Saturday, May 07, 2011

Three Peaks Challenge climbers scale wrong mountain, get injured, then lost

A crucial wrong turning, a mountain rescue emergency call and three injuries were just some of the disasters which struck Team Wayne as they attempted the Three Peaks Challenge. But despite their errors, the group of friends – who were attempting to climb the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales within 24 hours – have raised nearly £10,000 for Leukaemia And Lymphoma Research in memory of Wayne Wilson. Wayne, of Cricklade, lost his battle with the illness in January at the age of 26, just months after being diagnosed and weeks after he married childhood sweetheart Sammy Cole.

Since his death, friends Damien Davis, Kevin Giles, Mike Murray, Dave Murray, James Bowyer and brother Carl Wright have formed Team Wayne and organised a number of fundraising events in their home town leading up to the Three Peaks Challenge. But after taking the wrong turning at the start of their trek, the group ended up climbing the much steeper, but not as high, Stob Ban instead of Ben Nevis.

Damien said: “The climb was a lot harder than we had anticipated. We’d been told that Ben Nevis, although the highest, is a fairly easy climb, but that certainly wasn’t the case here, it was like a vertical ascent. We had a gut feeling we might have taken a wrong turn, but from ground level those mountains all look about the same height.

“We reached the top, Mike first, and he phoned down to me and said the immortal words, which are still playing through my ears, ‘I hate to break this to you sweetheart, but this ain’t it.’ We had ended up walking six miles more than we needed – obviously we’d already ‘failed’ the challenge, but decided to persevere.” However, the bad luck continued when they headed south to the Lake District, where three of the six injured themselves and two more got lost taking on Scafell Pike. Team Wayne then decided not to even bother with Mount Snowdon in Wales.

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