Tim’s nine peak challenge

11th January 2016

Tim, of Hitchin, has taken the Three Peaks Challenge to a whole new level after signing up for the epic trek for the third time in 2017

Tim Three Peaks letterbox
After walking away from his first challenge thinking ‘never again’, his fond memories, the wonderful people he met and their inspiring stories encouraged him to give it another go. 

“I signed up for two reasons.”

“Firstly to challenge myself to achieve something significant. I have always loved the outdoor life and the Three Peaks Challenge was a major challenge for me and something I was very keen to get involved with.”

“Secondly, I knew very little about meningitis, although I have some friends that have been directly affected by it, so I thought it was a great opportunity to meet people, raise some much needed funds and achieve a life goal.”

“I made some very good friends on my first challenge back in 2011 and many of them I am still in contact with today. It was through one of them that the opportunity came up to go back for a second challenge, which was incredibly tough for me. After the dust had settled I came to the conclusion that I needed to come back for a final time next year - I think taking part in three challenges might be enough!”

“The first time I joined the challenge I was so nervous - coming along on my own, not knowing anybody and the thought of a daunting three days ahead of me. But I really need not have worried – there were so many wonderful people, all aiming to achieve something great and raise money for a fantastic charity.”

“What I love about the challenge is the togetherness of the group. There are people of all abilities, yet it doesn't matter – you’re a team, asking after each other and keeping spirits up every step of the way (and there are quite a few steps)!”

Tim’s experience

“The challenge starts at Travelodge in Bristol for me, arriving the afternoon before with time to check over my pack, once, twice and maybe three and four times! It’s always good to be sure… Then it’s time to relax and enjoy the peace before the challenge begins.”

“Setting the alarm clock for 4am is a wakeup call to what lay ahead and after what seems like five minutes sleep, you have one eye open and one foot out of bed, desperately trying to get limbs and brain into gear.”

“A combination of nerves and excitement builds as I take a quick peek through the bedroom window to see a collection of bodies huddled together in the darkness awaiting the arrival of the double decker coach.”

Beautiful Snowdon

“Before you know it you are well on the way to your first mountain, the beautiful Snowdon.”

“The coach arrives; everyone’s full of energy and enthusiasm after waking up and being fed en-route. Then it’s out we get to check our kit and the weather before splitting into two groups – it’s never a race but you choose what group fits your speed and eventually find your own pace. We are all in this together.”

“Walking boots laced up and we’re off - a steady pace and lots of chatting to get to know fellow challengers."

“We have plenty of snack stops to fuel the body and keep ourselves hydrated, then before we know it we are approaching the summit. The wind picks up and the rain joins us for that final push, but it actually doesn't matter as you pick up a new lease of life and stride for the summit, where the obligatory summit photo is taken and a record of achievement is locked in the memory bank.”

“After a quick stop for more food, down we went, remembering that reaching the summit is only a job half done.  A nice steady walk down, being led by the safety team, and it doesn't feel long before you start to see the car park.”

One down two to go... 

“The highlight of the journey to Scafell Pike is, without doubt, the stop at Torbay Services for surely the best service station meal anywhere! The great thing about this is that a healthy option is OFF the table and, for those of us that are always looking after our figures, this is pure joy. A big slice of pie and lots of chips please! Such small pleasures…”

“After filling up on a great meal it's time to rest and get into hiking mode for Scafell Pike.  Arriving in the evening, the thought of a night climb ahead of us is daunting -  that’s when the realisation sinks in that it’s a challenge.”

“Again, progress is great. We walk single file up the mountain, with tricky ground underfoot and a boulder field near the summit, which all makes for a few hours of hard concentration. A really good head torch and spare batteries is a must.”

“By this time great friendships are forging as we walk up and down the mountains together. This togetherness really makes a huge difference, especially when you hit the wall as you all do at some stage.”

"After navigating the tricky boulder field, the elation of knowing you are not long from the summit is what drives you on. If in the second group it's generally at this point that you see the group ahead coming back, offering plenty of words of encouragement, which sums up the whole team effort.”

“When reaching the summit there’s a few minutes for a snack before the shout is made to get ready to leave, remembering that it's the middle of the night and the weather can be very unpredictable.”

“We reach the coach again for what is probably one of the toughest parts of the challenge - with two mountains complete you are feeling it in your legs; muscles are starting to ache and tiredness kicks in. I try to get more sleep, more food and this is when my music playlist comes in handy as I try to relax and forget about the final mountain.”

An indescribable feeling

“It's a long journey to Ben Nevis, taking in some stunning scenery along the way - excitement building as you finally reach the drop off point. Again it's a chance to check kit, store up on food and find your walking buddies.”

“This is when all those long walks you have put in prior to the challenge start to really help. Ben Nevis is a long trek but the views are spectacular and, depending on the time of year, you begin to see the snow the higher you get. It’s a great sight.”

“After what seems like hours of ‘one foot in front of the other’ and dozens of ‘are we there yet’ questions, the summit is in sight and the push for the final slog is well underway.”

“Reaching the summit of Ben Nevis is a marvellous feeling, the views are incredible and the feeling of reaching the highest point in the British Isles is indescribable. You still have the decent to get through of course, but every step takes you closer to that cold beer at the bottom, so it's not really a problem.”

“That’s it - challenge finished. Well done! It’s time for an evening of celebrations and reminiscing before the presentations the following morning, which are very special - the certificate, t-shirt and more importantly for me, the acknowledgement that you have achieved something amazing. Listening to the applause from your fellow challengers, safety team and organisers is a great feeling.”

An amazing but tough challenge

“The event organisation and the safety team are top notch - they make the event so rewarding and are there every step of the way.”

“The toughest part of the challenge for me was the tiredness as I found it hard to sleep between mountains. Despite not sleeping, it’s purely mental - not knowing what to expect and having to be ready for a long trek up to the summit in, often, very tricky weather conditions. I found I coped with this much better the second time around.”

“Despite the tiredness, it really is a great challenge and an experience you will never forget.”

“In terms of preparation, it's never too early to start. Try hill walking while carrying a backpack to get used to the weight you will be carrying with you. Mix up your training with some cycling, running and build up your walks to get used to being out and about for a few hours.”

“If possible, don't compromise on kit. Shop around but make sure you check the kit list in the pack and bring everything with you as the weather can change in the blink of an eye. You don't want to spoil your experience for the sake of not bringing that extra waterproof.”

“Also remember to join the Facebook group - there are lots of people who can share tips with you and you can start to get to know your challenge buddies.”

“The Three Peaks Challenge is an amazing, rewarding and unforgettable experience.”

Support Tim in his third Three Peak Challenge here
Meningitis Now fundraising event - Three Peaks Challenge

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