3 peaks – peak 1, ben nevis

for a while now, a guy at work has been asking me to do the three peaks challenge with him and a group of others. i always fancied it but for the last few years there was always some reason why i couldn’t. i was either going away or riding somewhere.
this year when he asked, i thought he said july 12th. july i’ll be at the tour and so i declined.
it was only last week when i realised that they were actually going on JUNE 12th and that i could go. by then though, there was a week to go and i had done no training or preparation. there was no way i could go…

…or was there?
tuesday. three days before the attempt was to be made and i heard a couple of the fellas talking about their plans. it sounded great but i wished them luck and went back to my computer screen, pokey office, air-conditioning and strip lighting…
…which got me thinking.
i didn’t have anything planned for the weekend…
i had all the kit i was going to need…
i needed some daylight, some weather, a challenge!

i was in. i let steve, the organiser know and he set about changing the passengers in the cars that were taking us. from then on, plans changed every 5 minutes. lots of calls. lots of conversations but it was coming together. in a couple of days time i was going to be climbing the highest peaks in scotland, england and wales, all within 24 hours.

the next day i decided to run to work. this was 5 or six miles that i thought i’d run in boots with a rucksack to see how fit i was. i did it fairly quickly but the main thing i learned was that my cyclist’s legs were going to struggle with using all the wrong muscles.

packing
thursday night saw some fairly frantic packing before getting to bed early before my 5am alarm call.

the drive up from leicester to fort william was over in 8 hours and we were greated in scotland with fantasticly warm, sunny weather. after a meal and a few beers with the rest of the gang, i headed into town to the bunkhouse i had booked (their hotel was full – i’m glad too as they were paying £55 for their night there).
i had a stroll around the sites of fort william (which took 10 minutes) before heading back to prepare breakfast in my windowsill kitchen
kitchen
yup, that is a mug of branflakes!

the rain on the window woke me up even before the alarm rang at 5am. conditions didn’t look good.
saturday morning fort william

by the time we’d driven along glen nevis and were at the foot of the mountain, the rain had stopped and the nervous preparations began. by 6.53am we were assembled on the footbridge that forms the traditional start line to the challenge and after a quick team photo the watch was started we were off
start the watch

the early stages of the climb were steep and saw lots of faffing as the many layers of clothing were removed. before long we were into the clouds and then above the snow line
epic

two and a half hours after leaving the car we were celebrating the first and highest peak of the challenge. things were going well. two of the guys were travelling quite slowly but they were steady and that was fine.

going down was hard. there was a lot of ‘traffic’ with people and dogs blocking the trail at many points. i was also discovering that the muscles in my legs were fine at going up but were tiring quickly coming down.

back at the car in four hours and 23 minutes. legs were a little shaky but feet were good and by the time i’d dried my feet and given them a good talcing the rest of the group were back and i was ready to head off to the next peak

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