Mind over matter: First Years meet Three Peaks Challenge to raise funds for mental health charity

An account in words and pictures of the first years’ undertaking of the Three Peaks Challenge. They raised more than £2200 for Network for Change, a Leicester-based mental health charity, double their intended target.

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Part 1: Packing and leaving

We arrived at the agreed time of 7am at Carl’s. We packed up the kit and donned the T-shirts Lauren had organised and headed off on the long and winding road towards Fort William. There was a real sense of excitement and anticipation. This excitement soon wore off, to be replaced by an eagerness to just get out of the car and start walking. A final stop at Morrisons saw the introduction of what was to become the phrase-of-the-trip “I’m just going to get some fresh air.”

Part 2: Ben Nevis

We headed up Ben Nevis at 17:50. It was muggy and pretty quiet on the mountain. The first part of Ben comprised ascending steps, with beautiful scenery to behold. The hope was that the rain would hold off, but unfortunately, it was not to be. Before long, a dismal cloud loomed overhead and wet-gear was frantically sought. It was starting to get dark as the final ascent got underway and it was becoming progressively more difficult to negotiate the weather conditions. The summit was eerie and unexpectedly there were even patches of snow. Visibility was poor under blizzard-like conditions but we forged ahead to the summit we could not wait to reach. It is hard to describe the cold at the top. It was absolutely ghastly.  Undoubtedly there must be beautiful views from the top of Ben Nevis but at 21:30, we were not going to be privy to them. Needless to say, after so much incessant rain, each rock was slippery, to be negotiated only by torchlight. The descent felt interminable, and, understandably, it was hard to keep going at times. Once back to the car everyone fell asleep leaving poor Mark to valiantly drive us out of Scotland towards the Lake District.

Part 3: Scafell Pike

It would be an understatement to describe the road to Scafell as winding. Scafell’s reputation for shattered rock debris did not disappoint either! We forged ahead despite the lingering weariness from Ben Nevis. We made excellent strides to ascend Scafell but an unlucky turn meant the descent was elongated and it forced us onto tricky ground. The perseverance and resilience of the team at this point was highly commendable. To make matters worse, the toilet facilities at the bottom (excuse the pun) were appalling. We re-grouped and considered our options. It was collectively decided to do the sensible thing at this point, which was to get a hot meal inside us, and do Snowden in the morning when everyone was fresher. It would consequently be safer for everyone to re-embrace whatever elements lay in store for us in Wales.

Part 4: Snowdon

The rain greeted us on the Welsh border but our hostel was quirky and comfortable. Our spirits were lifted when we found the cupcakes and sweets that Becki had dropped off for us. Everyone was much restored after a hot shower, some warm food and a good night’s sleep as we headed off for the last hurrah, Snowdon. Wales only has itself to blame for its reputation for abysmal weather conditions. It wasn’t long before torrential rain turned the path into a veritable waterfall. It has to be said though that we were treated to beautiful “mystical views” before the clouds properly settled in for the afternoon. We also didn’t help ourselves by taking a challenging and unnecessary temporary detour! It looked like Snowdon too was going to test our resilience but we reached the summit before long. The rain continued for the majority of the descent and aches and pains were becoming increasingly difficult to forget, but as the last mile came into view there was a first-rate singsong. At last, we could hang up our hiking boots. Or wring them out rather!

So it was quite the adventure and we are very grateful to everyone who contributed towards us significantly exceeding our initial fund-raising target.

Low lights:

  • The weather, the weather, the weather
  • The toilets at the base of Scafell Pike
  • The mystery of the missing talcum powder
  • Slippery rocks
  • Sheer edges and debris
  • Jelly Beans that taste disgusting
  • The sparkling-water mix-up
  • Aches and pains
  • Being out-smarted by a Dyson hoover
  • People snoring (no names mentioned)

Highlights

  • The amount of money we raised for Network for Change
  • The smell of deep-heat and tiger-balm
  • Mark’s outfit
  • Becki’s goodies!
  • The tipsy hostel-owner
  • Warm food
  • Naps
  • Ryan being so supportive and sweet
  • Tommy who gave us directions to Tesco
  • Sarah’s rendition of Disney tunes
  • The relief that getting some fresh air brought
  • Clarifying that the pants at the back of the van belonged to someone in our group (again, no names mentioned)

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Therese O’Donoghue, on behalf of the 2014 Leicester DClinPsy Cohort.

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