Last weekend the team of 14 intrepid employees from the company’s head office in Langar, Nottingham climbed the three highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales – Snowdon (3,560 feet), Scafell Pike (3,210 feet) and Ben Nevis (4,409 feet). That’s a walk of over 26 miles, a total climb of nearly 10,000 feet and more than 1,000 miles driven – what an achievement! What’s more, some of the team even managed it in under 24 hours!
So far the group have raised more than £3,000 for the Saving Lives Helipad Appeal to build a vital helipad at the East Midlands Major Trauma Centre in Nottingham. We are so grateful for this important contribution to the appeal. You can still sponsor the team by following this link.
Holly Robbins from the John Deere team wrote the following fantastic account of their adventure:
“On Friday 12th June 2015 at 6:30am the team began to assemble in the car park at John Deere in Langar, ready to begin our epic adventure. We set off in two minibuses, headed for Fort William.
“We arrived bang on schedule at 4:30pm – a full 9.5 hours after leaving Langar. After booting up and slapping on the sun cream (23°C and full sun!), we were ready to begin. At 5pm, we set off en masse to tackle Ben Nevis – the clock was now ticking…!
“At 1,344m (4,409ft) Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK and therefore the biggest of the three mountains we would tackle over the next 24 hours. We took the Mountain Track up and back down, which is a round trip of approximately 9 miles.
“The route was straightforward, but seemed never-ending at times and just when we thought it couldn’t get any harder, we hit the snow fields that cap the summit almost all year round. Every step felt like a challenge at this point. The snow was knee deep in places and seemed specially designed to sap any remaining energy and will-power!
“Eventually the trig point became visible through the mist and after a quick photo and a chat with our fellow mountaineers it was time to begin the whole thing again in reverse. As the cloud cleared briefly, it was possible to catch a glimpse of the spectacular views out across the Highlands, and also the snow cornices overhanging the Gardyloo and Five Finger gullies to either side of the plateau – a sobering view that helped to keep us focused on the path ahead! The fastest teams were down by 10.30pm and straight back on the road.
“Next stop, Scafell Pike – 5.5 hours drive south of Fort William. Located in the west of the Lake District, this is England’s highest mountain, standing at 978m (3,210ft). Although it is the smallest of the three, I think all of the teams found this one particularly painful. Not only were they still recovering from their previous climb, but also beginning to feel the effects of sleep-deprivation.
“By the time the second minibus arrived at The Green at Wasdale Head, the start point for Scafell Pike, the first team were already well on the way to the summit. Our drivers had made easy work of the difficult roads around Wastwater and the team were making great time.
“Tired but triumphant, the first teams arrived back at the car park at 8:30am and were soon on their way to Snowdon – another 4 hours in the minibus.
“Fatigue was really beginning to set in by this point, and everyone tried to get some sleep before the next mountain.
“Snowdon was the third and final mountain of the challenge – standing at 1,085m (3,560ft). The forecast for Saturday afternoon had been looking grim with heavy rain followed by fog, but once again we were lucky as there was nothing worse than a bit of mist at the summit.
“The second minibus arrived at Pen-Y-Pass car park just before 5pm to find the first team relaxing with a hard-earned cuppa in the café. They had successfully completed the challenge in under 24 hours! The quickest member of the team completed in 23 hours, 24 minutes and 38 seconds, quickly followed the rest at 23 hours 37 minutes. Exhausted but elated, we celebrated their success in the car park with some bubbly before letting them head home to get some well-earned rest!
“It was at this point that the last team began their final ascent. Despite already being outside of the 24 hour mark, they were all determined to conquer the last peak and set off with a surprising amount of gusto, considering what they’d been through over the previous 24 hours.
“At 9:30pm they returned; 28.5 hours after setting out to climb Ben Nevis, they had now completed all three of the UK’s highest peaks.
“The 24 hour time-limit is an arbitrary goal; to complete all three peaks, back-to-back, with almost no sleep is a remarkable achievement no matter what the timescale. Worn-out, but victorious, we all climbed back into the minibus for the final time.
“After a quick stop off in Bangor we set off for home, eventually arriving back at Langar just after 2am – 43 hours after we left on Friday morning!
“With a distance walked of 26 miles (42km), a total ascent of 3,000m (9,800ft), and a total drive of over 1,000 miles it’s hard to overstate what an incredible achievement completing the Three Peaks is, no matter what the timescale, so to do it in under 24 hours is truly spectacular. The mental toughness required to keep going and push through the pain barriers is surely equal to the physical strength needed, and these guys had it all. Eight of the team completed all three peaks in 24 hours. Another six completed outside of the 24 hour limit.”
Huge thanks to all of the John Deere mountaineers and everyone that has supported their fundraising efforts for the Saving Lives Helipad Appeal. We salute you!