Just 26 months after nearly missing out on completing the National Three Peaks Challenge, on July 8th at 5.38am a team from Seaford College achieved the incredible feat of climbing the three highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales in under 24 hours (23 hours and 37 minutes to be precise).
The Seaford team comprised of eleven, including one driver and ten walkers. Teacher and houseparent Matthew Pitteway organised the event, and he said: “we all had one thing in mind: not to miss out again. Conditions on the hills were pretty awful with rain and strong winds nearly all the way, which made the going tough. We had no views to speak of at all on any of the summits, but soldiered on nonetheless.”
The Seaford team set off up Ben Nevis (1,344 m) at 6.01am on Tuesday 7th July. Although they started strongly, they found it difficult to get the right balance of kit due to the weather conditions, and so they had to stop several times to readjust and change clothing. The team eventually summited in just over three and a half hours, which was about half an hour longer than they had planned. Pausing for a quick picture, the team then shot straight back down, taking only one and a half hours in the descent.
The Seaford team then had to travel to Wasdale Head, but the driving conditions were excellent and they covered the 270 miles quicker than they anticipated. They started to climb Scafell Pike (978m) at 5.30pm and covered the ascent in less than two hours, descending in under in an hour, which put the team back into contention to complete the tough 24 hour challenge.
Finally, the team had to drive the 180 miles to Snowdon (1,085m), and they made good time. Setting off up Snowdon at 1.50am, the Seaford walkers summited at around 3.00am having taken the route up from Llanberis. The weather conditions at the top were less than desirable, with driving wind and rain, so the victorious climbers only stayed there for only a couple of minutes.
Matthew Pitteway added: “the experience was amazing and the group did incredibly well. We stuck together for the most part and really helped to push each other on to complete the challenge. Spirits were high and the experience is one we will always remember. “