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Three Peaks Walk/Cycle Challenge

By Janet Fairclough

Last year a friend gave me the idea of cycling the National 3 Peaks, so in June 2013 I fired off an e-mail to Andy Bruce from with an inquiry and started to plan the trip. Initially I had six people interested from our cycling club, but as the months past a number of people dropped out and that just left myself and Colin McCallum.   Still very keen to do the trip we decided to do it with just the two of us. My crystal ball had indicated the weather would be good and by god it did not disappoint. We had five glorious days of sunshine. It is hard to believe we cycled 527 miles and summit 3 mountains without a single drop of rain.

Here is a brief encounter of our fabulous journey through Wales, England and Scotland……

We arrived at Snowdon on Wednesday evening 18th June 2014 at 5pm and started our first leg of the journey. It was a glorious evening, we reached the Summit of Snowdon in 1 hour 40 minutes and completed the climb in 3 hours 36 minutes. That evening we stayed in a really plush self catering bunkhouse in Llanberris.

Thursday morning we were up bright and early at 7am, had our breakfast at 7.30 and on the road for 9am.   Today we were travelling from Pen Y Pass  to Chorley 120 miles with 5128 feet of  ascent, passing through Capel Curig, Betws y Coed, Pentrefoelas, Cerrigydrudion, Llandegla, Llay, Rossett, Holt/Farndon, Churton, Aldford, Saighton, Waverton/Stapleford, Crowton, Frandley, Antrobus, High Legh, Broomedge, Heatley/Warburton, Rixton/Hollins Green, Cutcheth, Leigh, Westhoughton and Blackrod. The route was great with hardly and traffic and so scenic. I was the navigator and this did worry me a bit at the start as in previous cycling trips I don’t think I ever read or followed any of the instructions. I just followed my great pal Phil……   We didn’t pass many cafés today so when we spotted a table and chairs outside a “Bygone Times” shop we stopped and I asked if anyone was making any tea!! When we explained we had travelled all the way from Snowdon a very nice lady called Linda was only too pleased to make us a cuppa.

While we sat enjoying our cuppa some of their friends called by whom where from St Helens what a coincidence!!  As we arrived into Chorley we could not resist stopping at the Ice Cream parlour for a well deserved and delicious ice cream before completing the last ¼ mile to the South Premier Inn.

Friday morning following what was to become are daily routine of up at 7am and on the road for 9am.   Today cycling from Chorley to Wasdale 110 miles with 8236 feet of  ascent passing through Brindle, Samlesbury, Mellor, Ribchester, Longridge, Inglewhite,  Scorton, Galgate, Lancaster, Nether Kellet, Carnforth, Wharton, Milnthorpe, Lindale, Haverthwaite, Spark Bridge, Broughton, Ulpha/Seathwaite, and  Eskdale green.   As we approached the lake district the Sat Nav sent us off the route onto the B5074 which initially we were quite please with as the  A590 looked very busy. This road had many rolling hills and after cycling for some miles I notice the mileage did not seem to be going down so got a bit concerned as we were travelling towards Windemere. So had to back track back to Newbry Bridge and get onto the busy A590.   Lots of climbing today and did an extra 11 miles so it was pretty late when we eventually arrived at Wasdale. We did managed to get a sandwich at the Wasdale Head pub before arriving at Wastwater Youth Hostel just before 10.30pm

Saturday morning started our climb up Scafell Pike just after 9am and arrived at the summit in 1 hour 44 minutes. We completed the climb with a bit of a run down to finish in 3 hours 30 minutes. Then a quick change into our cycling gear and of course a quick cuppa before starting the cycle from Wasdale to Annan 75 miles and 4661feet of ascent passing through Gosforth, Ennerdale, Kirkland, Ennerdale Bridge, Loweswater, Low Lorton, Embleton, Uldale, Dalston, Carlisle, Rockcliffe, Gretna, and Eastriggs

Tonight I was suffering with a bit of a sore bum, sore toe and indigestion (due to eating a lazanya quite late although I have to say it was delicious!!)

Sunday morning bum and toe feeling much better we set off from Annan to Arrocher 137 miles over 6091 feet of ascent, passing through Hoddom, Lochabie, Crawford, Abington, Lesmahagow, Strathaven, Eaglesham, Newton Mearns, Barrhead, Johnstone, Houston, Bishopton, Bowling, Dumbarton, Renton, Alexandria, Tarbet and Arrocher.  As cafés were few and far between we had our own “road side café” with cuppas and cake provided by Andy!!

Today we lost some time navigating on the Erskine Bridge looking for the cycling route through to Loch Lomand. So we had to cycle on the A82 to make up a bit of time. We arrived at the hotel at 9.50. Arrocher was  in a beautiful idyllic setting. The hotel did us a delicious Cheese Sandwich, Chips and Coleslaw which was washed down with a much needed Southern Comfort!!

Monday was an easy fast ride just staying on the A82 all the way to Fort William 71 miles and 4115 feet of ascent.  Lots of time trialling today!! We arrived at Ben Nevis just after 2pm had some lunch and a couple of cuppas before starting the climb up Ben Nevis. We reached the summit in 2 hours 47 minutes. Colin was suffering a bit on the way down (with sore bum!!!  I wonder why??). We finished the climb in 5 hours 32 minutes.

In total we cycled 527 miles with more than 28,231 feet of ascent. My quote for the trip: “We cannot be compared to a Sat Nav”, as a Sat Nav only lasts around 10 hours where we lasted much, much longer!!!

Travelled home leaving Fort William at 9.20pm arriving back in Bickerstaff 4.30am, giving me 1.5 hours sleep before work!!! It was an absolutely fantastic trip; the weather was glorious all the way from Wales through England to Scotland not one drop of rain in 527 miles and 3 summits. That’s got to be a record!!!

For more pictures check our Club Photos page

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