West Highland Three Peaks Challenge

With an aim of raising money for The Co-operative's Charity of the Year, the RNID (Royal National Institute for Deaf people), I had the rather mad idea of climbing three mountains in 24hours. The area covered by our group of stores encompasses Lochaber, the Isle of Skye and Barra and the Uists, so naturally I looked for the highest peaks from these three areas:
  • Ben Nevis
    1344m and quite obviously the highest point in the UK.
  • Sgurr Alasdair
    996m and the highest point on Skye, set in the midst of the Cuillin Ridge.
  • Beinn Mhor
    660m on South Uist and the highest in the southern half of the Western Isles Archipelago.
  • In order to complete this challenge, we assembled in Fort William at Lunchtime on Monday the 6th June, before setting off on the long Journey to Uig and the ferry to Lochmaddy on North Uist. A speedy drive south across the beautiful rugged landscape of North Uist and Benbecula got us to our hotel, where after a quick drink we retired for the night, at half nine!
    After a little over three hours in bed, we were up again, showering and heading out into the cold night air. Another rapid drive south and we were deposited in the pitch black at the end of the Loch Eynort Road, with only the vaguest sense of what the surrounding landscape looked like. Nevertheless, with torches in hands we set off.
    It took about two hours to reach the summit, and as we did so the first rays of sunlight started to light up the sky to the east. However, with the cloud rolling in and out and a tight schedule to keep, we decided to head back. It was then, as the cloud parted for the final time that we saw the landscape that we had trudged laboriously across (right). In the cold light of that early dawn, it was a beautiful view, the lochans sparkling as the breeze gently played with the surface and the hills beyond turning red as the sun rose. But we had no time to sit down and enjoy the view, as we had a ferry to catch.
    We actually arrived back at the ferry with nearly 45minutes to spare, thanks to our speedy driver! Two and a half hours later, we were back at Uig and soon heading east towards The Cuillin. With Grey weather and poor visibility, the photos were few and far between, so I shall direct you to My previous climb if you want to see the mountain and its views. The important thing, however, is that we were up and down in under 5 hours, meaning that we set off towards Ben Nevis over an hour ahead of Schedule.
    As we entered Fort William, the weather looked promising, and soon we were setting off up the mountain, passing the last few stragglers as they came down. It was a rather odd experience, and we recieved many 'funny looks', but we were determined to succeed and so kept on fighting the pain to climb ever higher up The Ben. Above us, we could see the cloud looming menacingly around the summit, but we kept going, hopeful that it would clear.
    Alas, it was not to be, and as we reached the 1000m contour, the world ceased to exist. That was certainly what it felt like anyway as the cloud consumed us. with visibility down to 4 or 5 feet (it was difficult to see our own feet), we reluctantly decided that it was not safe to continue onto the Ben's notorious plateau, and so we turned back. As we descended from the cloud, the sunset was playing games on Loch Eil (above), and patches of blue sky taunted us on the horizon, but behind us that cloud was sinking ever lower on the slopes of Britain's tallest mountain, confirming to us that we had chosen wisely.

    All in all, between the four of us, we raised over 1200 for the RNID. Thankyou to all those who sponsored us.