We had an incredible weekend doing our fund raiser – Three Peaks in Three Days. The experience was magical… and made possible by the whole team of people who got behind the challenge and supported us in so many ways.
For the three days we were blessed with good weather, which made all the difference!
On Friday we were joined by pupils from West SILC who had the biggest adventure that they have had in their lives so far as they were pushed (and pulled) to the summit of Pen-y-ghent by our strong and steely group of volunteers. Over 40 people came along to support the big push, including Jamie Jones-Buchanan and people from the Leeds Rhino Federation, Charlie Pyatt from West Leeds Schools Sports Partnership and staff from CBRE in Leeds.
On the Wednesday before the event we had calls from 14 of our volunteers who were no longer able to come along on the Friday to help with the challenge. My heart sank! Without the volunteers we were not going to be able to climb Pen-y-Ghent with these children. I was in fear of having to cancel the event. But good old Facebook came to the rescue! After putting out a plea of the social media site we were connected by so many wonderful people who were prepared, at the drop of a hat to come along and support our attempt to get the children to the top of the mountain.
The climb was not easy, for those pushing the chairs and for the children who travelled in the Paratrekers. Thanks to Gordon from GM4X, the wheelchairs were equipped with lumbar supports, harnesses and head rests, making the bumpy ride my comfortable for our willing guests, who I might add, giggled and squealed with delight all the way to the top of the mountain and all the way back down again!
On Saturday we were joined by our youngest ambassador, Jack and our good friend Elsa who used the TerrainHoppers to climb Whernside. Both Jack and Elsa were absolute stars. Elsa confessed that it is the highest she has ever been since becoming a wheelchair user.
A big thank you goes out to the lovely lady who lives at Whernside Manor who allowed us to park in her driveway! It made life so much simpler for us.
Sunday was a big day for me, as I had not climbed to the summit of Ingleborough since Andy and I did the Three Peaks challenge, many, many moons ago. We had tried to climb the mountain a few weeks ago, but our ascent came to an end when we reached the scree slopes. That route was impassable. It was back to the drawing board. This made us even more determined to have another go. Under the guidance of Jonathan Smith, our long-time friend and mountain leader, and with an army of volunteers we began the climb from Ingleton.
As we reached the dreaded scree slope, the group divided into two group. Group 1, under the lead of Monster Peter continued their way following one route up to the summit, whilst my gang picked our way across the boulder field and the rocky, steep ascent at the other side of the mountain. My route over the rocks was tricky and I’m so pleased to have had a few strong folk to help me out when I found myself detangling in a few strange positions in the TerrainHopper. Once I knew I had climbed over the worst bits I made the ascent to the summit, hand in hand with my son Adam. It was a very special moment for us both. Andy would have been proud.
A special thanks goes out to Enterprise in Northallerton for sponsoring the event. Also, a special mention to Caroline for her enormous efforts in raising some of the sponsorship money and to her partner Mike for driving the wheelchairs to the start of each walk and making sure that they were all charged back up again for the following adventure.
The four Occupational Therapy students from Hallam University who were on 10 week placement with Access the Dales have been pure joy to work with. Congratulations to all of them for achieving what they did and thank you for believing in our motto "Making the inaccessible accessible.
And thank you to everyone who volunteered in some shape or form to make our Three Peaks in Three Days a challenge to remember.
Three Peaks in Three Days