Hi All,

Just back from the challenge, which we completed in 22.48 hours. Not too bad for a bunch of unfit challenge drivers...

The minibus we had was a 54 plate Transit, 15 seater. This left loads of space for our team of 5 walkers plus 1 driver, and meant we could easily spread out and find somewhere comfy to sleep. Unfortunately it was restricted to 62 mph which seemed incredibly slow on the motorways. However, despite this - we managed the target drive times of 6 hours from Ben Nevis to Wasdale, and 4.48 hours from Wasdale to Pen-Y-Pass (so it can be done..!).

These drive times included being stuck behind a motorbike doing 40mph all the way from Tyndrum to Sterling, and having to use a B road instead of the M74 to avoid a 60 minute traffic delay (advised by overhead motorway information signs).

Our transition times from mountain to minibus, and vice-versa, were very quick, the longest taking just 15 minutes. This is where many teams will lose a lot of time without realising it, and you need to get the transition sorted as quick as possible.

Starting Ben Nevis 0915 we had a great walk, despite a very misty summit, we reached the top in 2.15 and it took a further 1.45 to descend - total time of 4 hours. On the road 15 minutes later, we encountered some traffic and some delays, but reached Wasdale by 19.30.

It was not raining at Scafell Pike, but the ground was wet and slippery, and the mist was low and thick. We saw a few head torches in the Hollow Stones area as we set off. As we arrived at Hollow Stones, we saw the head torches starting up Mickeldore before dissappearing into the mist.

From Lingmel Col we were also in the mist, which became extremely thick as we climbed onto the summit plateau. Visiblity was down to less than three metres, meaning we could only just see the person next to us, and following the path was very difficult. Even when at a cairn, you could not see where the path went to next...

This meant very slow progress to the summit, and slow progress back. The mist had dropped down to Hollow Stones, so progress was painfully slow.  Once out of the mist, even our descent with visibility was slow because the path was so slippery. It was more like a controlled fall back to Wasdale than a walk down the path. Lots of slips and falls, and a few minor injuries.

Eventually we returned to the minibus in 3.30, and were nearly straight back on the road. It was now 11.30 pm, and 13 hours since starting Ben Nevis. Still on track...

The drive into Wales was good, with little traffic and no delays. We arrived Pen-Y-Pass, and started up the Miners track at 4.30am. It was raining, and quite blustery and cold, but nothing too severe to worry about. As we climbed the track to Glaslyn, the mist had come down and the wind got a bit stronger. We found the base of the zig-zags easily and started to climb the final section. Unfortunately, visibility once again became problematic, and we made a few mistakes trying to stick to the path, which cost us around 30 minutes.

Even on the top path (Llanberis Route) it was difficult to identify the path, and progress was slow to the summit. We had a fairly quick descent, but still kept straying off the main path now and again.

Halfway down we met the three guys we had seen on Scafell Pike. They had seen us too on Scafell, and said they lost a lot of time using the Mickeldore route. It was unlikely they were going to make the 24 hours now, but I hope they finished OK.

We arrived at Llanberis Mountain Railway Station at 7.57am, and stopped the clock, 22 hours 48 minutes after starting Ben Nevis.

Some photo's at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=55108&id=598625926 

Good luck with your challenge..!

Richie..

 


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