On the weekend of 9th/10th October 2004, a groupof volunteers attempted to climb all three of the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales within 24 hours as a fund-raising effort for Orphan Aid.
|`I thought Muslims in the UK were far too sensible to go in for all that sweaty physical mountaineering stuff'
God the Most Merciful says in the Qur'an:
`And they give food, inspite of their love for it to the poor,the orphan and the captive (Saying) we feed you seeking God's countenance only. We wish forno reward ,nor thanks from you.'
Holy Qur'an [76 : 8]
Some of us find ourselves in the privileged position to be living extremely comfortable lives. However globally the number of poor and needy, displaced peoples, refugees and orphans grows daily. In some respects we have become focussed on the fulfilment of our own desires and have forgotten the compassion we should have towards those less fortunate than ourselves. It was with this in mind that a group of us decided to embarked upon the Orphan Aid 3 Peaks Challenge.
In order to promote the work and support the essential projects that Orphan Aid operates in aid of orphans around the world, a team of sponsored climbers literally pushed themselves to their limits to complete this challenge.
The '3 Peaks Challenge' consists of climbing and travelling between:
· Ben Nevis Scotland
· Scafell Pike England
· Snowdon Wales
It is a well known challenge which attracts large numbers of participants every year. There are competitions that are held predominantly in the Summer, which is the optimal season for the challenge. A number of groups decide to raise money for charity and that is what encouraged us to undertake the challenge. We asked our sponsors to donate whether or not we managed to complete the challenge just in case we failed, with all donations being given to Orphan Aid. We decided to attempt it at the end of the viable season (in October)! We were not racing against anyone else
just the clock!
Six of us set off on Friday night (9th October) in our 6-seater MPV owned and driven by our own dedicated driver Muhsin. We had to pick up one of our crew from Stansted Airport at 11pm and then head up to Scotland. The driving was excellent and we managed to arrive in Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis by noon on Saturday. We ate some delicious chicken rice and then prayed and got ready to start our challenge.
At 2.06pm we set off and the 24 hours started ticking! The Ben was magnificent and surprisingly the weather was excellent with good visibility and the temperature was quite mild for most of the ascent. This was the most climbing we would do in a single ascent and for this mountain we started the climb from just 30 metres above sea level at Fort William. Unfortunately though it proved too much for some of our muscles and one or two of us started to get cramps. We reached the top at 5.05pm 9ascent taking 2 hours and 59 minutes). The top was covered in snow and was quite cold! We didn't waste time at the top and started our descent at 5.15pm,reaching the bottom at 7.20pm (total climb time 5hours 14 mins).
The scenery throughout was absolutely breathtaking, and we took plenty of pictures on our digital cameras and were being filmed by an 'Islam Channel' camera most of the way. At the bottom we were greeted by a wonderful surprise. Our driver Muhsin had gone and bought us some chips! It may sound like nothing to you reading this now, but believe me it was heavenly to all of us! We departed Fort William at 7.45pm and made our way from Scotland back into England and into the Lake District to attempt our second peak, Scafell Pike.
As you may have noticed, we were going to attempt this peak completely in the dark! This is one of the reasons why most sensible people undertake the challenge during the summer when they can climb all three peaks in daylight. However, we were not going to be put off and equipped with head-torches we set off minus one participant. One of the crew had sustained quite a bad leg sprain on Ben Nevis and therefore it was decided that he would not complete the rest of the challenge. We reached the base at 1.45am (drive time from Ben Nevis, 6 hours). That left us with 12 hours 21 minutes to climb this peak and the next!
We started the ascent at 2.15pm and it was a difficult climb. Scafell is quite steep and the paths are not as well marked as on the other peaks; the darkness further compounded these problems. We managed to get to the summit by 5am (ascent taking 2 hours 45 minutes).without any delay (just a couple of minutes to take a flash photo and a bite to eat) we started the descent arriving at the bottom at 7am) total climb time 4 hours 45 minutes). As some of you reading this will know, the descent is far from easy. In fact a lot of scramblers will tell you that they find it more difficult that the ascent. We were now beginning to tire as we left the area at 7.30am.
We now had only 6 hours and 36 minutes to drive to and climb up and down Snowdon!!!
After a quick stop for fuel and food we swiftly set off. We had one more peak to go and were seriously feeling the strain. My boots have seen quite a few peaks in their time as I bought them in my university days. They have served me extremely well
.but now they were falling apart! It started on Ben Nevis with apiece of the rubber sole coming away, and by the time we got to Snowdon only the inner shell was left! We were beginning to feel the way my boots looked, but we carried on regardless. Now we had more sprains to nurse and tired bodies to lug up the final peak. We tried to rest during the drive and our driver did a magnificent job :driving against his body clock to give us the best shot at the challenge. We managed to reach Pen-Y-Pass for the start of our ascent of Snowdon at 11.20am (drive time from Scafell Pike an extremely good 3 hours 50 minutes). However the challenge was looking impossible. We had to climb and descend Snowdon (tallest mountain south of Scotland at 1085 metres) an 2 hours and 46 minutes!!!
We decided to take the miner's track up, and this time our driver accompanied us for this last peak. We decided to split into two groups to maximise our chances . We started climbing at 11.30am and the first group reached the summit at 1.15pm (ascent time 1 hour 45 minutes) spurred on by the pace of our rested driver! It was extremely windy at the top and we were nearly blown off! We had just 51 minutes left to descend! We had a rush of adrenaline and decided we would attempt to complete it within that time (even though it looked extremely unlikely) and we hurtled down as fast as we could : running, jumping and on more than one occasion nearly diving off!
Sadly we didn't quite manage to complete it by 2.06pm (the 24 hour mark) the first climber arrived back at 2,35pm with the rest following, some of us taking in the scenery as we knew that we had not made the challenge time (total climb time 3 hours 5 minutes).
Our total challenge time: 24 hours 29 minutes
We managed to climb all three peaks, but unfortunately just missed the time limit by about half an hour.We allfelt relieved that we had completed the challenge without any major injury or mishap and for this we thank God. We now had to return to London to rest our limbs (some of us had work the next day). We stopped off at the services on the way back for a well deserved meal and we arrived back home at around midnight on Sunday. We thank God and we thank all those who pledged money and Muhsin for the use of his MPV and also Islam Channel for their interest. The video is being edited and the footage from the Challenge will be aired after Ramadan.
I am writing this while we are still collecting money (after the event). So far we have had something in the region of £7.000 pledged and we are now busy trying to collect all of this.
This brings us to something I hope everyone reading this will be able to do make a donation to this charity to help orphans. You could have done this by sponsoring our attempt at the'3 Peaks Challenge' but you can still donate. Please donate whatever you can but remember that £50 sponsorship will, God Willing, feed a whole family in the blessed month of Ramadan. Multiply your rewards by encouraging friends and family to get involved also.
Please click here to sponsor the climbers on line.
Dr Abdus Samee
For more information contact Abdus Samee on:
Tel: 07956 803560