Last weekend, I attempted the 3 Peaks Challenge* – ascending Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales respectively. During the trip, and while pushing myself to get up (and down), I learned some things about myself, and the world. These I’ll be sharing here in a series of blogs over the course of this week.
The group was pretty mixed, ranging in age from late twenties to mid-fifties, and ranging in ability (we discovered) almost as widely. We all gathered in North London and piled our stuff into the minibus Pere had hired for the trip. The first day was a long old slog up the M1, M6 and M74, to a hostel in Glencoe. We made very good time, at sometimes breathtaking speeds from Pere and his co-driver Kate, arriving just before dark. The first thing I learned on the trip, at the hotel restaurant down the road from the hostel, was don’t order the crumble for pudding until you’ve seen the size of the fish & chips!
Day one: Ben Nevis. It was immediately clear that Pere was focused on the objective of climbing each peak on schedule, to make sure we had time to complete the challenge, and some of us found ourselves falling behind. It was becoming obvious that one of the women wasn’t really up to the climb – surprising, because we knew she’d trained for it, maybe it was different terrain. We tried to encourage and support her, but it just wasn’t happening. And we had Lesson One: there are times when you have to be prepared to cut loose those who are holding you back.
And that’s true in real life too, sometimes it just takes too much of your energy to try to pull people along with you.
After Valerie dropped out (and her husband volunteered to go back down with her), speed picked up. I was still bringing up the rear by some way, but progress was steady. And I soon felt myself flagging … and I’ll tell the story of the second lesson in my next blog.
* Lite version, over 2 days.