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Three peaks, two victorious challengers and one heroic cabbie…

The Three Peaks Challenge is not for the faint hearted. Cabbies Scott and Seb had meticulously trained, planned and prepared...

Scott Murray and Seb Philp had been planning their Three Peaks Challenge to raise funds for the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans for many months, but they were thrown a curve ball at the last minute...

So what’s the story?

Seb: Scott and I had researched many event companies who provide escorted trips for those who want to attempt The Three Peaks Challenge – to climb Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon within 24 hours. We chose a reputable company, paid their fee, and concentrated on our fitness levels, training and talking to potential donors to reach our fundraising target of £2,000. The company we chose provided all the transport as well as escorted routes and guidance to reach the three summits. Everything was going so well. I had done some training in Yorkshire, and we had almost reached our fundraising target when a few days before we were due to set off, we received the news that their minibus had broken down and the trip was off!

Scott: The event company offered us new dates in August or October, but we had trained for 26 June, planned our time off, and had chosen this month to ensure maximum daylight – so we decided to go it alone. We approached our mate, cabbie Danny Shelton, to drive us the 462 miles between the three peaks plus the initial ten-hour journey up to Fort William and the four-hour journey when we finished from Snowdonia back to London. That is a good mate!

Seb: We also hurriedly went out to buy maps, head torches and a compass, not that I had ever used one before, so that we wouldn’t get lost summiting or descending, especially in the dark!

How was the first peak?

Seb: After a few hours’ sleep in Scotland, we began climbing Ben Nevis at 3.21am. At this time of year, it’s quite light which meant we could enjoy the breath-taking scenery. I wasn’t really expecting to walk through snow in June, and it was remarkable to break through the cloud line as we got higher.

Scott: It took us 4 hours and 40 mins to get up and down Ben Nevis. I had chosen different footwear to Seb and decided to run most of the way back down. Danny had ordered food for us so as soon as Seb got down we climbed in the cab, ate and had a kip while Danny set off for peak number two – Scafell Pike.

Tell us about Scafell Pike?

Seb: Scafell Pike was the most challenging of the three peaks. You are always conscious that you are against the clock, and we got lost for about 35 to 40 minutes during the ascent and ended up walking an extra two or three miles to put our mistake right.

Scott: Worryingly on our way back down we met a man who was with his wife and children. He had taken a bad fall and split his head open and as there is no phone reception on the peak, we joined several other climbers who were trying to find a place where they could get a signal and call for emergency help. Later we saw the helicopter circling and we certainly hope he got the treatment he needed and is recovering.

The second peak should have taken us 3.5 hours, but it took us much longer, which put a lot of pressure on us to complete Snowdon in a quicker time than we had planned. We were in luck that Danny didn’t hit any major traffic on the route to Snowdonia which left just enough time left to complete the challenge within the allotted 24 hours.

So when did you finally arrive at Snowdon?

Seb: We began climbing at 11pm in the dark with our head torches on. As we started to climb, we could see the lights of those who were coming back down which was a very useful guide to see which way the route would take us.

Scott: We were both really tired on this final peak and had to stop to take on energy jellies and water to give us the push we needed to get the job done. Refreshed after our short stop, we knew the time was ticking away and we might not make the finish line within the 24 hours. With adrenaline pumping we began to run up the mountain. I was shattered, but we were determined that we were going to do it and we weren’t going to let ourselves or anyone else down.

Seb: At every step of the ascent and descent of Snowdon we were conscious of the time and the huge effort we needed to ensure we did it. On our way down we knew that it was going to be so very close, and we had to make the decision to run to make sure we did it. And we did. We broke the 24 hours barrier with just 19 minutes to spare! What a relief.

Would you do it again?

Seb: I absolutely loved the challenge and would be up for doing it again. Actually, I’ve been thinking that I would love to get a group of cabbies together to attempt the challenge and raise some more money for the Taxi Charity.

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