Everyone loves a bank holiday weekend. For most, the extra day allows a little extra relaxation time before heading back to work, putting off the dreaded Sunday blues for an extra 24 hours.
For others, ourselves included, it means the perfect chance to explore the countryside a little further afield and get 24 hours’ worth of extra miles in our legs.
In May 2017, we planned to complete the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge, comprising of Snowdon in the north, Cadair Idris in the middle and Pen-y-Fan in the south, with the bonus of cycling the 150 miles in-between.
It was no easy feat. Standing on top of Snowdon at 8am on the first day, with our legs aching from the climb, we realised that we’d have to dig deep to keep this up for a full 72 hours. It’s surprising just how hard you can push yourself, however, when spurred on by the excitement of exploring the ever-changing wild landscape of North Wales.
With 12 of the largest lakes in England and 3,105 kilometres of rights of way, this is truly one of Britain's breathing spaces and knew as soon as they arrived that they had made the right call although there were a few doubts and worrying moments with the weather forecast at times.
There are a number of Lakes in the area but the team opted for the quieter ones of Bassenthwaite, Buttermere, Crummock Water, and Blea Water alongside Ullswater which can get slightly busier especially during the summer months.
When planning this trip, the biggest obstacle we faced was how to transport our kit. We’d recently completed a cycling challenge on the South Downs and knew that carrying sleeping equipment in panniers would slow us down too much. We decided the only thing for it would be to hire a van and alternate drivers so that only three of the four of us were cycling at any one time.
Though the van helped our comfort levels immensely, the additional space lead to the problem of over-packing – something our group is notoriously good at. Each of us had clothes for cycling, running, hiking and a set for the evenings plus countless water bottles, navigation devices and more cycling accessories than we really knew what to do with. Fortunately, Kitbrix lent a helping hand.
By some miracle, we were able to fit all of our kit into one bespoke KitBrix bag and one PocKit waterproof bag. The PocKits contained all sleeping bags and dry clothing, while the bespoke bags stored technical kit in the main body and accessories in the side pouches.
Having the kit in easy access bags made van life so much less stressful. Faff time
was cut to an all-time Everyday Adventure low, and changeovers between driversand disciplines almost seamless. By the end of the trip, a few of us has taken to carrying the waterproof PoKit bags on our backs at all times to allow extra speedy access to kit in all weather conditions, and the additional bonus of having waterproof seat covers meant no deep cleaning the van at the end of the hire. Any ounce of extra effort saved on a trip like this goes a long way.
All in all, the trip was a great success. We summited each peak in respectable times and smashed out the cycling miles with smiles on our faces. When we reached the top of Pen-y-Fan on the final day, we were hungry for more. Climbing down the side of the peak, put a plan in place to take on the challenge again in 2018.