After months of training running up and down Pen y Fan and various other hills Wednesday arrived, the day we were setting off to Fort William 440 miles to our bunk house. We set off from Tom’s. The trip was good we were all in good spirits we had a few issues with the mini bus but all was ok.
Arrived at the bunk house which I was dreading as I had been warned that they weren’t the best places to stay and the showers were shared by a lot of people and not very nice !!! So when we arrived we had a massive surprise it was immaculate Sue D and I shared a room with ensuite bathroom !! So far so good !
Next day, Thursday, we went to Fort William to register and for the pre race meeting and pick up our new team member, Pumpkin.
The sun was shining with not a cloud in the sky; it was very hot, we seemed to spend most of the day eating and drinking, I was advised to eat as much as I could ready for the climb.
Finally feeling very apprehensive we headed to the start where a guy was playing the bagpipes. Finally it was our turn to set off loaded down with our back packs. Tom took the lead and off we went at a steady run. Our ascent of Ben Nevis had begun: this was 18:40 and it was still extremely hot !!
Someone later said it was over 30 degrees when we started running.
The path got steeper so our pace changed to a fast walk and steady run when the path levelled. I was hoping it would cool down the higher we went but it didn’t seem to make any difference; we went round the side of the first climb and into some much appreciated shade, but not for long. The path then heads on to flatter area and back into the sun, then up and up it went, it was still very hot, it seemed to go on forever. I kept drinking as I was worried about becoming dehydrated in the heat. Tom said we would go through the snow field before we reached the top , I honestly thought no chance in this heat !!! But I was wrong, we slid through the snow then up a bit further to the summit of Ben Nevis, the view was absolutely amazing, I was so excited and elated to have made it, I took a few photos and just took the views in, then all we had to do was get back down ; the downward journey, as you can imagine, was much quicker, I kept telling myself that I had done the hardest, longest climb, so Scafell Pike should be much quicker.
When we got down our fabulous drivers, Darren and Andy, had the kettle on so we all had a hot drink, (although it still wasn’t cold) quick change of clothes and onto the mini bus for the next stage , after a bite to eat I fell asleep and slept for a couple of hours; it was about a 6 hour drive to Scafell Pike. It was about 5am, so much cooler when we started our climb, although it’s the lowest of the three mountains it’s a steep, relentless climb. We were all in good spirits and seemed to reach the summit quite quickly; another beautiful clear view, there is a large stone structure summit cairn at the top and I have since found out that the summit of Scafell Pike is also England’s highest war memorial.
Then a run/ walk back down, we seemed to be back in the mini bus and off again in no time, I started to tell myself I can do this ! Only Snowdon to go, and I’ve been up Snowdon a couple of times before, whereas with Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike it was the Unknown for me.
5 hours to Snowdon then about two miles from Pen y Pass where the Pyg Track starts (the route we were taking) disaster struck – the mini bus ran out of fuel !
I couldn’t believe it, all I could think was all that training, two mountains completed: there was no way I wasn’t going to finish this ! So backpack on, I just remember saying: come on, we’ll have to walk, we’re going to finish this!
Off we set up the hill to Pen y Pass which was about 2 miles away; it was even hotter than the day before. A taxi went past, I tried to flag it down, but he kept going then a mini bus was coming down after dropping its team off. We all jumped up and down waving and shouting, Sue D was in the road. He stopped, so we all went running over and piled in. Luckily he was happy to drive us to the top then go back to take our drivers to get fuel ! When we got on the mini bus we were so grateful. I realised how far we would have to have run/walked to the start of the Pyg Track all along a busy road with no path in the scorching heat I’m not sure we would then have made it up Snowdon.
So thank you to the Snow an Ice mini bus driver for coming to our rescue
We set off up the Pyg Trail. It was now Lunch time on Friday and very hot but this was the final mountain. I felt so excited and just wanted to get to the top asap. I felt completely energised with adrenalin, I think, just before the top we had to have a kit check to make sure we were carrying all that we should be, then for the final push. Up the final steep path and on to the top, then along to the cafe and the finish.
We’d done it!!!
What a brilliant feeling !! I didn’t feel tired, just thrilled and excited that we had all made it
it was an amazing experience, with a great team Gary Gunner, Ian Price, Tom Davies, Flora Gunner, Mark Paviour, Sue Davies and our drivers, Darren Lincoln and Andy Tipton (What happened to Pumpkin?)
Would I do it again ? YES YES YES
We did it in just over 19 hours so received a Gold medal, Also first over 50’s team and the oldest team on the mountain !!!