This is how we do it – #3Peaks

Road map to SnowdonI swear that prepping for the National Three Peaks Challenge was more challenging than the actual hiking. Admittedly, anticipation for me is 90% of the fun!

Bagging the three highest peaks in Scotland, England, and Wales all in 24 hours sounded like an awesome test of body and mind. Miz J.’s discovery of this little gem was ever so brilliant.

We’d start in Scotland, with Ben Nevis (1,344 m or 4,409 ft) for about 6 hours of trekking up & down; followed by a mad six-hour drive down to England’s Lake District to Scafell Pike (978 m or 3,209 ft) for a night hike up the rock peak, est 4 hours; and lastly, we’d haul ourselves along for another five (or more!) hours’ drive to Snowdonia to complete the final peak, Snowdon (1,085 m or 3,560 ft) in about 5 hours. Tah-dah!

However, coordinating the adventure from across the ocean (back home in Ca-nah-da) was a complete test of patience. It was mostly done, of course, from the comfort of the couch, laptop at hand, or at our weekly Wednesday night planning meetings in a bar. But still…lots of negotiation to find the best way for us to rock this goal.

Initially, we decided to go with a company that would provide an “open bus” where we could join in with others to do the challenge on a particular set of dates. Then we realized that if we truly wanted to do this in 24 hours, the group could only move as fast as its slowest hikers (which could ultimately be us) and did we want that wrath and pressure, given we’d be paying 375 GBP per person? Hm. Maybe not. And it just seemed so expensive, even though the price was on par with most of the companies offering the same services.

Then, we chose to switch it up and find our own van and driver, order topographical maps of the peaks, learn to use a compass, and do it all ourselves. We tried friends, or friends of friends, and no one had a spare van about or a driver willing to commit to driving like a bat out of hell through three countries and sleeping in the car parks while we hiked. We considered posting an ad on Kijiji for random lads with cars who’d be willing to take Canadian girls on a bit of a jaunt. But we never got that far.

Finally, we figured the 24-hour time crunch was the main obstacle for us completing the challenge on our own. We decided to rent our own van from Campers Scotland, and hike each mountain at our own pace over the period of a week. This way, we get to see a bit of Scotland, England and Wales (Ale! Beef pies! Tea towels bought for mum!) and the like.  Between the four of us, there’d be a driver, a navigator and a peanut gallery in the back (which would also double as the galley).

Flights and camper van booked, hiking maps reviewed and off to the mountains! Or hills. Or Munros. You get the picture. The Canadians are coming. Onward!

 

All my bags are packed… #shameless #johndenver

Piles made. Bags packed.

Bags studied. Bags adjusted.

Took out the tent. That was just a nice-to-have.

Bags hauled to work. Bags re-adjusted. Again.

Lost a towel, a jacket, a thermal shirt and a skirt. Hung on back of door at work.

In total, I’m sporting a 65L pack, and a 40L pack (right?? two??) and a small Lowepro backpack for my camera.

I swear when I moved from Canada to Dubai I didn’t have this much stuff. 

And in the end, it’s not that it’s a lot of stuff, it’s just awkward and bulky. I want to be vaguely comfortable on the plane, and not fussing with the 40L as my carry-on (even though I know it would fit because I’ve used it before, packed to the gills, as my sole piece of baggage/carry-on). The Lowepro pack can actually fit into my 40L pack, but I don’t fancy checking my camera through as luggage…

Packing for outdoorsy fun in Iceland and Scotland has been all about layers. Layers to keep warm. Layers to keep dry. And then there’s the hiking poles, the boots, the -10C sleeping bag… I just may have packed runners, too, when the time is right for a wee stretch.  And an emergency skirt because I’m travelling with ladies who know how to be ladies, and I need to keep up with that program, too. Yikes.

So, I’m kind of breaking my own travel rules by having 3 bags. But those are solo travel rules. I figure for the love of my travel companions I should bring the appropriate gear. They may not want to see (smell?) me in one outfit for 12 days. Or cut corners by solving all gear issues with duct tape.Road trip

Speaking of ladies… here’s to us! Four “girls” in a campervan, bagging Munros, hitting the pubs, seeing the sights. But not eating fermented shark (Iceland, what were you thinking??).

Countdown is on.  Hello, Iceland Air. We’re on our way.