At about 9am on Tuesday 12th June 2018, 8 slightly hungover individuals who had named themselves The Haggis Hikers started their epic challenge of scaling the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales inside 24 hours.
June 25, 2018
With a spring in our step we launched ourselves at Ben Nevis, even though the average time for completing Nevis is between 7 to 9 hours, we had to do it in 5 to stay on schedule!
20 minutes later our merry band of 8 had been split into 3 groups with Jack and Matt leading the charge in the first group, Dom, Dave and Amy in the second with Shane, Sara and myself at the back.
The climb up is relentless with only occasional seconds to lift your head to enjoy the fantastic views yet all 8 made it through the snow to make it to the summit (Yes SNOW!!)
In my mind at least, coming down would be easy and I could enjoy the views, I was very wrong. Going up is lung busting but coming down was agony on your knees and leg muscles.
Once the whole group made it down (yes I was last down) we had 5 mins to grab some water, remove your boots and clamber onto the mini bus for the 6 hour drive to Scafell Pike. Already there were some interesting smells on that cramped minibus as everyone tried to stretch out as best you could.
Scafell Pike is a different animal to Nevis, there are no level bits to get your breath back and every step is a step up, plus the terrain was a lot harder than Nevis with a few people having falls. It was dusk as we started out and soon needed our head torches, it was strange how your entire world becomes the small circle of light pointing down at your feet. Unfortunately this was where we had our first drop out, Shane was struggling for oxygen and had to turn back. The remaining 7 made it to the top in their various groups and after being given 2 mins at the summit, my group (Yes I was last again) started their descent. I thought it was hard coming down Nevis but Scafell is just evil. We managed to get back down in the allotted time of 2 hours up and 2 down and it was straight onto the mini bus to make fun of Shane. We really needed to have some air freshener on that bus!
It was a 5 hour drive to the last challenge of Mount Snowdon and it was in this time that the grind of the last 2 mountains really took their toll and only 4 of us managed to lace up our boots and fall out of the mini bus. Dave (knee), Amy (ankle), Matt (Calf) and Shane (chest infection) remained on the bus.
I remember walking up Snowdon when I was a kid and thought it would be the easiest, silly me! The terrain was the steepest of all 3 mountains and at times we were literally pulling ourselves up by our hands, but we could see the top and pushed through. However, as I fell over the top thinking I was there, I was told by a very fresh looking Jack that I still had 300 yards to go and he was already on his way down!! With a burst of pace (felt like pace at the time) Dom, Sara and myself clambered up the last few steps to the top of the cairn. 30 seconds later after a quick photo, we are on our way down. The path back to Llanberis was the nicest track we had been on but every step was agony. Sara had disappeared into the distance and even Dom pulled ahead. With time ticking away it was left to Jack to shout out that I only had a few minutes to make it so with a final sprint for the line the 4th member of the team made it within the 24 hours! Funnily enough the 4 that completed the challenge included the 3 oldest members of the team who have an average age of 50! (Tortoise and the hare!!)
Jack Davies – Smashed it, did a time of 21 hours and 29 mins (would have been faster if he didn’t wait for the old gits on the top of Nevis)
Sara Randell – Struggled early on Nevis but showed real guts and completed it in 23 hours 47 mins
Dom d’Inverno – Moaned his way through 3 countries to a time of 23 hours 53 mins
Andrew Costello – Struggled with all of it, last place, 23 hours 57 mins
David Garrad – Struggled coming down Nevis after setting great pace going up. Injury coming down Scafell.
Matt Dives – With Jack, absolutely flew up Nevis and Scafell in the lead group (most of that group were made up of ultra-marathon runners!) injury whilst coming down Scafell
Amy Wills – Great pace up and down Nevis and up Scafell, nearly fell off Nevis at one point! Twisted ankle coming down Scafell.
Shane Pace – Totally gutted he couldn’t finish, manged to do Nevis with a chest infection but made the right choice on Scafell (if he pushed on any higher it would have meant the whole group having to return down).
A huge thank you to everyone at Three Peaks Challenge Ltd who looked after us so well over the challenge, great bunch of people (you will need to fumigate that mini bus though)
Finally, the biggest thank you to all of our sponsors who helped us get over our biggest challenge of hitting our £10,000 target. The Emily Ash Trust is a fantastic charity and every penny will make a massive difference.
Written by Andrew from the Haggis Hikers