Three Peaks: Triumph Over Adversity

29th June 2016

A team of 17 intrepid climbers from JMW Solicitors and Kings Chambers set off to scale the Three Peaks Challenge (climbing Scotland, England and Wales' highest mountains in 24 hours) on Thursday 23rd June. The ensuing story is one of a team who had to overcome several obstacles, before they even set foot on a mountain! Here, Catherine Anderson, member of bus #1 tells one part of the story..

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The Three Peaks team, prior to setting off from Manchester

Bags are packed, walking poles and blister plasters ready and we are off. Three hours later, the pavement outside JMW was beginning to feel like home, but we are finally soaring up the M6 with our sights firmly set on our first challenge; Ben Nevis.

With a six hour journey complete, three hours behind schedule, we are acutely aware that time is not in our side; despite the amazing views that Ben Nevis offers, the dark clouds are ominous. The route to the top is relentless, exhausting, but breath-taking. After a good three hour ascent, the summit is in sight. We barely have time for a quick summit selfie and a square of much needed chocolate before we start our descent. With every step we take, darkness is falling and the rain is persistent. As dusk falls 'it probably won't get much darker than this,' we say optimistically. We were wrong. Guided by Andy through the pitch black, rain and cloud cover, every steps feels like a challenge; shouts of 'mind the gap' 'watch that drop' are the only words spoken as all our efforts are focused on getting down. Four hours later, legs shaking, 'that is not an experience any of us want to repeat' comments Andy.

Back to the minibus, the warmth and light feels like a 5 star hotel. The news of the referendum, victory speeches and resignations, makes for a surreal experience as we wind our way towards the Lake District. A quick stop for a Greggs sausage butty and we hear news that our fellow climbers, in what would become the 'Doomed' minibus, have been struck by all manners of sickness. As we arrive at Scafell, the summit is cloud covered, legs are aching and without signal we have no news from the 'Gibbo Hotline' (as Danielle's increasingly frantic texts would affectionately become known).

As we begin our ascent up Scafell, it becomes apparent that it's going to be tough; it is a steep climb and we only break for the occasional Jelly Baby and a motivational quote ('pain is just weakness leaving the body'). When we hit signal the news literally 'brakes' that the Doomed minibus is stuck just south of the Lakes, waiting for a replacement minibus. We press on for a further 2 hours, scrambling to the top, we have stopped believing Andy and Sam's 'only 10 minutes to go girls' long ago, but finally make it to the top.

As the pain of Scafell becomes a distant memory, we commence our journey to Snowdon in a minibus sponsored by Deep Heat and painkillers, with Andy having the enviable job of driving (after little sleep and having climbed 2 mountains); we open the windows, engage in eager conversation and stock up on coffee and Red Bull. Regular stops were necessary and due to the ill-fate of the Doomed minibus, a diversion through Liverpool and the risk of darkness, we come to the decision that, despite our efforts, our 24 hour target is unrealistic and unsafe.

We are reunited in the Premier Inn lobby, head straight for the shower, alcohol and a hot meal; we are delirious and no doubt receive some sideways glances from the locals. We raise a glass to survival and wearily agree to Andy's suggestion of meeting at 6am to conquer Snowdon.

As we climb up and down our final mountain, spirits were high and we felt a great sense of achievement that, despite the odds being against us, team JMW have started and finished the 3 peaks challenge together and, most importantly, raised an impressive amount of money for CBIT . As we discussed the highs and lows (the McDonalds and Greggs rating highly), we realised that the damp, foul smelling minibus had started to feel like home. We certainly did our very best in the circumstances we found ourselves in... and despite the conclusive statements of never wanting to see another rock again, we found ourselves googling our next challenge the very next day..

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No more mountains left - the team defeats Snowdon!

The story from bus #2 (aka the "Doomed" minibus) will be available to read shortly!

Thank you so much to all our climbers; Charlotte King, Naomi O'Rourke, Alison Chu, Sam McElroy, Catherine Anderson, Charlotte Boothroyd, Heather Bennett, Andy Lilley, Steven Brown, Liz Fletcher, Kim Peet, Fran Powell, Anna Ozarowska, Helen Mulholland, Rory Davis, Steven Loxton, Charlotte Law and Rachel Galloway.

We're delighted to say that, at time of writing, we have been able to raise �5,166 for the Child Brain Injury Trust. However, more sponsorship is always gratefully received. If you'd like to sponsor us, please visit our JustGiving page; https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/CBITthreepeaks

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Catherine O'Rourke is a Solicitor located in Manchester in our Business Crime & Regulation department

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