Their story, in their words….
Our challenge was to climb over 10 peaks in 3 days. We got the National Express Bus at 9:30 am and got to Keswick at around 6:30 pm, we immediately started walking towards our campsites and the first and biggest problem we faced was our heavy bags. The bags were really heavy and ….the packs made us tired very quickly but we kept going and got to our campsite just before it got dark.
Before sleeping I looked at the map with the group and judging by how far we had walked for 3 hours and the rest of our journey…we decided to change our route… we would go to peaks every day around our campsite and return there by night.
The next morning, we woke up at around 5:30 am and we quickly packed up our tent…splitting its parts between to distribute the weight. Our packs were still very heavy and really slowed us down and the weather was really hot so we had to keep taking short breaks often. We reached the top of Helvelyn at around 2:00 pm. That was really slow and at that pace we could not have gone all the way to Scafell Pike (which was our initial plan).
When we reached the top of Helvelyn, we cooked our first lunch: Noodles. We were extremely tired and the weather was very hot too, but the breeze at the top of the mountain cooled us down a little. We enjoyed our lunch and soon after, we departed again. We kept hiking along Helvelyn, climbing down and up the close-by peaks as we didn’t want to just stop at Helvelyn.
Along our course around, we spotted a beautiful pond, and we decided that we will go all the way down to see it from close. We just wanted to get the full experience. So that’s what we did. We knew that was a gamble to make it back to our campsite before dark. But we took the risk. It was worth it. The pond was very cool and beautiful although the journey down the peak was excruciating.
After a few minutes, we decided to make our way back to our campsite. We read our map and started to go around and up another peak to lead us to our campsite. From far, the peak to be climbed looked manageable but as soon as we got near we saw how steep the peak was. We were out of energy by climbing about 20% of the way. Our legs were lethargic and our water supply was running low too. We took many breaks because of our heavy bags and it was getting dark. That was when we knew for sure that we would not make it back to our campsite for the night.
A group decision was then made. We were going to wild camp. That’s the excitement we signed up for anyway. But we couldn’t camp anywhere on steep terrain so we knew we had to climb to the top of that peak. We kept going and we finally made it to the top just in the brink of time, just before the sun went down. We were thrilled because we were going to wild camp, right at the top of a peak. So we set our tent and made some pasta for dinner and then we slept. By the way, the four of us were sleeping in a three-person tent. So, no, it was not comfortable.
The next morning, we got up at around 6, leaving almost instantly. We were very nearly out of water and we needed to refill our supplies soon. So we hiked down and around mountains to get to the road. It was an extremely difficult descent with heavy packs, the burning sun and almost no water. We were nearly dehydrated but then luckily we heard a waterfall not far from us so we followed it along our decent and about 500m from the road we saw the waterfall. Reaching there was a mission but when we did get there we knew that the waterfall was one of the best experiences of the whole challenge. We replenished our water bottles and cooled down in the water for about half an hour. By then, it was afternoon so we sat down there and cooked our lunch near the waterfall. It was a truly amazing experience.
Following our map, we headed back towards our campsite. We did face some difficulty finding our way because of our lack of knowledge with a compass and map but we did manage to find our way eventually. Tracing our way around we finally saw our campsite. By the time we made it back, it was getting dark, so we camped quickly and made our dinner and slept.
Since our tickets were pre-booked, we could not afford to be late to our coach and miss it. With that in mind we decided to walk back to Keswick….By early afternoon we reached Keswick.
It took us a few hours to find a place to stay. We found a shared room but since there were not enough beds for all of us, we were given two beds in the caravan. Again, enhancing our experiences. We walked around the city day and had proper food after two days of just pasta and noodles. It was a delightful treat.
We sat together on the last night and talked about what we had done. What we had achieved, what we had not achieved. We knew we hadn’t done the 10 peaks as they were laid out on the map, but counting the peaks we did climb, we weren’t short of the 10 peaks. We just hadn’t covered the distances between peaks but we still climbed many of the peaks around Helvelyn.
It was our first time going onto a challenge like this and through that journey we saw different sides of life, we felt the thrill of adventure, the challenge of life and the difficulty of unforeseen problems which has developed us into better, wiser and stronger individuals. We have learnt many lessons from this challenge and we would like to thank The Mark Evison Foundation for funding us and supporting us on this wonderful challenge. We may not have completed the 10 Peaks Challenge, but we have surely done a challenge on a personal level and as unexpected life can be, not everything goes to plan, but we still come out of the problem stronger and better than before and that’s what really matters. After doing such a challenge I want to encourage other young people to take opportunities like this and challenge themselves. Organisations like The Mark Evison Foundation are out there trying to support the youth into amazing experiences and crossing a barrier so there is no need to avoid them. Take the opportunity, savour it, enjoy it and live it, because it definitely is worth it.