The eagerly anticipated National Three Peaks Challenge in aid of Demelza and LinkAble took place on 16 June 2018. The Playles team, including members of the wider supply chain (John Farrer from Orbis, Jackie Baxter from RSP, Andrew Fenning from Chartwell Land & New Homes Ltd and Jackie Turner from Wilmott Dixon), journey began at 1pm on Friday with a flight from Gatwick to Inverness. After a much needed dinner in Nandos and a Tescos stop to stock up on essentials, the team continued up to their overnight accommodation in Fort William. After food prep for the next 24 hours had taken place the team went to bed for some much needed rest for the day ahead.
Let The Challenge Commence!
The first pick-up of the day was at 7am from the lodges. After singing along to a fantastic hiking themed playlist, which included the likes of ’Aint No Mountain High Enough’ and ‘I Would Walk 500 Miles,’ prepared by our drivers and Amy, we were ready to take on Ben Nevis at 8am sharp. Kitted out and in our buddy groups, the team looked positive just like the weather. With a mild incline to start, Ben seemed to be our friend and we found ourselves comparing it to the likes of Box Hill. Oh how wrong we were! The altering terrain, fast paced weather conditions and sudden steepness took many by surprise and we soon realised that we were going to take longer than planned to beat Ben.
Strong winds, driving rain, freezing temperatures and poor visibility hampered our efforts as we reached the summit but the first team managed to achieve it in 3 hours 5 minutes. On the descent, most of the team got caught in the heavy rain and many looked like they had taken a shower with their clothes on! Everyone had fully descended and was back on the buses by 4pm.
Despite our best efforts, we arrived at the base of our next mountain Scafell Pike, at nightfall. Assessing the safety element, the decision was made not to climb Scafell and to move onto Snowdon. After a long 6 hour drive, we arrived at Snowdon at 6am. Most people’s clothes had dried out by then and we began hiking up the Miners Path at 6.15am. A quicker yet steeper path, the track was in places very difficult with the team having to clamber up almost vertical faces of slate-like rock. Visibility was again pretty poor with strong winds close to the top. The first group successfully managed to reach the summit by 8.30am and descend by 10.45am. Unfortunately there were some injuries along the way in other buddy groups and some members had to take the train down the mountain. Others took the wrong track back down the mountain due to poor visibility.
As with most outdoor activities in the UK, we were at the mercy of the British weather. Despite its best efforts, the spirits of the team remained intact knowing the money raised was going to make a huge difference to our chosen two charities. Donations continue to roll in with the total at £7,143 and £8,342.50 including gift aid. We have now presented cheques to the charities with the amounts split equally.
Training Walks – Fun Had Preparing
These include visits to the North Downs, Knole Park, Trosley Country Park and Box Hill.
Thank you to everyone that has supported us along the way!