Sunday 25 October 2015

The Three Peaks of Lake District

This was something we did as a challenge for a charity - The McMillan Cancer Support. I was working for Capita back then, and the event was organised by my manager Lee Pillen. Our challenge was to summit three of the highest peaks in the Lake District (all over 3000 feet) in a single day. Lee's thoughts were it would be more of a challenge rather than the usual corporate team building nonsense (his worlds not mine :)) and in the process raise money for a good cause. The following article is written by Lee Pillen - 

We’re not entirely unprepared for the main event this weekend. We had a bit of a practice run back in June. We climbed Snowdon to get a feel for hill walking and try out our mountain legs. We made it up and down in about 6 hours. Of course, we’ll have to do much better than that this weekend if we are to manage Skiddaw, Helvellyn and Scafell Pike in one day.
The weather was atrocious on Snowdon – driving rain, howling winds and what felt like sub-zero temperatures on the summit (and they’d closed the cafe!). It was so bad that some people had to be airlifted off by the RAF. Hopefully we’ll have some better weather this weekend and that will give us the extra turn of speed we will need.
Here are a few more pictures of the Snowdon climb …
A break to enjoy the view and perform a quick dance number

 Back down out of the rain

It’s really cold up here!
Look at me! I’m up a wet mountain!

We did it!
We’re back, unscathed apart from a few stiff legs, and we did it! We conquered our three peaks, although sadly not all three of the mountains.
We made an excellent start, leaving base camp at the foot of Skiddaw before dawn on Saturday. The first half an hour was hard work and those of us who were new to hill walking (even the fit ones) were surprised at how tough it is until you get into your stride.
Setting Off 
We made great time, leaving some fantastic views back over Keswick and Derwent Water behind us as we climbed into the cloud to reach the summit in time for a spot of breakfast.
A quick run back down the hill meant we’d bagged our first mountain in under three hours.
The next one was harder. Helvellyn is a steep hill and the rock steps on the path mean the ascent is like walking up stairs – for two hours.
Foot of Helvellyn 
The whole team reached the first peak of Lower Man, and all struggled on through the thick cloud and rain to the summit of Helvellyn itself, thus reaching our third peak and achieving what we’d set out to do.
Helvellyn Ascent
We all made it back down the hill having completed the ascent and descent within four hours. The first ones down ran the last leg, finishing inside three and half hours!
Helvellyn ‘Lower Man’
Having climbed two mountains and reached three 3000 foot peaks all but two of the team were still fired up and ready to tackle our third mountain, Scafell Pike. Unfortunately it was not to be. Time to complete the ascent in daylight was limited so we decided to change our starting point to one that would require less walking, but a was a longer drive than our original plan.
We set off, not exactly clear of our new route and hoping that sat-nav would get us there. Unfortunately we lost the sattellite connection on some hair-raisingly narrow mountain roads in Langdale. Then, somewhere over the Hardknott pass one of our cars began to run dangerously low on fuel. We had to temporarily abandon our journey to the base of Scafell Pike and leave the mountains in order to find some petrol.
Having refuelled and got some decent directions we realised that we’d run out of time to begin our ascent of Scafell Pike. There was no way we’d get up and down before nightfall. So, dejectedly, we headed back for our hotel and a well earned meal.
Scafell Pike will be there another day – and we will be back!
Relaxing the following day 
We’d like to thank everyone who has helped and supported us on this trip, especially those of you who have been kind enough to make a donation to Macmillan Cancer Support in support of our efforts. Our next trip? Who knows? Possibly Hadrian’s wall, maybe the British three peaks challenge (Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis). There has even been talk of jumping out of an aeroplane – but that’s just silly.