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Hildenborough Explorer Scout Unit - 3 Peaks Challenge

Welcome to the 3 Peaks Challenge event, July 11th to 14th 2003

During the second weekend of July a very special expedition takes place for the older Scouts and Explorers from Hildenborough, near Tonbridge.

This site will be updated daily during the event allowing you to share in the experience and watch the progress of the challenge team.

It began a year ago when the Group came up with the idea to train for, and undertake the Three Peaks Challenge.

This extremely physical and demanding challenge involves climbing the mountains of Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Snowdon in Wales within a total of 36 hours. No mean task when you consider the climb up Ben Nevis is virtually from sea level and the driving time between the mountains is over 12 hours alone!

Weather could also be a major factor in the success of the challenge - there is quite a strong possibility that there may still be snow on the summit of Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike is famous for being very close to the wettest place in the UK. But you don't want it too hot either - sun burn and heat exhaustion could be just as bad as rain.

The 21 people attempting this challenge have all completed a minimum of four practise hikes of at least 20 miles and have also shown commitment to the challenge by attending several training evenings. These training evenings have included navigation exercises, a first aid course, route planning, risk and emergency procedure and equipment analysis.

The group have been learning to work together as a close knit team to enable them to help each other out with any problems that may occur during the weekend.

Hildenborough Explorers are also using this opportunity to promote Explorer Scouting in Tonbridge by using local radio and newspaper interviews plus a local leaflet drop that advertised the challenge as well as Scouting in general.

All participants in this challenge have also been raising sponsorship to pay for this event plus also to raise urgently needed funds for the rebuilding costs of the Hildenborough Scout HQ.

Hildenborough Scouts are very grateful to their major sponsors: Motorvation of Shoreham near Sevenoaks, Mercedes Benz for loan of a mini bus, Severn Insulation of Essex, The Half Moon Pub in Hildenborough and Stormont Trucks in Hildenborough.

A special thanks also goes out to all the people of Hildenborough for the very generous support

KM/FM radio have also supported Hildenborough Explorers by providing radio exposure of the challenge and through this PR have helped to raise the profile of Explorer Scouting in Hildenborough.

During the event this page will be updated with Photos and some comments of the progress of the team during the 36 hour challenge. Watch this space for the action as it happens

(These pages are being updated during the evenings of the event - reports and pictures will be downloaded using Inmarsat Regional BGAN technology via Stratos Satellite Communications)

The Hildenborough Explorers started their journey north on Friday 11th at 7am from Hildenborough. After venturing north of the border they stop to stretch their legs.

It started to rain and Steve the challenge leader feels the cold having set out in glorious sunshine. On the left is Clive from Harbledown Scout Group - a support driver for the weekend and on the right is Ken the Hildenborough Scout leader looking really concerned that Steve is cold !.

After a few more hours on the road the group stop to take in the mountain air. Just an hour to go ! Steve is still feeling the chill. But finally after twelve hours on the road we arrive safely at Inchree Hostel ten miles short of Fort William with all its mod cons.

The forecast for Ben Nevis is winds South West 30 mph gusting 45 mph and the cloud ceiling will be 900 feet and more cloud is forecast.

The first climb, Ben Nevis, is forecast to be cold, wet and with low cloud base - the team start out in high spirit following final preparations.

The forecast does not let the team down - Success at the first peak. It's cold and wet but a quick celebration before heading back down.

The team get safely down at 3.30pm after a brief food fill it's time to hit the road as the team set out for the lakes. Spirit in the team is good and no injuries.

A longer than scheduled journey finds them arriving in the lakes at 10pm for a late supper and then the team head for bed with the thought of a 4am rise. The weather is good with a fine forecast.

This report is timed 8.20pm Sunday evening. There are no pictures with this report as the camera is still on mount Snowdon, You will be pleased to know that a short while ago the challenge team called the base camp at the Bethesda to say they were on course to complete the challenge.

Due to the hillside location of base camp getting sight of a satellite to down load pictures is proving to be a problem but we will endeavour to do our best later tonight or Monday morning. Certainly in the next few days we hope to have a selection of pictures of this successful event.

Saturday evening saw them arrive in the Lake district behind schedule due to bad traffic from Scotland. This meant the team did not get into their bunks until midnight. They were back up again at 4.00am Sunday morning and met up with their guides at the base of Scar Fell Pike at 6.00am. The journey to Scar Fell allowed the team the opportunity to see some stunning landscape as the sun rose over the mountains to lift the mist from the valleys below.

Scar Fell is a difficult climb and it took the team nearly six hours to complete. Immediately on completion the team set off for Snowdon, during which they completed the necessary re-hydration and food routines.

The journey to Snowdon was slightly delayed, but they managed to head for the summit at 5.00pm having collected their guides this climb on their way through Llanberis.

This evening will see everyone relax and enjoy a celebration dinner. This has been a fantastic feet of endurance and everyone should be justly proud of Hilldenborough Explorer Scouts achievement.

Here is a chance to see some of the event during the second day as it happened.

The team arrived for the accent of ScarFell Pike at 6am. The sun is starting to rise over the mountains as the team set off on this tough climb. They pause for a few minutes to take on food and water before the final assault.

The second peak is conquered and the team take the opportunity for a brief celebration. The climb has been tough and taken longer than initially planned. But the mountain guides have been impressed by the standard of the team, the preparation, and the determination to succeed. A steep decent helps to pull back some valuable time - next stop Snowdon.

After a longer than scheduled journey and having collected the guides, for the Snowdon climb, from Llanberis, everyone is assembled, at the start of the Pyg track, for a final briefing session with the guides. It is hard work so before the final push the team take time to rest and reflect on the achievement so far.

Having started the accent of Snowdon at 5pm it was important that everyone paced themselves to ensure success, without the expense, through injury or exhaustion, of any team members. The guides were very aware of the effort put in by everyone and worked the group well to get them safely to the top of the third and final peak.

During the decent and as the day drew to a close, the team took the opportunity to enjoy the sun setting, bringing to a close a day that had proved to be an experience, for many, that will be difficult to beat.

Back at the base camp, situated a few miles away, in Bethesda, the team settle down to well deserved celebration meal. After a long journey, it is smiles all round as the Hildenborough Explorer Scouts challenge team arrive safely back home.

This event was reported by the team back to Stuart throughout the weekend who kept this web site updated on receipt of the details.

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