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GRANGER REIS 3 PEAKS CHALLENGE

13/07/2015

On Thursday 18th June, 8 Granger Reis colleagues set out on what proved to be one of the toughest endurance challenges the majority of us had faced. Over the next 48 hours, we would complete the 3 peaks challenge by rail, conquering the tallest mountains in Wales, England and Scotland, all whilst raising money for Railway Children. 

As we stood in Temple Meads train station to leave for Mont Snowden, surrounded by newly purchased kit, and after many weekends sacrificed for training, emotions were high! Jumping between excitement, apprehension and blind panic! 

Mont Snowden was a night climb, with light quickly disappearing, and midges attacking us, we eagerly awaited our teams to be called to begin the ascent. As we faced some of Snowdon’s craggy rocks and difficult terrain, it wasn’t long before we were in total darkness. Seeing the streams of light from the walker’s head torches wind up the mountain was a particularly memorable sight. We were all excited to reach the summit and know that we had ticked the first mountain off of the list. The descent proved a trickier, slower affair and it was the very early hours of the morning once we all arrived back on the train.

After only a few hours sleep, we began preparing for our second mountain, Scafell Pike. The elation we had experienced mere hours before was all but gone and Scafell Pike seemed that little bit more daunting with how tired we all were.

We set off and the first few miles were nice and flat, leading a few us to expect an easier climb than the night before. It was a short period before we reached the bottom of the ascent, and it was an even shorter one before we realized just how tough the climb would be! Scafell Pike is shorter but considerably steeper than Snowdon and our legs could certainly feel the difference.

Despite the burning muscles and aching joints, we reached the half way point in remarkably quick time. After a quick break we set off for the summit, with fog rapidly setting in. Visibility soon became minimal and with the rain lashing our faces, the journey to the peak of Scafell Pike was for many of us, the toughest climb. 

The relief felt at the summit is tough to describe! However, things became more hairy on the way back down. We quickly realized that in all the fog we had gotten off course. With some quick thinking and some helpful passers by, we made our way back down the mountain, realizing it was not the same side that we walked up! Once again, relying on the good will of strangers, we reached a farm at the bottom where we were able to use a phone to call for a taxi to get us back to the train. All in all, it was a close call, and we questioned whether we would make it back on time, but make it we did, with time to spare for a quick pint before we departed again!

Only one summit now remained. At 5am we headed out to conquer the biggest mountain of them all- Ben Nevis. Best described as an extremely long slog. The majority of terrain is easier than Snowdon, and it’s not quite as steep as most of Scafell Pike, but it just…never…ends! The weather changed from clear to foggy, and the walking surface from gravel to deep snow, and at times it felt like the summit would never appear. When we finally got there, the pain momentarily slipped away and we all took a moment to reflect on our accomplishment. Just as on the way up, the descent seemed to go on for hours but was made easier in the knowledge that we were all but done, and we could truly relax once we reached the awaiting train.

Having had time to reflect, we all feel incredibly proud of our achievements. It was a challenge in the truest sense of the word but the money we raised, and continue to raise, makes it worth it.

We would like to thank all the volunteers that helped us on our journey. They made and served food at ungodly hours, they kept us safe on the mountains and they did it all with smiles on their faces. We would also like to thank Mrs. Pratt, whose kindness meant we were able to call a taxi to get back to our train and complete the challenge when it all seemed in doubt!

Let’s see what next year brings…

Dan Jones- Research Associate, Property & Construction Practice

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