So, a few of you might have noticed, little Patch likes cake…….alot!!! (nothing to do with me, honest…can’t stand the stuff personally! I am certainly never one to equate my Strava calorie count literally into the difference between a slice of shortbread and a double helping of sticky toffee pudding…..nope, not me!)
Impossible to choose…Rainbow Cake? Coconut & Lime? Courgette & Avocado…really?
Patch began his tour in Wales with a traditional offering of a fine slice of Bara Brith…pretty good run fuel really and delicious with lashings of butter (or so i’ve heard) …and the local Welsh Cakes from Betws y Coed are worth a detour any day of the week!
Upping the stakes on the next cake break Patch went for this delectable slice of coffee and walnut….his argument being fair once again…nuts are healthy run fuel, there’s fruit on the side and coffee has great ‘perky up’ qualities for any endurance event..fair point well made there, Patch!
Already in England it was soon time for more cake trials and alongside Esthwaite Water in the Lake District a slice of Lemon soaked Drizzle Cake came highly recommended! Aside from the fact we were outside getting a good dose of fresh air with our dining Patch was effusive about the health benefits of Lemons……something about its many nourishing elements like vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A,vitamin E, folate, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus and protein………ALRIGHT Patch, just eat the cake already!!!
Al fresco caking…watch those ducks Patch, they heard about the lemony health benefits!
Still in ‘Lakeland Cakeland’ we were doubling up on the cake days with this little slice…..a soft, chewy Cherry and Coconut Slice….proper lush! ‘Nuff said!
Sadly for Patch there were times when I just had no time or appetite for cake (impossible to believe, I know) despite the tempting choices for ever on offer!
Sorry Patch, we just popped in for a water top up!….wait a minute, Honeycomb Golden Nougat Cheesecake……!
Soon we had made it to Scotland with so many traditional delicious, sweet delicacies… shortbread, tablet, cranachan, clootie dumpling, dundee cake, tipsy laird, irn bru and deep fried mars bars!! Patches choice at the start of the West Highland Way was this gooey, zesty Orange, Ginger Whisky Cake…however, I was completely addicted to the homemade wheaten bread… definitely a taste sensation, and I had to keep returning for more. I would have probably taken some away for later if it wasn’t likely to become a bag of crumbs in my pack, not to mention I had just collected another supply parcel from the post office and my pack weight had bulged by another 1.7kg already! Maybe we needed to start cutting down on the cake?
Incredible, homemade wheaten bread at the Tea Cosy Cafe, Milngavie…i need the recipe!
With every cake tour extravaganza there has to be an element of judging favourites. This little number at the St Mocha Coffee Shop in Balmaha was a clear winner for Patch and I….. Cinder Toffee & Scottish Tablet Cake…. need i say more?
The King of Cakes…
Of course this journey was not all about cake. Flapjack was my main fuel of choice and along with a very generous donation of the little oaty treats from the generous guys over at Graze.com many people brought me some homemade varieties to top up the stores on route. Clear stand outs were a wonderfully sticky traybake variation pack with nuts from @SARDAEnglands Val and Brian and a perfect classic recipe plain flapjack from Ellen Cattanach…..thank you soooo much.
Sadly our days of burning 6000 calories are now at an end so the cake consumption has to be reined in, but they will all long be remembered…
A rare moment when Patch is NOT eating cake!
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the cake pics even if you didn’t get to tuck into the goodies themselves. #3PeAksRun is supporting outdoor volunteer charities. If you can spare the PRICE OF A SLICE please donate to Mountain Rescue Teams HERE
Patch, step away from the giant mushroom…..that is NOT a cake!!
Returning home, after a good scrub, some clean clothes, a giant dinner of comfort food and finally putting my feet up I can only now begin to digest the experience of the last 19 days and 18 hours!
People have suggested I must be feeling ecstatic, euphoric, celebratory and proud but to be honest I am currently feeling a strange sense of calm – an inner peace almost with the relief that I reached my goal and completed the challenge, tinged with a little melancholy that despite the comfort of a warm, dry, cosy bed right now I am no longer on the trail, no longer immersed in the simple act of just keeping moving forward. And despite the foibles of what the weather has been throwing at me I already miss being at its mercy and breathing those deep lungfuls of fresh air.
Big weather ahead!
Don’t get me wrong I am very much enjoying this reflective mood, the whole journey has been such a whirlwind of activity that it is lovely now to just stop and relive each day in my mind.
Serene moments up in the clouds!
It does seem like a very long time ago when I was bounding up Snowdon feeling very energetic and strong, I remember wishing that I would feel in such good shape every day but just two long days later I was so exhausted and creaking, my feet red, rubbed and blistered, the worry that I might not be up to this challenge sneaked into the corner of my mind. In the evenings I could barely walk and waking up was even worse but slowly, gradually, my body seemed to get with the programme and each day I began to feel stronger. I still hobbled about like an old woman in the morning but I knew that so long as I didn’t make any sudden movements and made sure to warm up slowly, soon the engine would be humming and I could complete another day on the trail. I also attributed this recovery to the practice of a good, long stretching sesh at the end of each day and the speedy intake of some protein, generally in the form of a shake and/or protein bar kindly supplied to me by the guys at Clif Bar and MountainFuel.co.uk , thanks guys – life savers! I think I have eaten more protein in the last two weeks than I normally would in about 6 months! I’m also quite impressed with my newly defined quads!
Hmmmmm…chocolate or strawberry, chocolate or strawberry….?
Day by day was quite a rollercoaster and I never really knew when I set off how the day would pan out, sometimes easier, sometimes tough. At times my backpack would feel comfy and light and at other times I would be swearing profusely at the very same pack and kicking it unceremoniously into the undergrowth. Some days I chatted with lots of different people , occasional days I actually saw no one at all.
Bivvys, Bothies and Bunkhouses!
Towards the final days my legs started to rebel with shin splints, unusual spreading aches, sore tendons and tender heels which created a whole new challenge for my mind – to handle the frustration and fear of being thwarted at such a late stage. I was also a bit suspicious that somehow these physical manifestations may have been directly linked psychologically to the fact that I was so near the end, my mind and body now conspiring against me….ggrrrr!
Times of trail running pristine perfection!
Even on the final morning I was unsure if I would complete the challenge or have to be satisfied with a ‘2andAhalfPeAksRun’ ( which just doesn’t have the same ring to it does it?!) given the daunting weather conditions on Ben Nevis but I decided to set off and see how far I could get. In the end the fact that I was super over prepared ( gps, back up gps, two maps, compass, recent Mountain skills training course fresh in my mind (thanks Carol Emmons) and even the correct bearings to find the way off the summit in total whiteout!) gave me the confidence to keep plodding on through the brutally buffeting wind and lashing rain slicing like shards of glass against my cheeks, divining each cairn shrouded in the swirling cloud to reach the very top which was a genuinely exhaltant, if cold and wet, moment.
Jubilant spirits heading into Glencoe!
The highest mountain in Britain reached all the way on foot from the highest mountain in Wales with a little evening jog over the highest English mountain on route….the ‘3PeAksRun’ in the bag! All that remained was to get down off this majestic wintery rock without breaking my ankle and we could call it a wrap! (I did slip over three times on the wet rocks of the descent, my trail shoes by now split, worn almost smooth and held together with some gaffa tape…not advisable!)
A wee soggy traildog, Patch, and I made it to the warmth and welcome of Glen Nevis Youth Hostel wet, tired, hungry and dirty but very very content….the perfect end to any adventure!
One soppy Patch Puppy ( he’d definitely be shivering if he had a central nervous system!)
One of the best parts of this adventure has been the incredible people I have met or been in touch with along the way. I have been so touched by the kindness and support of those who have come out to meet me, run along with me, brought flapjack or cake or posted endless encouragement via the social media pages. Your support, encouragement and advice has brightened dull days and motivated me throughout. I met many lovely people along the way too who despite being in the midst of their own adventures took my challenge to heart.
Although this was technically an ‘ unsupported’ challenge in that I was without a support crew to take care of logistics and be on hand along the way I have actually received massive amounts of support by all those who have followed and shared this adventure and I bow to you all with a huge THANK YOU and boundless gratitude.
Patch having a bit of Search Dog bonding time with the lovely Tess!
Massive Thank Yous toos! to everyone who has donated so far to the Mountain Rescue Teams, Search and Rescue Dog Association England and FixtheFells whom the #3PeAksRun is supporting. I am now over two thirds of the way to my fundraising target and will continue to try to reach it ( My fourth mountain, if you will!). Please help if you can by donating a little here at my VirginMoneyGivingPage
EVERY PENNY DONATED GOES DIRECTLY TO THESE WORTHY CAUSES!
Patch and I are now enjoying some serious shut eye…..see you later 👣🐾
Only 1 day to go til the start of my (in the words of BBC Radio Lancashire) ‘totally bonkers’ 3PeAksRun!!
Weather forecast for August in Britain…..check👍
Kit, good to go…..how am I supposed to run with that lot!! Can you spot my mobile physio…. tennis ball Dave?
Accommodation sorted…..check 👍
Energy in abundance….I notice ‘3Peaks’ Patch is snaffling my crunchy peanut butter favourites!
Hmmm….once again, Patch is guarding my favourites – honeycomb flapjacks….there’s going to be trouble!
so…… just need a nice soak in the bath and an early night……*#$!@ it’s already after 11pm! #hownottoprepareformonsterchallenge
After my incredible weekend amongst the inspiring folk at the Search and Rescue Dog Association England I felt a fair scoop of ‘enviousness’ of the owners and handlers of such fabulous dogs and the incredible bonds between them. But as much as i love our furry friends my lifestyle – splitting my time between life on a boat and living in a ‘nano campervan’ is totally non-conducive to responsible dog ownership!
Then I discovered Patch . My new ‘trail runners best friend’ – an extremely low maintenance pet substitute mascot with aspirations to become a Search and Rescue Dog trainee….hmmm, good luck with that, Patch!
3PeAks Patch….potential Search Dog trainee?….hmmmm
This miniscule traildog is not without his charms, he has already proven quite a hit around the boat and is about to get into all kinds of mischief, i can tell.
Overdoing it on the post run treats!
Little Patch will be joining me on my 3PeAksRun Challenge, and weighing in at 36 grams (less than a small flapjack) I have agreed to find him a comfy spot on my backpack as his tiny legs will struggle to keep up…even with me! (and even if he could actually move them!?)
You can use the follow buttons below to keep up with Patch’s (and my) adventures and see what trouble he gets himself into. He may look clean and smart now but just wait til he gets to the top of Snowdon!
My new traildog buddy…3PeAks Patch
Woohoo.. i am totally thrilled that my little run was deemed interesting/ insane enough (delete as applicable) to be chosen as one of the 2017 Next Challenge Grant winners. This is a fantastic initiative by award winning adventurer and Guinness World Record holder Tim Moss who has completed many expeditions from mountaineering to round the world cycling.
The 3PeAksRun is entirely funded by myself so this grant is really helping me to meet some of those costs. I was already absolutely ecstatic to make it to the shortlist and enjoying a rucksack load of information from Tims’ website http://www.thenextchallenge.org aimed at encouraging people to live life more adventurously. You can find help, advice and articles on now to plan your next adventure whether it is a challenge of expedition proportions or taking the kids on their first wild camp. Want to get a comparison or review of the best camping mats or stoves? Or why merino wool is the best fabric choice if you want to avoid being too smelly on your adventure!?
Now in its third year the Next Challenge Grant is funded by Tim himself and other well known adventurers – big shout out to @AnnaMcNuff , without whom i wouldn’t even have been aware of this grant and to @EliseCDowning who has also been a big inspiration behind my 3PeAksRun! There is also a crowdfunding aspect with great support from the public making small £3 donations to help others realise their dreams. Huge huge thanks to everyone involved in supporting this grant!
Thinking of your own Next Adventure? Check out the website and start planning for 2018! Have a look at all this years winners here…
Whew…..first part of the challenge – route planning, logistics, setting up social media, blog and charity giving site finally completed…..the small matter of running 505 miles whilst climbing three mountains should be a piece of cake from here on…..talking of cake here is my super easy recipe for power flapjack bars that can be made easily with only a camping stove (did i mention i spend alot of my time living in a camper van!?) I will also be camping at some point during my challenge run and needing to replenish flapjack supplies, obviously!….
- 250g Rolled Oats
- 125g Butter
- 2-3tbsps Golden Syrup
- Bar of your favourite chocolate (dark chocolate is best)
- 50-100g of your preferred trail magic – crushed nuts, raisins, chia seeds, sesame, dried cranberries, toasted almonds….the world’s your wigwam..
Melt the butter slowly with the golden syrup in a pan over a low heat. (I removed the usual sugar from the standard flapjack recipe as it just doesnt need it, these are sweet enough, with a kick of energy without getting a heady sugar rush). When fully melted and warm, add the rolled oats and give it a really good mix. Now is where you can get creative…mix in a handful of your favourite trail mix items- finely chopped nuts and dried fruits, seeds etc- you can vary these to provide different flavoured flapjacks.
Separately, chop up the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. (Never try to melt chocolate directly in the pan – it will burn, which is not only a tragic waste of chocolate but a pain in the tentpeg to get off your camping pan!)
Finally, mix the melted chocolate into the oaty, nutty, fruity mix and bind it together well. You can now shape it into your preferred snack shape and size – bars, patties, cubes or balls. Wrap these individually in cling film to hold together and protect you and everything around you from chocolaty sticky goo while they cool and set. Warning- this part is a bit messy.
They will set overnight in a cool tent though perhaps store them further away if there is a possibility of bears in your camp ! These power flapjacks dont need to be baked and when the chocolate resets they hold their solid form perfectly for your rucksack picnic the next day or three…..lush!
A little bit more about the incredible work of the inspiring volunteers who give their time and skills to help people in need, save lives and protect our beautiful outdoor places for us all to experience and enjoy.
Fix the Fells
Protecting the spectacular Lakeland fells through maintaining and improving paths, reducing erosion, helping to protect local ecology and heritage and improving water quality. Find out more about their great work and how you could get involved here . Remember to come back to this site to help out with a donation
Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team
The LMRT are one of the UK’s busiest mountain rescue team attending around 90 callouts a year, the majority on Ben Nevis itself. The team are all unpaid volunteers who sacrifice their time and safety to help others. Find out more about their incredible commitment here . Remember to come back to this site to help out with a donation
Wasdale Mountain Rescue Team
The team of 40 fell going volunteers and several base operators have been assisting people in the western fells of the Lake District, including on England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, for almost 50 years. Their mission is to save life and alleviate distress in hostile and mountainous areas. You can find out more on their website here. Remember to come back to this site to help out with a donation
Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation
Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation (OVMRO), or Sefydliad Achub Mynydd Dyffryn Ogwen as they are known in the native Welsh language (easy for them to say!) is a voluntary mountain rescue team responding to incidents in the northern Snowdonia region. Another busy team, they are on-call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and are very proud of the voluntary tradition of the mountain search and rescue service. Team members are all mountaineers with vast local knowledge and first aid training. Have a look at their great work here. Remember to come back to this site to help out with a donation
Search and Rescue dogs are employed in a wide range of scenarios to locate missing people, in the mountains, moors, countryside, towns and villages as well as on collapsed buildings or in water. With their amazing sense of smell, speed and agility these remarkable dogs can typically do the work of 20 foot searchers and many more in poor conditions or at night. Find out more about them here . Remember to come back to this site to help out with a donation
These super helpful websites have a ton of free info and advice on enjoying the outdoors with confidence. With free downloads and social connections, plus how to get involved to protect your own great outdoors these are some top resources. If you are planning your own 3 Peaks Challenge or outdoors fund raising event there is also a lot of help here to organise it safely and responsibly……good luck and #getoutdoors
A fantastic wealth of information on this great site whose aim is to provide a free resource for people to learn and be more fully prepared for their outdoors adventures in the hills and mountains of the UK. Advice on everything from how to best pack your rucksack, great lunch treats, or how to safely move on challenging terrain and avoid common hazards. Check it out here
Walkhighlands is the busiest outdoors website in Scotland. Their mission is to encourage the enjoyment of walking through being the best information resource and social network for walking in Scotland They are a great source for info on routes, with downloads, podcasts and advice on safety, skills and navigation. It is also a great social forum to log and share experiences. You can explore the site here
An essential portal for all hill goers from novice walkers to experienced mountain goers. Detailed, relevant and up to date forecasting for specific upland areas. Get the latest forecasts here
The three peaks partnership exists to protect the stunning landscapes that are home to the three highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales. Made up of organisations and charities that manage these regions they aim to provide the help and assistance needed to ensure those undertaking the National 3 Peaks Challenge can do so in a way that means these iconic mountains can be enjoyed for years to come. But they are also an invaluable source of information for any walkers visiting the regions. Find out more about these beautiful places here
This great well supported project, the brainchild of popular mountain guide Richard Pyne aims to educate visitors on the importance of maintaining mountain and upland environments. Every year volunteer teams trek to the tops of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon on the same day to remove as much discarded litter as possible from the summits and hiking paths. Removing well over 500kg from the peaks last year they made front page news by discovering a sex toy on top of the mountain! Other unusual finds include a pair of boots, a handbag, a porcelain toilet, several garden gnomes and an ornamental bench! Check out their Facebook page where you can also sign up to join the 5th annual event this year on October 7th here
The BMC is a representative body for climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers. They are a phenomenal resource for all things hill-going as well as producing some incredible and inspiring outdoor films that can be viewed via their website and they work very hard to protect our beautiful upland and mountain environments. The BMC produces a number of good practice Green Guides which give a wide range of super useful info on topics from how to minimise your impact in the hills, staying safe or how to spot rare species. The guides are free and can be downloaded, click on the cover photos below to see them at the BMC along with a rucksack load of other info!
New to the outdoors or planning your own adventure challenge? Some great advice in these downloadable guides.
So , here it is….A route linking the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales that covers 505 miles through Britain with 33,500 feet of uphill stuff (thats 808 km and nearly 11,000m to anyone under 30) and following 22 established great long distance footpaths, local trails or cycle routes to form what I think will be an epic trail run. My mission is simply to celebrate the very best of the Great British Outdoors, raising some money and awareness for the fantastic folk who work tirelessly to preserve these places, those who give their time to save lives and those who share their knowledge and skills to help others get the most out of their own outdoor adventures and maybe hug some rescue dogs……..oh , and to eat a lot of flapjack along the way….