National 3-Peaks Challenge
Ashford School’s National 3 – Peaks Challenge in under 24 hours
While most people were putting their feet up over the Bank Holiday weekend, a team of cadets from Ashford School scaled a combined total of over 110,000 feet, walking 50,000 steps individually and braving blizzards and fog. All this in just 24 hours.
Eleven youngsters from the independent co-educational school in Kent keenly stepped up to the challenge of conquering The National Three Peaks in an event organised and led by SSgt Katie Godlington and LCpl Oliver Hall.
“We believe that with good planning and research and excellent teamwork and morale, we can take on anything,” said the 18-year-old who leaving at the end of the academic year to study Psychology.
“Although the expedition was far more gruelling than we imagined, it was exhilarating, and we had the time of our lives. The determination and team spirit shown by everyone in the face of abhorrent weather, was incredible and our sense of achievement at the end of the 24 hours will remain with us for ever.”
The cadets ranged in age from just 14 to 18. It was an inclusive expedition meaning that it was open to anyone who was keen and willing. Cadets tackled the peaks at their own pace and aimed to complete the challenge as a team.
The group left Ashford School on the Friday lunchtime and spent the night sleeping on the sports hall floor of AKS School in Lancashire. After a delicious breakfast of chocolate croissants and mugs of tea, they set off to Ben Nevis where the rain began. By the top of the mountain, even the team’s waterproofs were beginning to find it difficult to stave off the weather.
“The last 400 metres of Ben Nevis was covered in snow but we took it in our stride and not one of us chose to sit it out,” said Head Boy Oli. “Scafell Pike was a challenge because we set off at 2.45am and encountered thick fog and driving rain near the top. By the time we reached Snowdon, morale was high, even though we were exhausted but, at the time we didn’t know it!” Oli, who has been award an Army officer scholarship and a guaranteed place at the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, was first to return to the minibus completing the course in 23 and a half hours, shortly followed by the remaining cadets; the team time was an impressive 23 hours and 54 minutes.
“The resilience shown by these students was incredibly impressive,” said Michael Hall, Headmaster of Ashford School. “But just as impressive was how they put the team before themselves, looking out for each other on the mountains and hills and working together to ensure they completed the challenge.”
The team has raised nearly £2,000 for Ashford Food Bank and the Veterans’ Association through the generous sponsorship of family, friends, and the local community. If you would like to donate to this worthy cause, please follow this link: Ashford Foodbank and HM Forces veterans