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Seven employees of luxury travel provider Scott Dunn recently completed the National Three Peaks Challenge, taking on the task of climbing three of the highest mountains in the UK and raising over £7,000 for vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
The Three Peaks Challenge sees participants climbing the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales – Ben Nevis (4,413 ft.), Scafell Pike (3,209 ft.) and Snowdon (3,560 ft.), respectively. Scott Dunn's team, dubbed "Chicks for CHICKS", completed the challenge within a 24-hour time limit, including 13 hours and 50 minutes of walking.
Fiona Bacon, Vicky Douglas, Kirsty Edwards, Kate Newman, Sophie Pickles, Michelle Smith and Carly Will each completed the combined 11,000 ft. ascent, walking a total of 26.2 miles each. As of the time of publishing, the challenge had raised more than £7,000 to enable more children across the UK to attend a CHICKS respite break.
Kirsty has kindly provided us with the following account of her team's achievement.
The seed for the challenge was sown at an office Christmas party by one of our team, who had recently climbed Kilimanjaro and was reliving the memories of her trip. This inspired us to start looking for a challenge to aim for, and think about how we might take part and raise money for charity along the way.
The Three Peaks seemed like a great choice. Living at sea level on the south coast made this quite a daunting prospect! Our team was rapidly formed, comprising eight adventurous girls representing almost every department of Scott Dunn, the luxury travel company we work for, which organises amazing tailor made holidays all over the world.
CHICKS became one of our charity partners back in 2017 and was the obvious choice for us to raise money for, particularly with three of the team being mums themselves. Sadly, one of our team – Lucy Oxborrow – couldn’t actually take part in the climb due to an injury, but was with us in spirit and has been part of the team throughout with her continued fundraising efforts, especially with the office bake-offs!
Training took place over the summer in the beautiful South Downs. Fundraising efforts were also in full flow, including a charity BBQ lunch at our Chichester office, bake sales, a plant sale and foreign currency exchange, all of which helped us work towards our fundraising target.
Before we knew it, we were on our way to Glasgow – travelling through the stunning Scottish countryside, heading to Fort William to tackle Ben Nevis! The ‘Ben’ was kind to us – mild, no wind, sunny-ish, treating us to spectacular views, with just a little mist at the summit. We completed it in 5 hours and 20 minutes, 10 minutes ahead of our target. A great start to the challenge!
We then whizzed down the motorways, stopping briefly in Gretna for a burger, before we made it to the foot of Scafell in darkess, donning our head torches for the next peak. This was more challenging, with a river crossing thrown in, and was a little more interesting in the dark! As we approached the summit, the rain came and the wind got up, but we had time for a quick photo before heading down in the now pouring rain. We took great care on the way down as the terrain was slippy, making sure to get back over that river crossing without taking a tumble!
Once back in the van, it was time to get our heads down for a quick kip before getting ready for Snowdon. After a brief stop for a driver change, it was suddenly time to get our kit back on in the now torrential rain to which North Wales was treating us! Undeterred, we set off with head torches on, following a last-minute route change by our guide due to the rapidly deteriorating conditions.
This was the toughest of all the peaks. The cloud was down, and there was very heavy rain and strong winds, but we battled our way to the top fuelled by wine gums and glucose sweets! We summitted exactly 24 hours after starting Ben Nevis, which gave us an even greater sense of achievement.
The descent was quick and we raced against the clock to complete the challenge within the 24-hour time frame, with just ten minutes to spare. We celebrated with the most delicious bacon butties and hot chocolates at the Pencenunat Isaf Snowdon Café, served by the very charming Stefan who even provided us with ‘homemade’ foot spas and gave us somewhere to shower and change. Fantastic Welsh hospitality and an amazing way to end the challenge!
Huge thanks go to all of Team Chicks for CHICKS for completing this challenge and raising money to enable more vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people to attend a CHICKS respite break. Click here to donate to the team's fundraising campaign and help them reach their £7,500 target!