feel great but had an instinct the quiet walking would help settle things, if I could get my balance in the dark!
Around 3.30am we set off…. Scafell maybe the smallest mountain of the three, but it should be respect the most I think!! Maybe it was because of my balance, the darkness and the ridiculously high winds which battered us the whole way… or maybe it’s the mountain, but it challenged us so much. It’s never ending big rocks, little rocks like marbles, and then that wind. The irony of this writing is not lost, as a local fell runner skipped up the mountain three times (yes 3!) whilst we did it once, merrily saying he left his common sense at the top. For me this is all about perspective. What one person believes in hard, is another person’s easy. I love to see what’s possible, as it means it is possible for us too, if we want to commit the time, energy and have the patience to try…
Scafell Pike was done in 3 hrs 17 mins, we were blessed with the most beautiful sunrise, yet only lasted a few minutes with the crazy strong wind. My ankles, knees & brain were totally done after this climb. I was exhausted, yet happy. When Gail, Susan & I returned to the bus, our driver Andy was still asleep and the lady with heat stroke still very unwell, our guide returned feeling unwell too, so it was a case of look after everyone and never underestimate the challenge.
We set of on route to Snowdon ……. not sure what was possible this time due to electrical storms being forecast and this is a complete no, no to climbing. Although exhausted, we all felt determined to give it a go. Arriving in Snowdonia (after more food…. seriously!) ….the weather gods were going to make us wait to try and climb Peak 3. Our guided time had ended (yet still advising) & later would be a solo climb, which is considered fine on the easier routes. I had eaten enough to climb it three times I think (!), pausing to wait out the storm, trusting my instinct and the advice, the 4 girls and I debated the best plan. The rain lashed down with flashes of lightening, our original plan of 4pm was not going to happen, so plan C was get ready at 2.30am start to give it a go before our trains home!
I felt incredibly lucky…. waiting out the electric storm we set off to Summit Snowdon at 3.30am, the moon was setting. I think our bodies are amazing, adrenal and determination is crazy. If you had said this is what we were going to end up doing, I would never have signed up or thought it was possible to achieve. Yet when you are in something, focus takes over. The calm after the storm was so very true. It was simple one of the most beautiful mornings, if incredibly humid. By 4am we were in t shirts, marching up the hill, the moon on one side, and the sun rising on the other. After a couple of hours I did question if I could do it, drawing on all my mental skills and models of excellence, I took a deep breathe, ate some more (!) and powered on up.
Words can’t describe the Summit of Snowdon. It was breathtakingly beautiful, totally quiet, and the views stretched for miles. We were literally above the clouds. The photos we captured feel like the biggest gift and memory from one incredible weekend. And something I can share with everyone to give hope, and happiness. The awesome 4 Scottish girls who so kindly welcomed into their group are just the best, and as a Team we completed Snowdon in 3hrs55mins. 3 Peaks in 22hrs 17mins done!!
Descending, we of course were back in time for breakfast at 7am, more food I know…!! It was a damn fine breakfast though, and watermelon was piled high! Taking a moment in my hotel room, I couldn’t believe I had done it. And the incredible support, donations and happiness from everyone is truly humbling.
Here’s the some fun facts about the challenge….
Ben Nevis 4pm Saturday: 4hrs 45mins
Scafell Pike 3.50am Sun: 3hrs 17mins
Snowdon 3.30am Monday: 3hrs 55mins
Travel drive time: 11hours
Electrical storm compulsory pause
Total time approx: 22hrs 17mins
Total sleep from Sat 8am -Mon 9pm = 5hrs
Approx stairs climbed: 12,100
Approx energy burned: 11,500kcal
Random refuel food I don’t usually eat but powered me up & may intrigue you – marmite cheese panini, kettle big bag crisps, oats and dark chocolate, mushrooms, marmite and local bread, along with a whole load of other things…. no energy deficit for me!
My other two events completed for charity within 4 weeks were:
Tour de Yorkshire – 112km on my bike
Rhodes Marathon – 26.2miles and a stop in hospital with my heart
Self funded by smashing my holiday savings pot
The end of this challenges marks 5 years to the weekend since contacting weils and post viral encephalitis, many simple things I still can’t do yet…. yet grateful for all I can, embrace fear…
I just want to say THANK YOUUU for the most amazing support for my Triple Charity Challenge, I can’t thank you enough. 3 peaks challenge was a last minute idea to reach my fundraising total for the Encephalitis Society…. I honestly had no idea if I could do it, I bought my boots Thursday, and flew up Friday…. but we’ve smashed the target, yesssss!! Thank youuuu, thank you.
It challenged me beyond belief, yet I feel incredibly lucky to have achieved it, and had such beautiful summit weather. Sharing the photos I hope it brings you hope, courage, happiness and belief that YOU can do amazing things & believe in yourself, it may just take time, patience and support. If I can help you in anyway, tiny or big just pop me a message, I would love to support you.
I’ve made it home, it’s a week on and I still can’t believe it unless I look at the photos. I feel incredibly lucky in many ways. I’ve been filled with fear many times this month, yet 100% having courage with the fear to take action, for action shifts fear with self care and awareness.
Thank YOU from the very center of my heart to each and every one of you…. and especially the wonderful people I have met with each challenge who have supported, cared & achieved themselves, true inspirations and random acts of kindness.
I’ll stop my rambles now, I hope June is joyful and courageous for you and if I can help YOU take a leap of faith and action, it would be my pleasure, pop me an email.
Sending all my support and thanks, Kim
Ps. What’s next people are asking – I literally have no idea (well Book 2, my podcast development and a couple of ideas of course…. ) but I’m always open to suggestions…..
Kit and Products I used and recommend personally:
Adventurous Ewe for letting me leap on last minute
Optimum Nutrition for exceptional fuelling and recovery – I used BCAAs Pro, Protein Flapjacks, Plant Protein (order from US currently, it’s amazing) and ZMA’s.
Sweaty Betty for my Run, Bike, Walk Performance Kit
Shock Absorber for my Run & Impact Bra’s
Salomon Walking Boots – the Best!
Energy Bars – Clif, Chia Charge, Bounce, Pulsin
Hydration – Nuun and Sambucol