In December last year I went to the Aiming 4 Excellence Conference with Grace Penney from Interserve. In one of our conversations, we discussed what a good thing it would be to do a Three Peaks Challenge, as a fundraiser for The Well. But really it was just a conversation . . .
In February of this year I met up with Grace again, and the subject of the Three Peaks came up. As we talked about it, we came to the conclusion that really we didn’t need to the formal Three Peaks (the highest peaks in Scotland, England & Wales), but we could just make up our own Three Peaks. By the end of our walk together we had a whole plan. We would do Ben Nevis, The Cobbler and Ben Lomond in under 24 hours! Three Peaks virtually from Sea Level. I wasn’t very brave, I didn’t tell anyone what we were planning – after all there was just the minor detail of me having to get fit in time to complete the challenge!
The first step on the journey to fitness was to . . . . no not join a gym, nor go swimming – it was to get a dog! I knew if I had a dog, I would have to go out every day rain, hail or shine. So one week later Tazi came into our lives & the training began.
At the end of March Grace, and her dog Jess, along with Tazi and I headed to The Cobbler . My first proper Scottish hill in many years. I was relieved to put in a respectable time of completing the hill in 4 &1/2 hours. At the end I asked Grace to be honest, did she think that I could be fit enough by July to be able to do this. She had no doubt that it was definitely possible.
And so I went public! I put it into our newsletter, and started to tell people, and to a man the reaction was the same: “Wow, that’s some challenge!” As jaws dropped & eyebrows were raised!
Since that day I’ve spent many more days in the hills – about half of them in glorious sunshine – the rest? Well let’s just say I’m very thankful for Gortex!!!
Three weeks ago Grace & I had our next big challenge. Two peaks in one day. We started The Cobbler at 9.30 am, and as we neared the bottom at about 12.30, we met a group heading up. “Oh you guys must have had an early start” they said “what are you going to do for the rest of day?” “Climb Ben Lomond” says Grace. If only I’d had a camera! The expression on their faces was priceless!
We were off The Cobbler at 1.00 and drove to Ben Lomond. Just as we arrived at Rowardennan it is no exaggeration to say the heavens opened! Thunder, Lightening, Hailstones – we had the lot! Only the totally mad would even consider getting out of the car in such conditions – never mind climb a mountain!
At the top we met a solitary Polish guy, he had never climbed Ben Lomond before (indeed his attire & the contents of his day sack suggested he had never climbed anywhere before!) He asked us “What is the view like from here?”
Grace decided she wanted us to complete Ben Lomond in 4 hours, so any time I went into plodding mode, I was jivvied along, and with Grace’s encouragement we did Ben Lomond in 3 & 3/4 hours – a PB for me, and not bad at all considering we had already climbed The Cobbler that morning. The two dogs probably climbed at least 4 hills that day. So from the start of The Cobbler to the bottom of Ben Lomond it took us just a little over 9 hours, and that includes a very slow drive between the two mountains. For me the most amazing thing was was that I wasn’t really tired, and hardly sore at all.
But since that day, due to other commitments and the inclement weather (have you seen the torrential rain and the 100mph winds?) I’ve hardly got out at all. That will have to change very soon!
I am so encouraged and delighted by the sponsorship that has already come in. It’s unfortunate that due to timing of The Well becoming an independent charity, that we’ve not been able to set up direct giving through the website, but don’t let that stop you! We still accept cash and cheques:-)