The Intensive Care Foundation Three Peaks Challenge
18 - 20 June 2010
The aims of the Foundation’s Three Peaks Challenge were to raise the Foundation’s public profile and generate unrestricted funds to support the Foundation’s research efforts. As this was the first Three Peaks Challenge the number of participants was limited to eight which the number that can comfortably fit into a minibus. The Challenge is to climb the three highest peaks on mainland UK within 24 hours. In all the participants are required to walk 24 miles and climb 10,000 ft and travel over 700 miles.
By the end of February all the places were taken by Alistair Crawford (a GP in Conwy), Anwen Crawford (Senior Nurse at Bangor), Sheena Williams (Pfizer), Terry Williams (North Wales Police), David Cobb (Director of Business, UCL.), Ed Farley-Hills (Intensivist at Bangor), Marie Savage (Psychiatrist at Bangor) and Marcela Vizchaychipi (Intensivist at Chelsea).
Preparations included Anwen and Alistair hosting a BBQ for over 50 people on the preceding weekend which raised over £400 for the Challenge. Sheena contacted the local Tesco’s about a display and tin rattling and everyone else twisted the arms of friends and acquaintances.
After all the preparation and training, the minibus set off on a bright sunny Friday morning form North Wales. I seem to have forgotten the one-way road system in Glasgow but eventually we picked David and Marcela up from Central Railway Station and headed out along the A82. The views of Loch Lomond, Glencoe and Loch Linnhe were spectacular. After taking on supplies at Fort William, we joined the other 200 plus people undertaking the same challenge on the longest weekend of the year. Parking at the start points of all the mountains proved to be a real bun fight especially with a minibus. However the team were ready for their 4000 ft initial climb at set off at 17:15.
There was some high cloud but the summit was clear and the group returned in good spirits at just after 22:00. After a hot drink, freshly made sandwiches and jammed scones (which prompted a proposal of marriage!), the team was bundled into the minibus for the five hour drive to the south eastern area of the Lakes.
The governor on the minibus limited our progress to a maximum of 62 mph! Fortunately at that time of night traffic was light and we just did not stop. Driving past along the Great Western Road past Gartnavel Hospital and later the West Cumberland Hospital at Whitehaven helped keep me awake with happy memories of where I had previously worked.
More confusion and mayhem at the start point for Scarfell Pike with cars and minibuses blocking each other in up a single lane track that led nowhere! Anyway at 04:00, the team set off in reasonably good spirits bearing in mind the sleep they had not had. The wind was up and the early morning air was cold. There was more cloud but fortunately it did not descend. Apparently the wind was extremely cold at the summit and everyone was keen to hurry back down to the minibus.
By 07:00 everyone was back and after another hot drink and something to eat, we set off again along the twisting roads of the Lakes. Two hours later we reached the M6 and so on went the afterburners to reach our cruising speed of 62 mph!
The traffic had built up on Saturday morning and Sheena’s invaluable local knowledge saved the day when we hit a traffic jam along the North Wales Coast. At Pen y Pass, the team set off at 13:15 with only 4 hours left to complete Snowdon. This was achieved with 50 minutes to spare and lots of smiling faces. Afterwards we all went home for a well earned beer and curry!
Overall we were lucky in that we could not have had better weather. I would like to thank the team for all their efforts not only on the day but also all the preparatory work and fund raising; in the end the weekend raised over £6300. There were a great crew who remained cohesive despite the adverse and testing conditions in the back of a minibus and sleep deprivation. Aberconwy Car & Van Hire Ltd, Maesdu Road, Llandudno, Conwy also supported our efforts by reducing the cost of the minibus hire.
The Foundation will probably be repeating the Challenge next year so if you are interested and committed enough please let me know as it is clear that this year was a popular and successful event. In fact, two places may have already gone.
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