This trip is combined with Aimi tackling the infamous 3 Peaks Challenge. Shes also taking on doing it within 24 hours, a massive personal challenge that shes been training for for some time.
Shes been ramping up the walk distances, work outs and running each day throughout the summer to be ready for it. She has some nerves about how hard is going to be. And yes it is going to be hard but I know she’s determined, fit and as long as she doesn’t throw a hissy fit like she did on Ben Lomond last weekend, she will be fine!
As much as I would love to do this challenge with her, my knees just can’t take the descent, let alone 3 descents in a day. We walked Ben Lomond last weekend and I was nearly crippled by the end. I’d end up slowing her down and ruining her chance of completing it. So I’ve taken up the mantle of driver and support team for this adventure.
Today is Saturday and Aimi is finishing off her meeting with Lubi in Edinburgh. We had planned to do this challenge on Sunday evening going into Monday, with a relaxed day in Fort William to prepare. But the weather forecast looks terrible tomorrow and right now it’s beautiful. Aimi hadn’t gotten the best night’s sleep, because the hotel mattress is a bit lumpy and located right by a noisy road. But, where doing 1 mountain in the rain is miserable, 3 would be soul crushing and reduce the likelihood of completing the challenge. She wasn’t happy, but made a good call to suck it up and do the challenge a day early.
We drove from Edinburgh, to Fort William. Got ourselves a good sized, late lunch, and then went to the visitor center to prepare.
The challenge started at the base of the Scottish peak, Ben Nevis at 16:30. Aimi is expecting to complete Ben Nevis in 5 hours getting back to base at about 10pm.
I had time to mooch around so I found myself a hotel that actually allowed dogs in their bar area, included parking, and set myself up. I had my 3 inch drone with me on which I needed to do a few repairs (I broke a few things when I knocked it out of a really tall tree with 3 lengths of wood screwed together) while i was doing that, Kayto caused a
flock herd gaggle of receptionists because he “looks just like a fox”… I swear we would be millionaires if I had £1 each time I heard that…
Drone fixed and batteries charged, I headed over to the fort at Fort William and reminded myself how to fly. The sun was setting behind the mountains making the loch one huge mirror reflecting the golden sky. It was beautiful and great fun and I even managed to fly thru an ancient stone archway without crashing! The batteries take an hour to charge and only last about 3-4 mins each, so after my 15 mins of fun it was time to get the car and supplies ready for Aimi’s return.
She managed to do Ben Nevis in record time, puffing and sweating her way across the bridge at the car park at 21:30. After changing clothes, and bundling everything into the car we set off on the 6 hour drive to the next mountain.
Part of the preparation I did whilst waiting in William was to stock up on supplies. I got pasta pots, energy bars, bananas, water, cookies, chocolate, sour sweets and red bull for me. I knew that the country driving was going to be interesting and fun for 3 hours, but then I’d get tired and have the boring monotony of the motorway to deal with. Sure enough, once Aimi had told me about her climb, stretched (as much as she could in the car), eaten and then gone to sleep, I was on the motorway and starting to yawn. I put on a podcast for businesses in my earphones and tucked into the sour sweets. I wanted to get to Sca Fell safely so needed to stay alert, but not so hopped up on sugar that I couldn’t go straight to sleep and I think for the most part, I was successful.
We arrived at Wasdale Head, the base of the English mountain Sca Fell at about 02:45. This was a little earlier than expected, partially owing to Aimi’s rapid circumnavigation of the 1st mountain and partially my elastic observation of the speed limits… Here we were to meet up with Angus who gallantly agreed to get up at silly-o-clock to climb with her, but was nowhere in sight. We thought he might be at the other carpark down the road, but no luck so started to get stuff ready to go when he rocked up just in time.
She was setting off in the dead of night so I was really grateful Angus came along. Both to increase her safety (if she hurt herself, at 3am it is unlikely that there would be anyone around to help) and for a moral boost because Sca Fell is a b#@&£ of a climb. Its straight up, very steep all the way, and I knew that after not enough sleep, and suffering the first mountain, she might need it.
They set off at almost exactly 03:00. Sca Fell should be done in 4 hours so I set myself a 3 hour alarm, cuddled up with Kayto and slept.
It wasn’t great sleep because other groups turned up from time to time and slammed car doors, but it was enough. My alarm worked, I snoozed it and then the next time I looked up, Aimi and Angus were striding into view. A quick photo at 06:50 captured another record time and we were off again.
During the first long drive, we were going thru the night so there was basically zero traffic. This time we were not so lucky. I don’t think it would have been a problem, but the powers that be decided that today was a great day to shut part of the motorway near Preston… we, along with all the other traffic on the 3 lane motorway, were shunted into single lane roads thru a town centre to get past 1 motorway junction. I did my best to stay calm and relaxed and let Aimi sleep, but I was furious and stressed that this might cost us the challenge. Lucky it was only 1 junction and only added 30 mins to the journey, which I did my best to *safely* recover…
We arrived in Wales and pulled up about 1 mile from the car park drop point. It’s always packed up there and the parking I’d bought didn’t start till later so we got the bag and walking sticks ready to go here. After a quick wee, some sun lotion and a bite to eat we bundled into the car up to Pen Y Pass. Aimi jumped out and started walking at about 12:00.
She now had 5 hours to complete Snowdon. This is a mountain that should be done in 4 and half, so she had a good amount of time. Her body was now 2 mountains in, so that extra time gave her a bit of breathing space, but not much. After 3 hours sitting in another (slightly less doggy friendly) hotel beer garden watching Netflix, I gave her a call.
I asked her to call me at the top, so I could gauge when to return to the car park (and lose cell reception), but it was so busy up there, and she was so in the zone she had forgotten. She was nearly at the flat track of the Miners Path! I downed the lemonade I had been nursing and headed back to the car. I found the perfect car parking spot facing the track so I could see when she was coming, but stay out of the drizzle that had started. I was so nervous she would complete it in time I wasn’t paying attention to my podcast. It was getting closer to the deadline, I was sure she was going to do it, but she wasn’t here yet! And then I saw her pink jacket!
Aimi finished Snowdon at 16:18 having started the day before at 16:45. She did all of the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales in under 24 hours – what an incredible achievement!