Monday, July 30, 2007


This weekend me and jt were due to attempt the three peaks challenge, but we had to cut it short due to me picking up a knee injury on the decent of ben nevis. The jarring of the uneven decent had somehow damaged the knee of my leading leg to the point that it was terribly painful to walk downhill. I feel like a failure, i hate not accomplishing what i set out to do. Not being one of these athletic types, walking is one of the only sporting activities that i'm any good at, and this would be a great test of endurance, of which I've failed to prove I can achieve. What is worse is the fact that people had agreed to sponsor my efforts in the bid to raise some money for christie's hospital where my friend died of cancer last year. I think I can now understand the frustrations of professional footballers who get injured and are unable to prove to the supporters that they are worthy of the transfer fee paid for them. It is terribly disappointing. However I'll blog about are attempt:

Not only had we set ourselves a challenge in climbing the three highest peaks we had no driver and so would also be driving between the locations, making the challenge much harder. We had decided that if we could hit all three peaks within a 24 hour period we'd have done really well. The challenge started early on sat morning as we began the drive up to ben nevis. We were 15 minutes into the journey when I suddenly had a vision of my walking boots still in the kitchen. Great start! After doubling back our journey was fairly uneventful until we got caught in traffic in callander. There was some highland games event happening and it held us up by about an hour, we eventually arrived at ben nevis around 1630. No chance for the planned rest, we donned our walking gear and began the first ascent around 1700. It was really busy with a redcross challenge also taking place. The first hour was tough going ascent leaving us stripped to our t-shirts and sweating profusely. A five minute stop for water and a break left me feeling reinvigorated and able to march upwards, soon arriving at a flatter plateau where the pace could be quickened. The incline soon steepened and the higher we went the colder it became and coats were put back on. In the clouds the uphill trek seemed never ending and the minutes seemed to drag. My glasses became obscured by rain and my fingers were frozen. We took a short break and ate some chocolate and I could feel the energy returning, the chocolate pumping through my blood and the walk continued. It seemed we would never make the top, and then suddenly the high plateau appeared and our goal was reached. Any sense of lack of energy seemed to evaporate as euphoria at reaching the summit reinvigorated. The descent saw our bodies gradually warm and clothes once again stripped off. The setting sun bathing the surrounding landscape in awesome colour, it looked superb. Being tall and gangly I always find descents difficult, like I'm always stopping myself from falling forwards. This causes me to plant my leading leg rather stiffly and down steep uneven surfaces the toll of this caused a pain in my right knee. Battling through, though losing a bit of pace, we were back at the car before the light had faded. Swift change of shoes and the long night time drive began. Jt driving for the first hour and half before switching to allow him to grab a bit of sleep whilst I drove. We continued this swapping of driving and napping every 90 min or so and it seemed to work fine. Alert enough to drive and we reached wasdale head at the base of scafell at 0400. I'd noticed that my knee was still hurting every time we'd swapped driving duties and had bought some painkillers from a petrol station in a determined effort to continue. Starting the ascent of scafell pike at 0430 as the sun began to rise the uphill trek was going fine, but any mild descent on the path was really hurting and i had to make the difficult decision to return to the car. To carry on could lead to me becoming stuck at the top, unable to walk down and that would be crazy. I might also damage the knee further, so I slowly made my way back down, taking nearly an hour to cover ground we'd made in about 20 minutes! Jt carried on to the summit and returned at 0830. This time would've had us well on schedule to complete all the three peaks in 24 hours and we'd have achieved our goal. JT didn't fancy doing another climb alone so we headed back home with a determination to complete the challenge next year. I'll have to invest in some walking poles and see if using them I can take the weight of my knee better on the descents. Grrrr I know i can do this, but I'm as yet unable to say I have.

Photo set of the attempt on flickr


Anonymous said...

fine attempt though

Ben said...

mate, feel for you.
hope you recover nice and quick.