As we left on the 3 peaks challenge I anticipated the hardest part would be for the three ladies doing the climbs. If you ask them it was, but the thought of two days with three ladies in a car for 23 hours scrutinising your driving speed and worried about how much they could complain about their aches and pains is surely worse? The gruelling 9 1/2 hour drive to Fort William didn’t go without incident as many drivers didn’t realise we were on a mission. The fabulous three ladies were Ceri, Laura and Diane and I had to get them there in time for a good nights rest. As we got to know each other on the journey we discussed the recent budget as Laura and Diane fell asleep within about an hour (11am). Diane awoke to the threat of a photo being taken and Laura shortly followed. The conversation was reserved but pleasant as we made good time up the M6 without many holdups until …. A short recess was required for Diane to deposit her breakfast on the hard shoulder. Following this as we drove past ‘welcome to Glasgow’ signs and ‘people make Glasgow ‘on an entire building Ceri asks the ultimate question, ‘where are we now?’ And yes she was serious and this set the tone for the weekend!
A relatively uneventful journey proceeded and we arrived to meet the Pembrokeshire young farmers who gave a very warm welcome. They were certainly easy to notice in the bar in true YFC fashion. The Scottish were most hospitable and were even up at 4:30 to provide a modest breakfast to the hikers. Ceri proceeded to provide me with the wrong phone number and I texted a random stranger throughout the morning until they, somewhat bemused, asked who I was? At this point, concern came over me as I had no way of contacting the group and their return was an hour later than scheduled. However, this concern did not affect my nap or the enjoyment of a full cooked breakfast in preparation for the next stage of our drive.
Upon the three returning to the car, a quick cup of tea and coffee (not for me though) set us on our way. The conversation turned more interesting as we became more comfortable with each other and coversations took place which have no place in this summary! We made swift time on our journey to Scaffell Pike (now only 30mins behind after stopping at Starbucks for a hot chocolate) and even swifter when we met Maureen’s brother, John (possibly the Stig) who led us to the mountain and started them on the next stage of their journey. Diane letting out a few shrieks as we flew (literally) down the country lanes. As he left in his BMW 530d, after starting the walkers off, I thought how this is the type of man you can only wish to one day become like. In a short time he became a role model for me as I’m sure he is for many others.
The rain came in so heavy that we were unsure whether a return from the mountain would even be possible for these three brave women. With lungs working at full capacity, legs burning and the driving rain hammering against them, they pressed forward with the quest as they knew this was for charity. Would their determination and grit carry them through or would the elements get the better of them? I decided another nap was in order for me as I was doing the most difficult part of the challenge, driving three women around the bends. Oh and I had to move certain items of women’s underclothes from my back seat before sleeping, very inconsiderate of them if you ask me.
As the alarm went off at 9:30 to get the hot water ready for their return at 10pm I felt somewhat annoyed as I was in a deep sleep. But needs must and out I stepped into the driving rain to prepare for their return. As soon as I had put the kettle on, around the corner they came having smashed the allotted time to climb the mountain. I could hardly believe my eyes as a proud feeling came over me. No time for tea, it once again looked possible that they could make it in the 24 hour time scale. How did they hike Scaffell Pike so quickly? One could only assume that it was John’s Stig like influence. Off over the lanes we set as the ladies changed from their wet clothing; my eyes focused firmly on the road.
The rain was horrendous but needs must as we pressed on at pace (to be continued….)