The Three Peaks Challenge 2012

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Last Friday, I arrived at school just before 8am, to take part in them three peaks challenge. We met in the school foyer, and were told that all the infrastructure in the school (servers, fire alarms etc...) had broken outside the main school building, while we loaded kit into the mini buses and trailer.
We were then given our three peaks t-shirts and took a group photo. By this time, we were slightly behind schedule, so promptly left on the 12 hour journey at about ten past 9.
We then spent the whole day driving, just stopping briefly at services every two hours to swap drivers. Our mini bus consisted of the five people from year 11, Mr Brewer, Mr Mason, Mr Clarke and Mr Moat (new geography teacher).
When we got to the hostel, which was located in a small village in the middle on nowhere, we got our bags off the minibuses and chose our rooms - they were rooms of four and there were 5 year 11's so instead of sleeping on the floor, I went with some year 10's.
We all waited around for a few hours while we waited for dinner, which was curry, and eventually ate at around 11, before going to bed as soon as we could.
The next morning we got up at 7:30, so we had plenty of time to be out of the hostel by 9:30. We had breakfast - cereal and toast - before packing up all our kit. We then went outside and covered ourselves in insect repellent because there were so many midges. We repacked the minibuses and took a team photo outside the hostel before getting back into the buses and driving off again.
We then drove to Fort William - the nearest 'town' to Ben Nevis, and were given just over an hour to wonder around. We went to Morrisons and a posh outdoor shop before going back to the mini bus to find that Max (one of Mr Stewart's dogs, who was in our bus) had eaten two snickers including the packaging!  We then drove to the Glen Nevis visitor center, where, after struggling to find a parking space, we prepared our kit and took some team kit - I had a very annoying collapsed flag pole attached to the outside of my bag which kept hitting trees! We were then given our lunch, and briefed by Mr Brewer about how we had to stay together as a group (stay within 100 meters of each other) because of the low visibility.
At 12:20, we set off up Ben Nevis, and despite Mr Brewer specifically telling us to stay together, we soon started to spread out. We made good time going up, and it took us about 3 hours to get through the snow and passed the 2000 ft drop at the top, and make it to the summit. The weather was even worse at the summit, and we couldn't see any sort of view. We quickly assembled the flags and took a group photo before packing them away again and starting the head down. Near the top, we found an emergency shelter with Mr Stewart's brother, who has hurt his knee. We then headed down, and went quite quickly, to the extent that we ended splitting up into two groups - Mr Moat taking the font one, and Mr Brewer taking the back one. When we got below the cloud and the visibility returned, we were told we could go at our own pace, so we sped up. We eventually reached the bottom at 6:30pm. We then were given a bowl of hot pasta and bolognese, which had been cooked by the teachers who didn't go up Ben Nevis, and then went to the toilets to dry off and get changed - everyone was soaked! When we were dry, we piled back into the mini buses. We were told that there we road closures throughout northern England due to the poor weather, and there would be lots of delays, luckily we had started to go up Ben Nevis three hours early to try and avoid the bad weather, so this didn't put us behind schedule. We drove through the night, stopping at a service station at around 1am where we were given another lunch to keep it going through until morning. I then fell asleep, and didn't wake up until around 3am when Mr Brewer was struggling to control the mini bus because  the water from the lake below Scarfell. We then drove passed lots of lazy people who had just parked in the road instead of going all the way to the car park. As we parked we could see head torches going up and down the mountain before more mist started to come down as dawn approached. At 10 to 5, we started to climb the mountain, having to first go part of the way up another mountain that was between the car park and Scarfell and then go round it. We walked along side a river which was going very quickly - Mr Brewer who has climbed all three mountains countless times said he'd never seen so much water coming off Scarfell - until we reached a point where we would have to cross the river. Fortunately, a shed had been destroyed - presumably by the river, and the pieces made stepping stones allowing us to cross the river. We then followed the path up until we reached the peak, which was just like the peak of Ben Nevis - cold wet and windy! We then started to make our way down being careful around some of the sharp drops. About halfway down, we met a man with a weimaraner (the same breed of dog as Mr Stewart's dogs) who was also doing the three peaks challenge as we saw him on Ben Nevis. Max decided to try and fight this dog and ended up badly scratched and being threatened to be killed by the man - we were more careful on the next mountain. As we made our way down out of the mist we could see the view, which even from the low level below the mist, looked spectacular. We then crossed over the river using the shed again, where Mr Brewer said that we could continue on at our own pace to the bottom. We came off Scarfell at 9.20am and changed out of our wet kit before having a bacon roll/veggie burger. We then pilled back into the mini buses for the long drive to Snowdon, this shouldn't have taken very long, but ended up taking about 4 hours, although we did stop at the services for a while trying to find some fresh water to fill our bottles with. When we eventually got to Pen Y Pas car park at Snowdon, we grabbed our bags - some people were so tired by this point that they left there bags on the bus which almost drove off with them! - before starting up the Pyg track. We made quite good progress along this, with several stops. The Pyg track then joined the miners track and started to climb much more steeply, passed two sticks that had coins stuck in them, until we came out at the top next to the railway which goes almost all the way to the summit of Snowdon. We walked along side the railway until we eventually reached the final summit. After taking numerous photos we started to descend, and the sixth former's who had brought a watermelon up with them, ceremonially rolled it down the railway, until it split in half, which half going over the edge of the mountain. We went down the miners track all the way this time, following it round the lakes at the bottom of Snowdon and through pack to the car park at Pen Y Pas where some of the teachers were there waiting for us at 10:40pm. We then waited for everyone else to come back before driving to the youth hostel where we were going to spend the night. Once there, we found rooms, and had a shower, before going down for a late night dinner - we were so tired by this point, I cannot remember what we ate. We then washed up before going to bed at around 1:30am. We woke up the next morning at around 7am, and had breakfast of cereal and toast before packing everything up, taking a final group photo, and driving back to Bath.

Below is the article about the Three Peaks Challenge from the school's end of year newsletter

The Beechen Cliff Three Peaks Challenge 22 to 25 th June 2012
This year‟s challenge started on a drizzling Friday when we gathered to commence our journey to Scotland.   With T shirts issued, photographs taken, provisions and flags packed we set off. With stops every two hours   we made our way north. The weather front that was to catch us up later followed us but at a slightly slower  pace. Arriving at our base camp in Kinlochleven late into the evening we unpacked, ate the wholesome curry  pre prepared by Tim Fletcher and settled in for a good night sleep. That was what we thought it was to be  like but the fearless Scottish midges had other ideas. All windows in the hostel were sealed tight to stop  these intruders. This caused the temperature inside the accommodation to slowly rise. Those who ventured  forth into the cool night air were ambushed and devoured. Cunning tack ticks using lights were put into force  to distract the flying tormentors, but these creatures had seen this before and always left a few sentries at all  exits to alert others to any escape. Sweltering in the still stale air in our hideaway we held out and waited for  the morning.   We awoke to a typical Scottish sunrise, and made our final preparations for the first ascent. Leaving our  accommodation under fierce attack from our newfound friends and sealing ourselves into our buses we  made our way via Fort William to the base of Ben Nevis. Our ascent commenced at just after 12:00. Climbing  with every step we walked through the rain and into the cloud that covered the mountain. Upward we went  crossing swollen streams, the lush grass of the lower slopes giving way to rock, zig-zagging our way up until  some 3 hours later we crossed the first snow field. With the temperature dropping and the return of heavy  rain we knew we had only moments to reach the observation post that marks the summit, celebrate our first  summit and begin to make our way down to a lower more hospitable environment, before the early but  insidious signs of hypothermia would develop. Warmed by our success we now made our way swiftly back to  the base camp and our pasta supper Driving through the night stopping at a ghostly still Gretna Green Services for coffee and light refreshments  we made our way to Wasdale Head our base for our next ascent, Scafel Pike. Arriving in darkness the head  torches of other teams could clearly be seen through the still night air on the hillside, already coming down.  Wasting little time we dressed in our mountain gear still wet from our last challenge and stocked up with  energy bars before setting off. Bacon rolls would be ready for us on our return but that would be some 5  hours away.  As before the lower green pastures gave way to rocky landscape and as before wild streams rushed down from the hill side. The rate of climb was greater than before and we soon entered the cloud  base into an eerie white fog a mere 913 meters in total, straight up on rock-paved paths. The summit this  time was snowless and void of all life. Another team arrived and looked bemused as we assembled out flags  took our team photograph. And again as before as quickly as we could in we made our way back to base  camp. Sunshine of sorts greeted us as we descended out of the cloud, recrossed the torrents of white water  throwing themselves down the mountain, back to the buses and the comfort of hot bacon ( or vegetarian  substitute ) roll with a warm drink.  Fatigue and sleep deprivation was beginning to take its toll. Simple organization and communication took a  little longer, tempers a little shorter and greater levels of concentration were required to accomplish any task.   As the minibuses departed for our final mountain the enormity of the challenge started to sink in as we tried  to recover and regain missed sleep knowing full well with a matter of a few hours  we would be climbing  another 960 meters in whatever weather awaited us there.  As our challengers drifted in and out of sleep they noticed that the rain we had been dogged by so far had  passed over us. Sunshine, and occasionally bright sunshine, swept the landscape. Our drivers for the first  time put on sunglasses. The car park at Pen Y Pas at the base of Snowdon was full but with the precision  that bomber command would have been proud of, our drivers deposited our challengers, departed and made  their way to the Idwal Hostel with our "happy" South African host who still needed to get over the 14-14 draw  the day before.  The ascent of Snowdon dragged on and on. Stops were more frequent. Heavy, tired limbs seemed heavier  than before. Sam Harland carried a flag and we followed. Eclectic melodies of songs were sung to distract us  from the pains we were all now feeling. The Pyg Track met the Miners Track and we climbed. The path  deteriorated to single file in places and we scrambled over the rocks and  still all the boys kept going.
Reaching the zigzag section we entered the cloud base but this cloud was brighter than before. The sunlight  had fought its way through the cloud as did we. No rain here but a cold wind swept over us as we rounded  any unsheltered outcrop. Reaching the ridge our boys instinctively found the path to the summit and that was  it within moments we had achieved our final goal. Tiredness gave way to celebration as we raised our flags,  congratulated ourselves and contemplated our achievement. Returning to our transport for our short journey  to our final meal and our awaiting beds our challengers glowed with the knowledge that they as a team had  achieved something that most adults can‟t; 3000 meters of climbing, 25 miles of walking and travelling 1300  miles all in some of the severest weather seen in British summer for many years, conquering the three  highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales without rest as Team Beechen Cliff. All monies raised  this year will go to Children‟s Hospice South West with the presentation being made at the end of term  assembly. Our grateful thanks this year go to our sponsors Black Pearle Maritime Security who paid for part of our
accommodation, flags and some refreshments and Edward Kirk at Scholar who sponsored our T shirts.
The Challengers were:
Moses Attah, Rhys Bevan, Jonathon Conroy, Benjamin
Dance, Alex Dodgson, Bradley Forder, Joseph GibsonKing, Oliver Harding, Sam Harland, Jack Holman,
Dominic James, Thomas Johnson. Simon Jones, Max
Kombert, William Lonsdale, Alex Manaton, William
Monachino-Ayres, Jamie Noonan, Martin Paley, Harry
Parfitt, Jack Payne-Johns, Charlie Pearce, Ethan Rose,
Robert Sayers, Sam Seager, Tom Shellard, Leon Van  Der Meer, Jack Watters, Tom White. The Staff were: Dave Brewer, Amanda Denning, Giles  Denning, Andy Mason, Adrienne Baker, Tom Moat,  Chris Stewart and Mark Clarke. The Three Peaks Challenge returns in two years as  there are plans to scale other peaks next year.

Richard Stewart
Three Peaks Organiser

The difference a few meters climbing makes!

The Fantastic View!

The Final Summit!

The Staff

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