Mark and Team in the Three Peaks Challenge!

29 June 2014

Company News Special Events

Mark and Team climbed every mountain in the Three Peaks Challenge!

We have been closely following the training programme and preparation of Mark (our Business Development Manager) and his fellow Three Peaks Challenge team in the run-up to their big adventure this month.  Read more about what the challenge involves, and Mark’s preparations, here.

We are delighted to say that they completed their epic hike encompassing climbing the highest mountains in England (Scafell Pike), Wales (Snowdon) and Ben Nevis (Scotland) over 1st and 2nd June in 24 hours and 50 minutes.

It was undoubtedly a physically and mentally draining experience that pushed all of the 4 strong group (plus driver!) to their limits, but they all completed the trio of mountains without any serious injuries, and felt a massive sense of achievement afterwards.

Here’s how they did themselves proud on their epic endurance and fitness trial, in Mark’s own words:

3.30pm Start at Ben Nevis Scotland after a 12 hour road trip.  This climb was by far the toughest, and certainly opened our eyes to the magnitude of the task.  It also cast severe doubt in our minds about whether we had it in us to do this. The last 500 metres involved us walking through 2ft deep snow, however, with the use of a GPS device we made our way to the summit in 3 hours and 30 minutes.  Not bad going considering the average time is around 4 hours.  The descent was welcomed, but to say it was easy is a huge understatement.  On our way up, we came across another group, who were dealing with a colleague who slipped on the scree on their way down and had badly broken their ankle.  We reached the minibus at 10.10 pm and were welcomed by a swarm of midges that managed to bite us to death before we got on the bus for our long achey drive to Scafell. Completed in 6 hours 10 minutes.

2am Scafell Pike, The Lake District.  We had made up some time on the 300 mile drive down from Ben Nevis.  However, we had to deal with walking the first part of Scafell in total darkness, apart from head torches.  This was something we tried to avoid.  Our nerves were eased when another group attempting the Three Peaks Challenge appeared in the car park and said they had climbed Scafell several times before and would help guide us.  So we set off at 2.15am, at about 2.30am the heavens opened and the path soon turned into a waterfall, making it a lot harder as the path became slippery and wet.  We managed to climb Scafell in 2 hours and 30 minutes and were treated to sunrise whilst at the top.  Due to the conditions, the descent was made even harder as the path had become treacherous.  I believe all four of us fell over at least three times on the way down.  We completed the descent in 2 hours and 15 minutes – 45 minutes longer than it would take in dry conditions.  So, at 7am we got back into the bus and set off for the last one. Completed in 5 hours.

11.45am Snowdon.  We arrived at Snowdon in good time, considering we hit rush-hour traffic around Manchester and Liverpool.  The journey took us 4 hours and 45 minutes.  We arrived shattered but determined at Snowdon and the path up was clear of any low-lying cloud, so this raised our spirits as we trundled our way up the last mountain.  We managed the climb in 2 hours and were feeling a massive sense of achievement that we had climbed all three.  All we had to do now was get down the last 5 miles and head to the pub.  At this point, we had 1.45 hours to get down, and keep within our 24 hour target. This was still possible, but we had underestimated how tired we all were and the descent actually took 2 hours and 35 minutes.

The total time taken to climb all three mountains was 24hours and 50 minutes – not bad, considering the impact of the snow at Ben Nevis and the inclement weather on Scafell.  The first pint in the post-climb pub has to be the best pint I have ever tasted!

If you are considering emulating Mark’s achievements, Mark has compiled a list of essential items to take with you to keep you safe and well to complete the task.

It is clearly not a feat to be taken lightly, and it is essential to practise walking on uneven terrain and to have a good general level of fitness. You do have to be committed enough to train regularly in all weather conditions over a prolonged period of time.  Here is a training guide to aid you in your preparations.

Carried by each person in their backpack:

  • Maps
  • Compass
  • Gloves
  • Hat (covering ears)
  • Waterproofs
  • Backpack raincover
  • Mobile phone
  • Spare socks
  • Blister plasters
  • First aid kit including anti inflammatory and pain killers
  • Sunglasses
  • Head torch
  • Camera
  • Spare batteries
  • Survival blanket
  • At least 2 litres of water per mountain
  • Food-wise:  muesli bars, chocolate, jelly babies, bananas- we did have a phrase we used, if it’s good enough for Andy Murray then it must work!
  • Optional: GPS device. This did come to our aid on both Ben Nevis and Scafell when the visibility was very poor.
  • Optional – long range walkie talkies. We left one with the driver so we could easy call him to let him know (A) how we were doing and (B) when we were less than 45 minutes away from the van so he could get the kettle on the camp stove we took and also get the pasta dinner ready at Ben Nevis and the porridge with golden syrup ready at Scafell.

A great motivational factor in Mark and co’s determination to complete the challenge was to raise sponsorship money for the team’s chosen charity.

The charity that benefitted from their perseverance and resilience was Friends of Sussex Hospices, who raise funds to support the running costs of the 12 hospice care providers that serve the adults and children of Sussex.  The team smashed their target and raised over £2,000 for this very worthy cause.

Far from retiring from extreme challenges, he has now set his sights on some new events to get stuck into.  He is considering doing the River Rat Race in London – a 10k aquatic obstacle race including a 20ft dock jump, kayaking and a variety of obstacles and also the London to Brighton bike ride.

We will keep you updated with his latest adrenaline-fuelled extreme adventures, and share any amusing photos!

Well done to Mark and all of the intrepid team, a real achievement to be proud of:

“Three peaks done and I’m also totally done in, however the best thing I have ever done and shared with special people.”

If you are planning to enjoy any sporting or adventurous activities whilst away from the UK – it could be elephant trekking, a bungee jump, scuba diving or anything from our long list of options: see our Activity Packs here, then we cover many activities for free when you take out one of our policies. There is an additional charge for riskier pursuits, but this allows you to enjoy your chosen activity safe in the knowledge that you are covered for emergency medical care that is needed whilst you are doing the activity.

Get in touch if you have any queries about the benefits of any of our policies, our Activity packs or anything related to your travel insurance needs.

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