“My wonderful sister Rachel has done so much fundraising for Caring Matters Now.
She’s ran the Belfast Marathan, the London marathon, she’s jumped out of the sky… she’s much more brave than me! Where she has run two whole marathons, I have ran a leg!
Whenever the London to Paris cycle was announced as a fundraising challenge I knew it was right up Rachel’s street! I gave Rachel a ring and sure enough, she was up for it! She started training, and as she told me about it all it inspired me to do something to show her some support too! So, I planned a sponsored cycle…only mine was going to be shared out among friends, on an exercise bike in the comfort of my own living room!
Then came the pandemic. The cycle was postponed and then cancelled and the opportunity for me to do a charity cycle on an exercise with friends was also lost!
As the London to Paris cycle was cancelled, Rachel decided to register for a new challenge!
This time it was the UK 3 peaks challenge, between Friday 24th September and Sunday 26th September, Rachel would aim to summit Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Mount Snowdon in under 15 hours! What could I do to compete with this!?
Well, as it turns out, as Rachel took on the 3 peaks, I took on the o2 Arena London Teen challenge! On the same day, the two of us, sisters, would be climbing new heights to raise vital funds for Caring Matters Now!”
“The 3 National Peaks really was a physical and mental challenge!
The adventure started when I met the Global Adventures crew at Glasgow train station on Friday 24th September to make the 3hr transfer by minibus to Glen Nevis Youth Hostel, nestling at the foot of Ben Nevis. We arrived in darkness, retiring to our dorms shortly after dinner in anticipation of an early start the next day.
The group shared personal stories about how and why we each had come to be there. Stories that would motivate us all during the gruelling hours ahead!
We had a quick breakfast of croissant with jam, yoghurt and granola; before setting off at 6:00am, it was still dark. Just a taste of what was to come when hiking Scafell Pike! Within minutes, it began to rain. The first 20 minutes of our chosen route, aptly nicknamed ‘Heart Attack Hill’, was a constant and steep incline of stone steps. Again, only a taste of what was to come on Scafell Pike!
Daylight broke around 7:30am, about one third of the way through our first trek; and for the first time, we could truly appreciate the majesty of these mountains! Soon, we were in the clouds; and by 9:30am, we had climbed 4300ft to reach the summit! After a few selfies and group photos, we started the descent. Once out of cloud cover, we were rewarded with views of the mountains waterfalls and the valley below.
By 11:30am, we had completed the 9 mile trek and had made it back to the hostel. With no time to spare, we changed out of our wet clothes and hopped straight onto the minibus to begin the journey to Scafell Pike! Unfortunately, 2 group members ended their venture here as the enormity of the challenge ahead had proven too much. In fact, only 80% of the group managed to summit all 3 peaks in the allocated time!
We stopped at a service station a few hours away from the Lake District for a hot meal. Then, having lost a bit of time on the road, we arrived at Scafell Pike in the dark of night! Thankfully, the weather was fine and dry. My training on the ‘Stairmaster’ really came into its own here too; as overall, I found the ascent quite pleasant!
There were moments when I questioned whether I would have been brave enough to complete this hike in daylight, as water roared down the mountain alongside our trail and at one point, we had to cross a wide section of fast flowing water on stepping stones! Lighting the path ahead were dozens of twinkling lights, the head torches of other walkers making the climb.
We made the 3000ft summit in around 2hrs and quickly made our way back to the minibus, eager to monopolise on valuable sleeping time! At this stage, my knees were really starting to ache; but the bats who swooped past within inches of my face offered some distraction!
Overnight, we slept as much as was possible; but it was a tight squeeze with four of us sharing the back seat on the minibus! I was very grateful for the pillow one of my team mates had bought for me at Morrisons during one of our short comfort breaks. I dozed on and off; and soon it was time to stop and refuel with a ‘meal deal’ for the last time before taking on Snowdon, our third and final mountain. In the knowledge that this was the smallest ascent of all three mountains, we started out in high spirits. Blue skies and a predominantly flat path following the initial climb lulled us into a false sense of security.
Soon enough though, the heavens opened and we were using our whole body’s to scramble up the Pyg track in relentless wind and rain! The group worked hard to stay together, encouraging one another with every step, each person guiding the next as to wear to place their hands and feet as we climbed towards the summit in heavy fog. It took around two and a half hours cover to reach the 2300ft peak. When we did, we congratulated ourselves on having achieved our goal, to summit the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales. We grinned in relief; but realised that we still had the elements to endure to ensure that we all made it back off the mountain safely. On the descent, rain water rolled down the mountainside in streams. We were saturated and our feet squelched with every step as we followed the Miners track to Glaslyn lake. We were so happy to join the tarmac road on the final stretch past Llyn Llydaw and Lynn Teyrn; but this had to be the longest 7 miles I’ve ever covered!
Once back to the car park, I hurried into the Pen-y-Pass car park cafe, only to realise that my purse containing all my cash and bank cards was still on the minibus which was yet to return for us. However, one of the ladies who worked in the cafe took pity on me and gave me a hot cup of tea on the house. I could have cried with joy! When the minibus arrived we were driven to The Royal Victoria Hotel where we were presented with our medals and celebrated our efforts over a glass of bubbly, burger and chips! We had earnt it!
So far, I have raised £1150 for Caring Matters Now (CMN). I am so thankful to all the people who have sponsored me and I hope that I may have inspired others to take on their own physical and/or mental challenge I’m order to raise vital funds for CMN!”