Matt’s story: Conquering the National Three Peaks challenge!
Matt works for Mixd, a web design agency based in Leeds. He decided to take up the Three Peaks challenge on behalf of Family Fund after working with the charity on designing our new website. While working on the site, Matt was inspired by the family stories he read and wanted to raise funds to help us support even more families.Read some of our family stories here
What is the National Three Peaks Challenge?
The National Three Peaks Challenge is an endurance challenge that involves climbing the highest mountains in Scotland, England, and Wales within a 24-hour timeframe. The three peaks are Ben Nevis in Scotland which summit stands at 1345 meters (4413 feet) above sea level, Scafell Pike in the Lake District of England which reaches a height of 978 meters (3209 feet), and finally Snowdon in Wales which has an elevation of 1085 meters (3560 feet).
With a total walking distance of 23 miles (37km), the challenge requires careful planning, physical fitness, and a well organised team to accomplish the challenge successfully.Read about how Matt prepared for the challenge
Starting in Scotland
Matt told us how the day played out: “We arrived in Fort William, Scotland on the Friday to prepare for an early start on Ben Nevis. Most of the UK was experiencing a heatwave at the time and Fort William was no exception. The heat and the nervous excitement made it difficult to sleep well through the night. We had a 4:30am alarm set to get us up, fed, and ready for the long day ahead.
“Due to the heat, we started an hour earlier so that we could get to the summit avoiding as much heat as possible. It was a busy trail with many people seeking the opportunity to go up in sunny weather. The sun did mean that we were spoiled with the most majestic views out over the lochs and neighbouring landscape. Even though we knew Ben Nevis has at least some snow on it almost all year round, it was still surprising to encounter it at the top. It must have been at least 16 degrees on the summit. With Ben Nevis being the tallest of the three mountains, we had a target time of five hours to complete the walk and we managed it in four and a half hours!”
Rising above the lakes
Then it was on to Scafell Pike: “After a long drive, we arrived in the Lake District, England. There were reports of a possible incoming thunderstorm due to hit approximately when we would reach the summit. So, the aim was to try and get moving quickly to avoid getting caught in it.
“The sun was bearing down on us, and the initial 200 metre climb was brutal. Our numbers dropped from ten to six people at this point. It just proved too much at this stage for some people.
“I struggled at one point but was totally driven to complete the challenge for Family Fund, so I soldiered on.”
“Halfway up the mountain it got a little cooler which was a massive relief. With the sunny conditions the clear views out over the Lake District were stunning. The six of us descended Scafell Pike and we completed this peak an hour ahead of the target time which was fantastic. We showed great perseverance through the heat.”
The final climb
“The sun started to dip as we drove on to Snowdon. With some spare time banked the whole group of ten regrouped to complete the final peak as a team. No one really got any decent sleep in the minibus on the way down. We disembarked around 01:30am to start climbing Snowdon in the dark. We took the ‘Pyg track’ which is probably challenging during the day, let alone the night. Thankfully, we had a guide with us and that provided invaluable as he was there to keep us in the right direction.
“As we reached the summit, the sky was slowly beginning to get lighter. There was an elated feeling that we all made it to the top as a team and those that had struggled on the other mountain really came through. The route back down was a steady gradient which worked well for our ailing joints at this stage.”
Rest and reflection
“All in all, we completed the 24-hour challenge in 23 hours 27 minutes. The challenge was tough but so rewarding and an experience that I’ll never forget. The toughest part was definitely Scarfell Pike in the heat. The most rewarding bit was completing Snowdon as a team.
“Family Fund is such a wonderful charity to be raising money for. I’m so chuffed to have smashed my fundraising goal! I’d encourage anyone to find the right challenge for them (maybe with a group of friends or colleagues) and raise some money for a good cause!”
Matt’s fundraising challenge was one of determination, perseverance, endurance, and teamwork. The money and awareness he raised goes a long way in supporting families with disabled or seriously ill children. A huge thankyou goes out to Matt for all his hard work and committed mindset in completing the National Three Peaks challenge to raise money for Family Fund!