At the beginning of 2017 I set myself a series of challenges collectively known as the Triple Three Peaks Challenge. One of those challenges was to last the whole of the year and entailed climbing the equivalent height of the three highest mountains in the world. This became known as the Alternate Three Peaks Challenge.
Now virtually everyone can tell you that Everest is the worlds highest mountain and maybe a few would know that K2 was the second highest, but I doubt many would have known that Kangchenjunga was the third let alone even heard of it! The three together have a combined height of 26045 metres or 85,500 feet above sea level, which equated to approximately 2171 metres per month if the challenge was to be completed by the end of December.
Now I live in the south of England, and there was no way I could afford or have the time to travel to Snowdonia, The Dales, The Lakes every weekend. So with the exception of a trip to Dartmoor, Exmoor, a couple of trips to the Brecons, and one trip to Snowdonia I did virtually all of the hills in the South Downs and southern chalk uplands of Wiltshire Oxfordshire and Berkshire. In fact that challenge could be done anywhere in the UK maybe with the exception of East Anglia!
I did not have to be out on the hills every weekend. I spent weekends with the family, various events with the Ordnance Survey GetOutside team, recovering from a knee injury suffered coming off Cadair Idris, and even a spell in hospital. With careful planning it is always possible to fit in 2 or 3 good walks a month and still have a normal family life. This is even something that could have been done with family.
We were blessed with a good spring and early summer and this was put to good advantage. Longer hours for walking allowed me to get ahead of target, so when the weather was bad I didn’t have to push things, or take risks, to maintain the schedule.
With very few exceptions I enjoyed the whole challenge. I was doing what I love, getting out in the fresh air and walking for miles. In fact to be personally honest the getting to the top of the final hill Hackpen Hill was something of an anti-climax. Yes – I was proud of what I had achieved but I quickly realised it was not the completing but the partaking that had brought the pleasure. It was the whole challenge – the planning, preparing, navigating as well as the walking that I enjoyed the most.
Now that the challenge is complete, I will still continue to walk at the weekends because that is what I do. But I do like to push myself and as the years tick by with ever-increasing frequency my desire to achieve more has never diminished. I am already looking ahead and laying the plans for the next challenge. Maybe this one will be a long walk instead.
The other reason for doing the Triple Three Peaks Challenge was to reaise money for Parkinson’s UK. I put in all the hard work over the past year – all I am asking you is to put your hand in your pocket. I know everyone is asking for money these days but just a £1 helps – every penny counts for this worthwhile cause.
To donate please go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/triple-three-peaks and give whatever you can.