We have now been supporting and raising vital funds for our charity of the year, Gympanzees for nearly half a year. If you aren’t familiar with what Gympanzees do have a look at this blog, Marketing Executive Maddie wrote earlier in the year.
So, what have we been up to and how have we managed to raise just over £6,000 in the last few weeks?
Well, it’s required a team effort and lots of pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone. We started with Veganuary (in January, obviously) and then a group of us took on the Business Fives Football tournament – although slightly improving our result from the previous tournament, we’d rather not talk about how we did on this one.
But our latest endeavour saw 8 of the team taking on the dizzy heights of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon to complete the National 3 Peaks in 24 hours. Read on to find out how we got on...
The National Three Peaks Challenge
As if the National 3 Peaks Challenge isn’t hard enough as it is, the team saw additional challenges throughout the weekend that really tested our physical and mental resilience.
On Friday 10 June 2022 Maddie Platt, Chris Pearce, Edd Chalk, Sarah Wyatt, Joe Marcovitch, Amber Peck, David Gilroy and myself embarked on our journey to Scotland to ensure we were at the bottom of our first peak Ben Nevis for the starting time of 5pm Saturday.
Little did we know that the troubles leading up to the day, with EasyJet cancelling flights to Glasgow, delays to flights and the dreaded airport queues would only be the first of our challenges. Luckily on this occasion we made the flight and set skies to Scotland, where we were greeted by, can you guess, what felt like torrential rainfall. We were still in high spirits however as this flight meant we were saved from 4am minibus journey from Bristol to Scotland and as you will find out later, some of us were very thankful for.
After carb-loading (with one of the biggest plates of nachos I’ve ever seen) in the delightful Saint Lukes and Winged Ox, with Macy Grey playing next door, yes, THE Macy Grey the team headed back to the Airbnb for a game of UNO and an early night. We would’ve much preferred to have stayed at the pub though. It was bunk beds for most of the team and even those supplied us with their own challenge, causing a few to be a bit restless the next day due to them squeaking on every toss and turn.
On Saturday morning the team headed off on a very slow but picturesque train to Fort William where we quite enjoyed the rain from inside the train. Now we had all read the weather forecast of 50mph winds, rain and snow but we all secretly hoped this was an over-exaggeration. But sadly, as the journey continued, we could see the realisation of this coming to life, rain lashing down and trees hardly up right from the wind.
As we rolled into Fort William train station with weather very much the topic of conversation, there were plenty of hikers to meet us. A few of the group chatted to hikers at the train station who had not made it to the top of Ben Nevis that morning due to the danger the wind posed. As the news travelled to the rest of the team, it left us miserable and apprehensive about the journey to come.
Ben Nevis – The Enemy
In our briefing from one of the mountain guides before heading up, he said “there was a chance we would not make it to the top”. Some of the team interpreted that as we DEFINITELY weren’t getting to that summit, oh but weren’t we wrong!
Sadly, early on and the worst moment of the whole weekend, was when one of our team members injured themselves and had to drop out of the challenge. Another team member was therefore held up whilst things were sorted out and then struggled to catch up with the rest of the team on the incline.
The walk most definitely showed us a challenge, with most of the walk leaving the team wet from battling 50mph winds with rain.
One member ended up running to the bottom with about 2km to go due to needing to use the facilities and ended up being the first to finish out of everyone! They may regret that run later…
When we got to the bottom, our next challenge was squeezing out of our wet clothes and getting changed, whilst dodging midge bites – which, as Bear Grylls says, are THE WORST. We gave a pat on the back to our fallen member, whom I was gutted for, but who spent the whole weekend being the best supporter even though this was the end of his journey.
With clothes hanging all over the minibus and boots stuffed with newspaper, it was on to Cumbria to take on Scafell Pike. This was the perfect opportunity for us to get some sleep but with some members being over 6ft, it wasn’t the easiest. However, some aided with blankets over heads managed to get a few hours in, which would most definitely be useful for the journey to come.
The minibus, now at soaring temperatures to dry our clothes and windy roads caused one to be sick during the night and later myself with 30 minutes to go until we started Scafell Pike. Thanks to our great drivers who got us there quickly, and just about in one piece we were ready to go. I’ll be honest though, however quick or slow you went, I am sure there would have been sickness on my part so if you’re taking on the drive from Ben Nevis to Scafell Pike, remember your anti-sickness tablets!
Scafell Pike – The Breeze *well, compared to Ben Nevis*
After a tactical chunder in a bin bag, sorry about that team, we were good to face the next incline, a whole 978m above sea level.
With one team member down due to injury, another resting from sickness and one who decided it wasn’t for them, it was time for the 5 of us to face the mist once more, luckily this time there wasn’t any rain and we got to see some nice views halfway up.
A quick walk up some rocky tertian and one member was thankful for all his step climbing training as we faced a very unkind stair-like climb. We were up and down in 3hrs 15 mins, even though I may have had to put my competitive claws away and keep to the pace of the guide. Not a world record as such, but after the trek up Ben Nevis, it felt like a win to us!
Once we were close to the finish, a few of us were taking the mick out of the person who finished first on Ben Nevis and all ran in to beat him but ended up going the wrong way. Little did we know, David would run past us all and beat us to the finish. Not that it’s a competition or anything ;)
Now with time against us, it was onto North Wales, oh yeah, and I was sick again!
Snowdon – The Ultra
After another windy journey, we arrived at Snowdon with just 4 hours to go if we wanted to complete the challenge in 24 hours –as you may have guessed, I was very much for this goal.
Here we met Gareth snd Mark, who were tasked with guiding us up and around Snowdon. With some of the team on a mission to complete the challenge in 24 hours we knew it had to be a fast pace to reach the top. The mountain leaders weren’t convinced, but Gareth assured us he would do all he could to get us up and down in time.
Here we split into two groups with David doing the very noble thing of staying back with one of our members of our team, so the rest of us could go on and try and achieve the goal. You can read more about his experience on LinkedIn.
With a very fast pace on a pretty steep incline, and up to the summit in less than 2 hours, it was time to make our way to the finish line.
We had just over 2km to go and with the clock against us, our mountain guide challenged us to pet the dog we could see the other side of the lake. You will be pleased to know we caught up with the dog! With a jog to the finish, that was the National 3 Peaks Challenge completed with 10 minutes to spare.
After a change of shoes, the whole team rewarded themselves with cheers of a pint and a KFC. After pot noodles, camping food and lots of sick, this was possibly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten on a Sunday evening.
We all have our own story of how the 24 hours panned out but what I can say is I am proud of each member of the team for overcoming their own challenges. It really made me realise what a great bunch of people I get to spend my working days with - you are all superstars!
At this moment in time, we are £85 away from reaching £6,500, so if you can at all spare some cash, it would be greatly appreciated!
So, what’s next?
We’ll, the 3 peaks team are pretty keen to take on another challenge in 2023. Whether that’s a 50km walk, a 10km Tough Mudder, or a run, we’re not sure yet. If you’d love to get involved with a fundraising event with us, email Maddie on email@example.com.
David is planning to put on a charity gig in July and we’re also looking into the possibilities of a charity quiz in September, so if you’re in Bristol at all then, be sure to get in touch!
But, it’s not just about fundraising, we’ve also been supporting Gympanzees throughout the school holidays by volunteering at their Pop Up. This is a great chance for the team to see where their hard work and fundraising is going towards, and meet the families who really need this permanent facility.
I know I’m looking forward to continuing my fundraising and volunteering for Gympanzees and I’m sure the rest of the team are too.