‘Ain’t no mountain high enough!’ Fundraisers complete 3 Peaks Challenge for Victoria Education Centre
On 14th June (2014) Mark Kettle, Chris Williams, Pete Williamson and Tara Williamson from Raymond Brown Construction (RBC), based in Ringwood, completed the National Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for Livability.
The group climbed three of the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales: Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, including all the driving in between in 23½ hours! Overall they covered 23.5 miles of walking and they climbed a combined height of 3,407m.
Mark and the group undertook this challenge to raise money to refurbish the Victoria Education Centre’s (VEC) caravan at Rockley Park, Poole. VEC is a residential and day school in Poole which provides specialised, high quality care and therapy for young disabled people from 3 – 19 years old, and it is part of Livability.
The students at VEC have physical disabilities or complex medical conditions or needs. The caravan is used most of the year by students of the school, their families and carers and is in desperate need of refurbishment.
Mark Kettle’s son, George, has a severe form of Cerebral Palsy and is profoundly disabled. George has attended VEC since November 2012 and stays at the school 52 weeks of the year. VEC and Livability rely on donations and fundraising to keep vital facilities like the caravan at Rockley Park open for all the special children and their families to use.
So far, they have raised nearly £2,000 in donations and are still counting!
Here is Mark’s full account of the Challenge:
‘We started the challenge an hour earlier than planned having heard that the A82, the main route out of Fort William, was closed that evening, so we needed to allow enough time to get through before the road was shut at 10pm.
After months of training, Trekking poles flail at 3.50pm as we march off in the glorious sunshine up Ben Nevis on a very steep path from the Youth Hostel. The climb is a relentless uphill hike mainly on man-made steps, scree and rock. Two and a half hours later we near the summit and have to cross a snow field and with the mist gently drifting across the horizon, suddenly causes a white-out. Following the shadows in the distance, we safely find our way to the summit, take a few photos and start our descent back to Fort William. We complete Ben Nevis in 5 hours and 5 minutes and after stopping off for a bite to eat we start the long drive to the Lake District.
We arrive at Wasdale Head at the foot of Scafell Pike in the Lake District at 2.30am with none of our party having slept on the 5½ hour journey from Fort William. We layer up, head torches at the ready as we wander off into the darkness, only to be greeted by a full moon and fellow trekkers head torches sprinkling the landscape like twinkling stars and it’s a comforting sight. By sunrise, we are at the summit of Scafell Pike with shocking pink and orange staining the sky like an artist on a rampage. We have descended again by 7am and quickly on our way to Snowdonia.
Before arriving at Pen Y Pass car park for the third summit, Snowdon, we stop off at a layby in the forest to take on some food and fill our water bottles. One of our drivers, Jon dropped us off at 11.30am at the foot of Snowdon and together with Martin, the other driver, we headed up the Miners Track at full throttle in the blazing sunshine. After a steep climb to join the Pyg Track, the path zig-zagged up again to the railway track and then another 20 minutes or so and we had reached the summit of Snowdon surrounded by many ill-dressed people who had cheated and taken the train up. Mark and Chris took the descent at a blistering pace with Pete and Tara following closely behind whilst Martin gave us new found motivation, inner strength and resolve through encouragement and the delivery of motivational one-liners.
Mark was safely down by 3pm, Chris at 3.10pm and Pete, Tara and Martin back at the car park at 3.30pm and we are all filled with emotion. We had all done it – there may be hundreds of other people who have also completed the National Three Peaks Challenge in under 24 hours, but this thought detracts in no way from our very personal and very real team achievements.
So far, we have raised nearly £2,000 in donations and our team have been touched by people’s generosity, giving what they can to raise much needed funds for VEC. If you would still like to donate to this amazing cause, however big or small, and be part of something special, then please follow the link and donate online: www.justgiving.com/Mark-Kettle1
Thank you for your support!’