The James Hopkins Trust is a charity based in Gloucestershire that provides care and support for families in Gloucestershire with children who are life limited or life threatened. Having supported them as our House charity over the past year we’ve had the privilege of seeing first hand some of the work they do and the amazing impact it has on the children and their families, and it's for this reason that we decided to support them by raising money for them by attempting the National Three Peaks Challenge.
On Tuesday 1 August, the alarms went off at 04:30 and we set off for Scotland, reaching Fort William in time for a large lunch before heading off to the start point. At exactly 17:00 hours we set off at a brisk pace, reaching the peak of Nevis in challenging conditions within two hours, and running down to complete it in a total of three hours eighteen minutes. We drove overnight, starting our second ascent at 04:00 the next day up Scafell Pike. This was extremely tricky due to tiredness from the climb the day before and the long journey, but we completed our second mountain in under three hours, meaning we were on the road to our final mountain by 07:00. We reached Mt. Snowdon by lunch, and began our ascent as quickly as possible, taking the miner’s route. Through challenging conditions on the peak we managed a good pace, reaching the top in just over two hours, and on the way back began to push for a good time, running off in an hour, and completing our National Three Peaks Challenge in 22 hours and 22 minutes.
Each of the three peaks was a challenge in itself, doing them within the period of a day proved a real challenge. Combining this with the fatigue and car journeys, at many points throughout the challenge it felt like giving up was a very real option, but all of us were absolutely determined to see it through, helping one another through especially tough times where it seemed there was no end to the debilitating climbs. Something we learned on the mountains was the resilience that friends and a team can instil, and the ability of a person to keep going and push on even after it seems every ounce of energy has been used up. It was incredibly rewarding standing atop the mountains, knowing you had completed yet another tough climb, and the feeling of exhilaration and relief reaching the finish line is something that we won’t forget.
Finally, what really pushed us on through the difficult times was the knowledge that we were doing it for such a worthy cause, and just the prospect of putting a smile on some of the children's faces was enough to drive us to complete our challenge. It would not have been possible however without the enormous help of our driver, Mr Cooper, who tirelessly put in the hours getting us safely and quickly from place to place, and of course Mr. Penny who helped us boys with organisation and logistics, as well as invaluable experience and encouragement during our climbs. We are thrilled to be able to say that we have raised a total of over £2,500 plus gift aid, and huge thanks must be given to all those who have supported us by donating. All of us involved found it immensely rewarding and hope what we have raised will help those less fortunate than ourselves.