The John Roan 2016

Bethan Francis, Anna Leppanen

‘the 3 peak challenge’

Their story, in their words….

“On the 29th August, we traveled from London to our hostel in Glen Nevis by train. The journey went very smoothly even if we were cramped on the floor for half of it as we didn’t have a seat!

The next day, we set off to climb to Ben Nevis after a very early start. We were both apprehensive to do it as we didn’t quite know what to expect but we were also extremely excited. The first challenge we faced were the initial steep rocks we had to climb over as we started to get worried that, if we were tired at the beginning, we would be extremely tired later on. Another challenge was the change in climate. When we first started climbing it was raining, then the sun came out and it was really warm and then as we got nearer the top, it got very cold and windy. Luckily we had packed layers and hats and gloves in preparation for the change in temperature. As we got nearer to the top, there was a lot of fog, which made it a little more difficult to climb. It also made it impossible to see the top of the mountain so it felt as if the climb was never going to end! However, there were other climbers, which made us feel a lot safer. After approximately three hours climbing (not including the few breaks we took for food) we reached the summit. Despite there being a lot of cloud and fog and no view, it was a great feeling to have finally reached the top.

The next day, we made the journey from Fort William to Seascale in Cumbria on Wednesday 31st August. There Anna’s grandma picked us up from the train station and drove us to the youth hostel, as there was no public transport to take us there and she lives nearby. The next day, we travelled to the base of Scafell Pike. One of the main challenges we faced when climbing Scafell is that we took a longer route, which was also a lot more challenging than the one most climbers took. We nearly got lost as it wasn’t a straightforward track, but luckily we saw other walkers who we followed onto the right track. We also had maps which helped us considerably. After several hours of climbing, we reached the top of Scafell Pike. We made our way down the route we should have taken, and then met Anna’s grandma, who took us back to the train station and we made our way to Wales.

On Friday 2nd September we climbed Snowdon. One of the challenges we faced there was the fact that the place we had found on the internet who we were planning to ask to keep our bags while we climbed Snowdon (as we were not staying overnight in Wales and did not want to take our backpacks up the mountain) was not a hotel, like we had thought: instead it was a pub called the Old Station Hotel… However, we asked some locals who advised us to ask the Pen-y-Pass hostel next to the mountain to keep our bags. We did so, and then climbed Snowdon which we found surprisingly the easiest mountain out of the three. When we got down to the bottom, we were both very happy we had finished the challenge and that it had gone so well. We caught a couple of buses and trains to Manchester, and then took a night bus home to London.

Aside from the climbing, one of the biggest challenges for us was the travelling and making sure we caught all the right trains at the correct time. Most of the difficulty was in the planning and finding the easiest and cheapest routes so the fact we had planned it so meticulously made us feel a lot more confident. Also, making sure we had enough food and then cooking our meals in the evening at the youth hostels was a bit of a challenge for us as we aren’t really used to cooking our own meals. We had to be very organised in our meal planning and making sure we had enough snacks and it paid off as we didn’t go hungry!

Overall, the trip was great, it helped us gain some independence and prepared us for travelling outside of the UK in the future, without any help of family members. Also it was very rewarding, it feels amazing to be able to say we have climbed the three highest mountains in the UK, and neither of us can forget how fulfilling it felt when we got to the top (and bottom) of each mountain. Although it was a difficult challenge, we are very glad we did it!”