What could tempt you out of bed at 4:30 in the morning?
How about climbing to the top of the three highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales, all within 24 hours? For most, just the thought of this is exhausting, however, for Team Aerial Direct, they’ve been there, done that and got the (somewhat sweaty) t-shirt. All this in the name of charity.
The idea for this challenge was conceived back in April by Moon Wai Tai, Sales Manager for Aerial Direct. Ten willing and enthusiastic volunteers were rounded up and Team Aerial Directs 24 Hour 3 Peaks Challenge became a reality.
Training began in May with a lot of hard graft and tough slogging around the 20km multi-terrain course which starts at Lulworth Cove and is aptly named the ‘Roller Coaster’. Considering it’s a training course used by the Royal Marines, the team still managed to complete the course four times, in under four hours, which according to one ex-Marine is “cracking”.
When the Team were taking a break from walking along the Dorset coastline, they could be found climbing their local training ground, Butser Hill, out running, cycling, swimming, or hitting the gym. Collectively the team lost more than 4 stone between them!
With the prospect of a cumulative 42km walk ahead of them and an altitude of almost 10,000 feet to climb, it was a very excited, but somewhat nervous team who gathered in the hotel lobby on the morning of the Challenge.
Peak One – Ben Nevis – 2.30pm
Having stocked up on food and drink the team briefing took place at the base of Ben Nevis and the Challenge began at 2.30pm. Ben Nevis is the tallest of the 3 peaks and saw the team tackle some hard, steep climbs from the outset. The rain, which had been on and off all day, began falling heavily. As they neared the peak, the wind started to pick up and on the last leg of the climb the team had to cross an area of snow and ice! They finally made it to the peak, but there was no time to stop and celebrate. One quick photo later and the guys were on their way back down the mountain. After a 5 hour battle against the elements the team were straight back into the minibus and on their way to the next peak.
Peak Two – Scafell Pike – 2am
After a 5-hour drive from Ben Nevis to Scafell Pike; during which time the team changed clothes, ate their dinner and had a sleep, the 20 minute warning was given to the team to get their gear back on ready for the next climb.
Head torches on, the team were then back out of the minibus into the pitch black. The days rainfall made for tough, wet conditions and the team found themselves wading through streams and waterfalls up the steep side of Scafell Pike. The team reached the summit just as the sun came up, but again there was no time to relax. Another quick photo and it was back down the mountain. The team completed the climb in an admirable, 3 hours and 56 minutes.
Peak Three – Snowdon – 11am
The final peak! Running on empty with just a few hours’ sleep, the team made their way up the notorious “Pig Path”. At the very start of the climb, a weather warning sign read “Heavy rain and winds of up to 70mph.” Despite this, the team pulled together and kept going. They found themselves scaling the side of the mountain and even rock-climbing at times. With poor visibility and winds that were pushing them off their feet, the team later said this was the one of the hardest parts of the whole challenge.
Snowdon threw everything at them: rain, wind, hail and fog, but at 1pm the team made it to the summit. Mission complete! 3 mountains completed in under 24 hours, covering a total of 42km. After a team photo the team made their way back down for some well-deserved celebrations in a local hotel.
To show your support for the incredible efforts shown by Rob Ackroyd, David Ainslie, James Auger, Sarah Blake, Ross Deck, Daisy Gunner, Luke Hilliard, Simon Mason, Moon Wai Tai and Ryan Webb by donating to a very worthwhile cause, Rays of Sunshine.
You can donate at Aerial Direct’s JustGiving page or visit Rays of Sunshine’s website.
Banner image by Nilfanion on wikimedia and reproduced under Creative Commons 3.0