Mat’s big brother, Mark, is going to ridiculous lengths to raise money and awareness for the appeal. It involves a 6 mile open water sea swim in freezing waters, the three peak challenge and a mammoth 540 mile cycle ride…all in a week! Read the following statement of intent and be inspired to donate. Madness:
The beginning of a long journey…….
- A Six Mile Open Water Sea Swim
Sunday 2nd OctoberSometime early in the morning I will drive to the tranquil harbour of Dwarick which is on the West side of Dunnet Head (Dunnet Head the most Northerly point of mainland UK). From here David Spencer and I will begin swimming the 6 mile distance of the Pentland Firth (one of the worse stretches of water around the UK shoreline) back to Thurso, my home town. Due to the water being so cold 10/12 degrees c, I will be wearing a 2-3mm wetsuit for this and backup support from a kayack in the case of any difficulties that may arise.As neither of us have ever swam such a distance either in a pool or open water we are not totally sure of how long the task will take us. We would like to think anywhere from 3 to 4 hours, as the less time spent in the water the more chance we have of completing the task.
(Please remember we will be swimming in open water and being this far north we are very dependent on windows in the weather. Also given the time of year the tides will be considerably bigger and more ‘rippier’. Fingers crossed though we will get the oppotunity but in case not the contingency plan will be to take the swim to a local Loch and swim the same distance there).
- The Three Peak Challenge
2nd and 3rd OctoberOnce we have dragged ourselves from the clutches of the sea…. many hot cafe lattes to warm us …. we will be joined by the rest of the ‘Team Matty’ Lorna Stanger, Sandy Christie waiting patiently at the shore line. We will drive the 147 miles down to Fort William. Arriving sometime in the afternoon at the foot of the magestic mountain Ben Nevis 1,344m high (one of the biggest mountains in the UK). Here we will begin the second challenge The Three Peak Challenge. We aim to achieve this in 24 hours.
(The Three Peak Challenge is where the insane climb the highest peaks in the respective countries in the UK: Ben Nevis 1,320m in Scotland; Skafell Pike 978m in England; and Snowdon 1,085m in Wales. There is no official time limit to the challenge but many take the challenge to complete it within 24 hours. This timescale also includes driving to each of the peaks).
The three of us aim to ascend the 1st mountain Ben Nevis via the Pony Track in roughly 3 hours With a descent of 2 hours which may possibly be done in darkness due to the length of daylight hours around this time of year. From here the least tired will drive to the Lake District in England.
Monday 3rd October around 04.30am …….Early, so, so early and still dark.
Hopefully Sandy and myself will have slept some….. Both of us feeling fresh….. We will begin the second of the three mountains Skafell Pike. Although the lowest of the three peaks this is often considered to be the hardest mainly because of sleep deprevation and the fact that the ascent is so steep over a short distance. We aim to reach the summit via Wasdale Head in 2 1/2 hours and descend in around 2 hours.
With no rest for the wicked, food and rest on the way we will begin the journey south again.
Arriving in Llanberis, Wales, hopefully no later than 2pm. Here we will have to work hard making up any time lost either on the previous peaks or from travelling in order to complete our challenge within the 24 hour limit set. We will tackle Snowdon via the Miners track which we hope to ascend within 2 hours then descend within 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
……………2nd Challenge complete, probably many blisters, sore bodies we will head then to my families home in Burton On Trent for respite and a comfy bed for the night. But not for long as we need to get up for the third and final challenge we have set ourselves.
- A Mammoth Cycle Ride
Tuesday 4th- 8th OctoberAn early start again. After a hearty breakfast…. hopefully the biggest fry up I can imagine cooked by Simon (step dad), the final challenge will begin…. the journey home….. via John o Groats. This is where Lorna Stanger and myself will cycle the “small” distance of 540 miles North bound home. We aim to cycle 130/180 miles per day. This will hopefully take 3/4 days and no more. We will be self supported.
The route should go something like this, Burton on Trent, Derby, Chesterfield, Sheffield, Huddersfield, Halifax, Keithly, Skipton, Kendal, Carlise, Moffat, Strathaven, Paisley, Erskiene, Inverbeg, Fortwilliam, Inverness, John O Groats to eventually Thurso.
As we dont know how far we will go each day precisely we havent broken it down in stages. As some days we will be stronger and weaker on others, also day to day changes, road works, accidents on the roads all may effect the course route………………..
Well thats it folks.
The Quest…..support ‘Team Matty’.
– Mark Taylor (Mat’s brother)
- John O’Groats Journal:
- Burton Mail:
- STV (with video):