Elgan Hallett truly went the extra mile for Action Medical Research in June, tackling his own version of the Ultimate Three Peaks Challenge.
Elgan, of East Harling, Norwich, climbed Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon with the added challenge of cycling between each mountain – all in just four-and-a-half days instead of the usual seven.
He shares the diary of his endeavours, including meeting the hero who inspired his original challenge on the final peak…
Many people have heard of the Three Peaks Challenge but to up the intensity of last year’s 555 Challenge, I decided to do it differently and test myself on a more gruelling cycling and trekking version of the Three Peaks.
The Ultimate Three Peaks Challenge is a unique and extremely demanding challenge, where the biggest challenge was to do it on my own with as little support as possible.
The course consisted of cycling 430 miles through some of the best, most dramatic scenery in the UK. The three highest peaks in Britain got me climbing over 10,000 feet in the some of the wildest terrain the UK has to offer.
The route began at Fort William, from which I ascended Ben Nevis and then worked my way to the Lake District, ascending Scafell Pike and then on to finish in my birthplace of Snowdonia and a final ascent up Snowdon/Yr Wyddfa.
The reason for doing all of this was in memory of our daughter, and Ella's sister Seren. I have already completed some challenges in 2015 and it is all in order to raise money in support of Action Medical Research who are dedicated to funding vital research to reduce the high rate of premature birth and improve treatment. Over 60,000 babies are born prematurely in the UK every year and premature birth is the biggest killer of babies in the UK. Action Medical Research is funding research to help find the causes of premature birth and develop new treatments.
Below is the story of my journey…
Sunday 12 June (Day 1)
Set off for the summit of Ben Nevis at around 9.30am and was a nice start, as was in the sunshine mostly. A bit steep here and there and poor visibility at the top made for a tough challenge. No views to see at the top itself, just was very cold and windy. There was even some snow to contend with but not that much so as to worry.
I could see how many people get in trouble up there should they venture up at the wrong time of year or in the wrong clothing. I even met a few people who were doing their own 'traditional' Three Peaks challenge, which was nice. Wasn't expecting to bump into many on my travels!
Monday 13 June (Day 2)
Wasn't quite expecting the foul weather today, wind and rain for most of the morning, but at least it dried up after lunch. The damage was done though as I was pretty soggy even with my waterproofs on!
Some tough climbs early on and pleased the panniers didn't really make all that much difference. Some lovely scenery when I was able to see it and a lot of climbing at over 7,200ft. After the hard climb up Ben Nevis yesterday, some knee pain set in so medication sought and a warm bath to get ready for the longest leg of the journey tomorrow.
Today I also reached my donation target of £1,000!
Tuesday 14 June (Day 3)
A good day today, weather was kind and made it to the Lakes in good time while looking after my knee, which gladly was not a big issue. Some 140 miles covered and enjoyed most of it. Even a 25% incline right at the end didn't stop me!
Support crew (Mum and Dad) arrived after lunch and I was glad to see them as they could take the panniers I had been carrying. So pleased and thankful for them supporting me on my journey.
Big day tomorrow as Scafell Pike and then on to Warrington. A tough and long day in store!
Wednesday 15 June (Day 4)
A long hard day today. Was out the door at 4.45am to ascend Scafell Pike and summited at about 7am. Very quiet at that time of day! Back at the hotel at 9.20am and just in time for breakfast.
Off then on the bike again after a small rest on what should have been a relatively easy 95 miles to Warrington. It started off so promisingly, and was very enjoyable, but at the 35-mile mark some thunderstorms came through and it was torrential rain pretty much all the way from there. Wet clothes, wet everything, so needed to dry everything out AGAIN!
My wife Kate joined up with the team this evening for more support, was great to see her as she is going to help me up the last climb too!
Thursday 16 June (Day 5)
Started the day with a ride from Warrington to Pen-y-Pass near Llanberis ready to tackle Snowdon with Kate. Was a great day, weather was a lot kinder however the terrain was a bit more of a challenge given the tired legs! Although I was feeling low on energy and so was glad of a food stop.
Met Richard Parks of all people today, who not only inspired me to do this in the first place but was also on Snowdon today doing TV stuff and so was delighted to speak to him on the way down. My parents had already spotted him and told him about our journey so when we saw him he was kind enough to spend some time with us to talk about the challenge and what it meant to me. He's a super great guy and he even said it was humbling and gave him goosebumps that I was there because of him. Unbelievable!
So that was it, 4.5 days and all targets met. Oddly I felt like I could do it all again and was a strange feeling to think that the journey was over. Will need to think bigger and better next time!
It's a nice feeling to be completing a challenge that not only helps me recover and deal with what happened to me but also helps others to hopefully stop them going through the same.
I must say a massive thank you to Mum and Dad for being such brilliant support; it was so nice having them there to help me when I needed it most. And to my wife Kate, for travelling to see me after work and then looking after me and my broken body. She also kept me going by force-feeding me sandwiches. On top of that, she took on Snowdon with me up the Pyg track, the hardest way up!
To support Elgan’s fundraising, please visit action.org.uk/sponsor/ElganHallett