© Joyce Goes - Derwent Water

Three Peaks Challenge Renewed

“The Three Peaks Challenge involves climbing the three highest peaks in England, Wales and Scotland, often within 24 hours. The three mountains are Snowdon in Wales (1085m), Scafell Pike in England (978m) & Ben Nevis in Scotland (1344m).”

This is the definition of the Three Peaks Challenge as discribed on the official website. Amazing isn’t it?! During my trip to The Lake District in England I decided this may be a fun one to do, apart from the ’24 hours’ part. My training started last weekend – my own Three Peaks Challenge. I was blessed to spend three full days in The Lake District in England. Let me take you through them.

Sathurday – PEAK 1:
How lovely to wake up with the sound of birds singing, leaves whistling in the  wind and … WIEHOO WIEHOO WIEHOO!

“For f*ck sake, Sue! Do you mind turning off your alarm?!”

But it wasn’t her alarm. No, it was the fire alarm. The English Breakfast’s sausages were to much for the alarm system and caused it to WIEHOO us all awake.

With four layers of fleece, an amount of energizing food that could even make Homer Simpson run a marathon and our fair share of big enthusiasm, we started our way up Helvellyn; the third-highest point in England.
First part of the track was pure hiking up, up, up. Finding ourselves getting rid of 3 of the 4 layers of fleece in the first hundred meters. The last part went via Striding Edge; a 1,5k scramble to the Helvellyn summit. With hands and feet and with steep slopes going down for hundreds of meters on either side, we made our way to the top of the mountain. The views during the scramble: a-ma-zing. The views on top of Helvellyn: no idea as the mist kicked in. The only thing you saw were shadowy figures in the distance and the sound of cheering people that made it to the top. It felt like being all alone on top of the world. This completed the whole experience.

© Joyce Goes - Striding Edge
© Joyce Goes – Striding Edge

Sunday –  PEAK 2:
With our calves ready to explode and some over-all soreness we made our way to the south of Derwent Water. A walk that we thought would only take an hour or so, turned into a two hours walk.
Around 3 p.m. we arrived at the second and hardest peak of all: “Afternoon-Tea-Peak”. It took more than 3(!) hours to get to the top layer, after finishing the sandwiches and destroying the scones. Dog-tired and around 6 p.m. we continued our way around the lake. What started as a walk in twilight soon turned into a pitch-black, ‘blair witch project’-esque walk, including cellphones without signal and torches (although with working batteries). After 2,5 hours we flopped down in the pub.

Monday – PEAK 3:
WIEHOO WIEHOO WIEHOO! Again did the sausages cause problems in the hostel’s kitchen.

With mist covering the tops of the higher mountains, a bit of rain and not everyone being as confident in doing another (and harder) scramble, we decided to hike Catbells, near Derwent water.
Losing the easy path all the way up we encountered 2 big, slippery walls which made us do some scrambling after all. Covered in mud, moist because of the mist and climbing the slippery rocks giving us a heart rate above healthy, we arrived at the top.
Low-hanging clouds and a little sunshine provided us with a great panoramic view over Derwent water, making this less bigger hike not the least stunning hike there is.

Compared to the real Three Peaks Challenge we came close in replicating it, didn’t we? No, I’m just kidding. It isn’t even close to! However, Hiking Lake District was one of the most fun, exhilarating and most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done. Lake District – I’ll be back!

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