I’m not one of those people who gets sick often, but working in a special needs school makes it hard to avoid when you are constantly surrounded by snotty kids who have no concept of covering their mouth when they sneeze, or just regularly wipe their nose with the back of their hand before grabbing your arm. This last few weeks have been the worst though, first there is the virus/throat infection which knocked me out for a couple of days, and just as I feel like I am back to full health, it comes back and hits me again. I had to be over it by the weekend, it was time for our three peaks challenge, and the last time I was ill was during our practise walk up Scafell Pike, and it ruined me! I wasn’t really in any state to be pushing myself up a mountain, but I am stubborn and determined… yeah, in hindsight, I may not be so cocky next time! I was a right mess coming down, my legs could barely hold me up, and it was all I could do to stop myself from just falling over! Getting back to full health for the three peaks challenge was a priority, so rest and plenty of fluids was needed. I took it easy, tried to eat well, and tried to get myself stronger.
The weekend took a lot of planning and preparation, and the guy who had arranged it, lets call him B, seemed to be bearing the brunt of it, everyone had signed up and almost immediately abdicated responsibility expecting everything to be done for them, leaving pretty much everything up to B to organise. I couldn’t sit back and watch, so I stepped in to help him, as it wasn’t really a task for just one person.
I’d like to say that the weekend went without a hitch, but it really didn’t! We travelled down to Wales on the Friday after work, with the intention of setting up the tents, eating at a local pub, and then climbing the first mountain the following morning, followed by the second one later that day. As it happened we were late getting to the pub to check into the campsite and had to eat as we’d reserved a table and ended up pitching our tents as it was getting dark. By this point the wind had picked up, rain had started to fall, and the sky, although it had suddenly gone dark with the heavy clouds that had rolled in, was being illuminated by flashes of lightning all around us! It was good to finally be in our tents and getting ready to sleep. One of the group had decided that our strict schedule to keep us on track and ensure we had time to do all three mountains was just “no fun”, so decided to get quite drunk and keep everyone awake. It came as no surprise that we were unable to rouse him in the morning.
The showers were actually quite pleasant for a campsite, and better than I had imagined, so actually it wasn’t that bad pulling myself out of a tent at 6am so that we could pack up and get moving for 7am! Our drunken sleep friend was still no where to be seen at this point! It was a tough call, but he knew the deal and so we eventually had to leave him behind as we headed up the first mountain. The weather was pretty bad, and no photos were taken on this walk, as the wind and rain would have just killed any non-waterproof electrical equipment! We still managed the first mountain in a good time though, the lead group that I was in managed to get up and down Snowdon in 3 hours and 6 minutes. A good start as we’d got 15 hours to do all three mountains. The slower group unfortunately got lost and ended up setting us back 4 hours while we waited for them. With our driving schedule being strict to fit all the mountains in, we knew we’d blown it waiting for the second group. There was no way we could get to Scafell Pike and climb it in daylight now. We weren’t prepared for any night walks and couldn’t take the chance, especially as we’d agreed to rise at 4am to travel to Ben Nevis! We regrouped and weighed up our options. We agreed that as we were timing each mountain, there was nothing to stop us doing Scafell Pike as agreed and then doing Ben Nevis on a different weekend to continue to get a time for it and complete the challenge, and so thats what we did. We set up tent in the Lake District, and went out for food in Keswick before climbing Scafell Pike the following morning, knowing that Ben Nevis would get done on a different weekend and the challenge would still get completed.
It was certainly a learning curve for me. I have never done much camping in the past, and haven’t had much experience of helping to organise anything like this. I’d like to think that we will do it again, and be able to learn from this. We can make many improvements next time around and be better prepared. It was definitely fun, and I am just disappointed that we couldn’t get all three mountains done, but it was quite nice to get home a bit earlier to be able to see Olivia and Clare for a while and spend a bit of time with them.