Last weekend, the Lime Team took on the National 3 Peaks Challenge. For those of you not familiar with the challenge, in short, it is to get up and down the highest mountain in Scotland (Ben Nevis), England (Scafell Pike) and Wales (Snowdon) within 24 hours. The odds seemed to be stacked against us – extreme weather warnings, a reoccurring case of gout…, the loss of Dom our designated driver and a general lack of fitness…Nonetheless, the self-proclaimed A team decided to go ahead roping in our very own “Howling Mad” Murdoch aka Annie Redding as our last minute replacement driver. Leaving the office slightly later than planned, we had an ETA of 3am in Fort William – those of you that know Annie will recognise we were playing to our strengths…We picked up a Burger King on the way, renowned for fuelling for elite athletes and continued apprehensively up to Scotland through torrential rain.
Luckily when we woke up Saturday morning, the weather seemed to have cleared boosting team morale. We had a big breakfast/lunch in Wetherspoons to set us up for the next 24 hours and then spent an hour traipsing round the mountaineering shops of Fort William looking for the perfect pair of gloves for ‘all the gear, no idea’ Paul. The only thing left to do before setting off was to take a razor to Kuba’s head having reached our £1000 sponsorship target – his new look has been likened to Gru, Dr Evil, Uncle Fester…
We started Ben Nevis at 4.22pm in high spirits. The views were absolutely breath-taking and we made steady progress for the first couple of hours. At about half way up, we decided to split the team in order to have a chance of completing the challenge inside 24 hours. Chris, Emma and Kuba continued for the snow-capped summit, while Monique and Paul continued to climb in a more leisurely manner. We completed Ben Nevis in 4hr 53 mins, a little tight on time but still on schedule. Back at the bus Annie had the dinner of champions ready for us: take-out pizza! It was then over to Annie to put her foot to the floor and get us to Scafell Pike as quickly as possible!
The road to Scafell Pike was somewhat sketchy in places…flying down single track lanes at 2am in the morning, relentless heavy rain, thick fog, extreme sleep deprivation, ‘shifty sheep’ and the thought of climbing the highest mountain in England at 3am all made for a very surreal experience. Our timings were scuppered slightly by a blip with the SatNav, temporarily losing our location which resulted in a 15 minute detour. We set off for Scafell Pike at 3.15am. Slightly disorientated we headed off in the wrong direction…it was at this point Paul decided it was ‘not for him’ and headed back for the bus. He was shortly joined by Monique, who unfortunately twisted her knee, also taking her out of the game. Again, Chris, Emma and Kuba headed for the summit in what can only be described as the most horrific experience; barely able to see where we were going, driving winds and hail, low on energy and soaked to the skin. We completed Scafell at 7.45am, however, we were now an hour behind schedule and any hope of completing the challenge within 24 hours was diminishing rapidly.
Annie did a fantastic job of red-lining it to Snowdon but with only 3 and a half hours to complete the final peak we were up against it. It was decided that Chris would try to run it in order to get us over the finish line within the 24 hours and Emma and Kuba would just get up and down as quickly as they could. Chris unbelievably managed to get up and down in 2 hours 19 minutes, completing the challenge in a very impressive 22 hours 57 minutes. Emma and Kuba, not wanting to break a habit of a lifetime of leaving things to the wire, got over the line in a very credible 24 hours, 10 minutes. Reunited, it was time for a few drinks, some good food and finally a decent night’s sleep. Many thanks to all of you who have followed us on our journey over the past few months and sponsored us. We have now raised a total of £1,051.40 – thank-you!!!