UK National 3 Peaks 24 Hour Challenge
Ben Nevis - Scafell Pike - Snowdon
At 7:00am Saturday morning we set off for Fort William.
Ben Nevis Route
The route for Ben Nevis starts at the Visitors Centre and ascends up from the west. We start with a steady ascend of Glen Nevis and Carn Dearg, we then pass a loch (Lochan Meall an t-Siudhe). From there we zigzag up the main path and onto the Ben Nevis plateau. The summit is marked by a cairn and also the old observatory
The highest of the three climbs starting at 16m and ascending to 1,344m. As we disembark the minibus the rain starts to fall, waterproofs are going to be needed for the whole climb! We start to ascend the Ben Nevis path at 14:16; this is our official start time. The climb up Ben Nevis was trouble free; there was still snow on the North side near the top. As we approach the summit plateau the fog drifted in and the temperature plummeted. Only time for a quick photo and off we go back down. We make it back to base just behind schedule, with toilet stops and kit sorting we set off for Scafell Pike 30 minutes behind schedule
Scafell Pike Route
We start Scafell Pike from Wasdale Head. The path starts through a field then onto a rough path over Lingmell Gill, we then have to cross a stream over to Brown Tongue, the path then leads up over Hollow Stones and on to the summit.
Due to limited speed and country roads we are now running one hour behind schedule. It is 1:30am as we stop at Scafell Pike and assess the conditions, there is hill fog from around 400m upwards but we decide to continue with the challenge. The team set out with glow sticks on our rucksacks and extra radios. As we approach Hollow Stones at 400m the fog starts to restrict our vision, we can now only see about 10ft in front. We are then joined by a team of two whom are also on a 3 peaks challenge and as we had GPS guidance they asked to walk with us. We continue very slowly across Hollow Stones and up the zig-zag path. At 700m the fog lifts slightly and we catch a glimpse of the cairn markers. At 800m the heavy rain that had been forecast starts to fall and visibility is now back down to about 10ft. At 4:15am we reach the summit and the sun is starting to rise, this dust daylight will help our descent, the team poses for a quick picture then it is a quick turnaround and back to the minibus. The team put in a great effort and we are back to the minibus in 1 hour 10 minutes which puts us back on schedule to complete the challenge. On to Snowdon we go.
We ascend Snowdon via the PYG track starting at the Visitors Centre in Pen-y-Pass. We head west to Bwich y Moch and join the PYG track all the way up to Bwlch Glas where we turn left and head south to the summit. We descend back to Bwlch Glas and strat to descend on the PYG track and then split right onto the Miners track where we navigate round two lakes Glaslyn and Llyn Llydaw Reservoir and back to the Visitors Centre.
As we arrive in Snowdonia at 10:45 the sun is shining and the summit of Snowdon is covered in a small blanket of cloud. A quick toilet stop and we would be off, apart from there being three gents’ toilets and two of them ‘out of order’! We start our ascent via the PYG track, this was a warm climb. As we approach the ridge to join the west side of the mountain the weather hits us, wind and rain, but we are only 10 minutes from the summit. A quick ascent and photo at the summit and back down we go, we have 1 hour 15 minutes to get back to the minibus. We descend down the Miners track, this is a little longer but most of it is flat and can be run. As we approach the flat section we have 45 minutes remaining on our clock and it a 45 minute trek back if you do a brisk walk/jog. The team split, get back as quick as you can!