The Three Peaks Challenge is a well known one in which teams climb the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales with the aim of reaching the finish line in 24 hours and is usually done for charity.

On 1 - 4 August, a group of 16 Southampton University Royal Naval Unit members and two mountain leaders took on the Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for the RNRMC.

Lt John Parker (FOST(N)) and Lt Mike Smith (Cambridge URNU TO) led the team which included the Commanding Officer Lt Tim Bateson, the Coxswain CPO Jason Dumbleton and 10 students. Four drivers were spread across the two vehicles to maintain the tempo required and to allow some sleep.

The ascent of the first peak, Ben Nevis, began at 4.30pm on 2 August and the team began the journey in good time as high morale pushed them to the top of the 1345m climb. The descent into poor weather took its toll but the first challenge was completed in just over five hours before a treacherous journey to the Peak District and Scafell Pike.

The scaling of England’s tallest peak of 978m began at 3am on 3 August in the freezing cold and pouring rain. The darkness allowed a slight detour from the original planned route, obviously by choice which delayed the ascent. The descent was even slower due to a team members strained knee but the improving weather meant the group was looking forward to Snowdon, the final peak.

The last ascent began at midday in the wettest of the conditions. At this point in the challenge, the chance of completion within the 24-hour window was impossible due to the delays at Scafell, even more so with the worsening raining and gale force winds. The group battled up the route, trying not to get blown off the side of the mountain, finally crawling (literally) to the top of the third and final peak at a height of 1085m. A rapid descent down the miners’ path was made and the end of the challenge was greeted with a rare moment of sunshine.

All SURNU members who took park deserve huge congratulations for completing the gruelling challenge. Although they didn't make the targetted 24 hours, they pushed through, with only a two-hour delay, where many others might have given up altogether. Thanks to their strength, persistence, and true grit, the team raised a huge £1147 for The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.

The Commanding Officer added “It was a fantastic opportunity to see my students outside their comfort zone, requiring teamwork and sheer determination to motivate each other through what can only be described as the worst 24 hours of “summer” we had ever seen”.