Monday 27th August


An even earlier start this morning as the alarm went off at 6am. We were keen to leave for Snowdon by 7.30am to give ourselves plenty of contingency time in case of any problems and keen not to be late for friends, family and CRUK staff who were joining us there. The weather forecast looked reasonably promising – no heavy rains, but some strong winds en route and even stronger at the top of Snowdon. After the deep disappointment of the previous day, we were now feeling excited at completing the challenge and so looking forward to meeting those who’d be joining us. Continue reading

Sunday 26th August


We woke at 6.45am to the sound of Bruce and looked at the weather forecast. It wasn’t good – heavy rain forecast for most of the day, a temperature of 10 degrees, but feels like 6 and all this accompanied by strong winds

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Saturday 25th August


When we drew back the curtains this morning, the sun was shining. This immediately put us in good spirits, along with the knowledge that today’s cycle was just 65 miles (yes, really 65 this time!) and the ascent was less than 25% of what we climbed yesterday.

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Friday 24th August


We woke up feeling a sense of achievement having managed to conquer Scafell Pike yesterday and we were looking forward to heading out of the Lake District, southwards into Lancashire. Our enthusiasm was somewhat dampened by the forecast of heavy rain and hail showers and the sound of the rain beating on the coal shed where Rubes and Roberto had been stabled for the night.

Video- Sue before pedal off

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Thursday 23rd August


Whilst Bruce Springsteen is my musical hero, I was not best impressed when he belted out ‘Promised Land’ to wake me up this morning. I turned to Patrick and asked the 2 usual questions “How did you sleep?” and “What’s the weather forecast?”. He responded with “Ok, just not enough” and “Not good!”

We’d both got concerns about today. Parick described it as a sense of foreboding and I just felt generally down. For those of you who know us well, this is not usual. I’d woken up in the night thinking about the route and cycling further south of the A595. North of Cockermouth it joins up with the A596 to head south and we imagined that the volume of traffic would be similar to that just south of Carlisle. I proposed a contingency plan to Patrick in case of a large volume of traffic on this road f we perceived it wasn’t safe. Many of you have advised us to ‘stay safe’. We’ve heeded your words and safety is a top priority.

We met Jackie for breakfast and confirmed the plans for the day. The breakfast at Graysonside B&B was excellent – good quality museli, Yeo Valley yoghurt and fresh berries were available from the buffet. Jackie’s tomato and cheese omelete was excellent as were Patrick’s poached eggs on toast were perfectly cooked.

Our planned ‘planned ‘pedal off’ at 9am was delayed by 5 mins as bowels got in sync with the agenda! When we left Graysonside it was actually dry. However, within 5 minutes the weather got in sync with the Met Office forecast and it started raining heavily.

Our first scheduled rendezvous with Jackie was in the Co-Op car park in Egremont, (18 miles down the road) where she was planning on providing coffee.

Our low period of the day is usually late afternoon, when we’ve pedalled for over 80% of the distance and the last bit just seems too much. However, today we experienced a low before we even got 10 miles down the road. I wasn’t feeling good and shouted back to Patrick “OK?”. We regularly do this and he responds “OK”. On this occasion his voice wavered as he responded “I’m struggling”We had a brief stop at the top of the hill where we made positive comments to each other, but it was clear we really didn’t feel motivated. As we pedalled on up the next hill I had rain dripping down my face, mixed with tears. All rather pathetic, but that’s what 3 Peaks Ultra does to you. Much later in the day we exchanged full details of our emotions earlir in the day and recognised that they were virtually identical

We eventually arrived in Egremont and with the help of a local man, who we later discovered was called Fred, we found Fraser’s café. A random event that completely changed the day. The staff and customers were welcoming, supportive and encouraging and made a very generous donation to CRUK. We’d gone in the shop dispirited and disheartened and left uplifted and reinvigorated. Our coffee had warmed our hands and their support had warmed our hearts. It was a café with a real sense of community where there was good natured banter between staff and customers. Fred, Eileen, Beth, Trisha, Louise, Beth and Neil, you achieved more than you’ll ever realise and put 3 Peaks Ultra 4 CRUK back on the road. Thank you!

We cycled on feeling positive and determined, up the hills and through the rain and reached Wasdale Head in time for lunch.

Video Sue – Wasdale Head

We changed into our walking gear in a toilet and headed off up Scafell Pike in torrential rain

Video Scafell Pike – start

Video Lingmell Beck

It was a long , steady climb. There were numerous groups coming down, but few others going up. We didn’t stop on the way up other than to regularly check for features and landmarks to help us navigate down in the poor visibility.

When we eventually reached the top there was only one other group there who kindly took our photo as we battled to kep the CRUK polybanner unfurled, in the 35mph winds and hail.

They quickly headed off down a different route , leaving us alone in poor visibility and despite carefully checking features and compass berarings on the way up, as we tried to find the path, we soon realised we were disoriented only 50m from the summit. Suppressing panic, we got the compass out, but couldn’t believe where north was. We retraced our steps to the summit and  decided to head off in the direction of the bearing which we couldn’t quite believe. After a short distance we realised we were heading in the right direction and began our cautious descent down the mountain in the wet, slippery conditions. It was a huge relief to get back to Wasdale Head Inn. We’d done it! Can we do this? Yes, we can

We quickly stripped off our wet clothes, showered , changed and headed off down to dinner to meet Jackie. There was no sign of her or the car. Very soon we began to worry. There was no way of contacting her with no phone signal or wifi. We used the hotel landline and eventually managed to get hold of her. It turned out she’d been sitting for 3 hours at the car park where we’d left each other earlier to bring us the 1 mile back to the Inn. She’d begun to get slightly concerned about us, whilst we’d been in the hotel for almost 90 mins. Unbeknownst to her we’d taken an alternative, more direct path which emerged very close to the Inn. At least all was well and everyone was safe. With friends and support like this, how can we not keep going?

Video Patrick -end of day

Video  Sue – Planning tomorrow


Originally the name ‘The Pikes of Sca fell’ was given to the peaks which are now known as Scafell Pike, Ill Crag and Broad Crag. an error on an ordnance survey map naming the highest peak ‘Scafell Pike’ has now stuck and is in common use.The neighbouring peak, Sea Fell looks higher from many angles and is actually just 10 feet lower.


Wednesday 22nd August


We had a slightly later start this morning as we had 20 fewer miles to cycle than yesterday. This made us feel hopeful that we wouldn’t feel quite as exhausted today. Click on the link below to hear Patrick’s thoughts

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Tuesday 21st August


Due to an exhausting day we’re just too tired to write the usual blog. So today’s journey is told through a series of mini videos. Click on the links to hear the highlights and lowlights! Normal blog service will be resumed in Cockermouth tomorrow (wifi permitting).

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Monday 20th August


The gutsy vocals of Bruce Springsteen singing Promised Land woke us up at 6.20am, to get back on the hamster wheel of 3 Peaks Ultra 4 CRUK. My first 2 questions to Patrick were “How did you sleep?” and “What’s the weather forecast?”. The answers were ” Rubbish” and “It looks pretty good”. “Rubbish wasn’t a good answer when we had almost 80 miles to cycle. However, the news about the weather was great – no significant wind, no rain and some sunshine.

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Sunday 19th August



Over the last week we’ve been obsessed with weather forecasts. This morning was no exception. The first thing I did when I woke up was to reach for my iPhone and select the Met office app. Things didn’t look great for Ben today, but at least there was no significant wind forecast. In order to try and get a better result I tried the Mountain Weather Information Service. Unfortunately it was generally in agreement with the Met Office.

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Saturday 18th August


Whilst we ate our hearty breakfast provided by Vincent and Brenda, we were watched by a stag who was branded in Cancer Research UK colours. A good start to a day ,which was about relaxing and getting final things sorted.

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It’s a long way to Fort William

After a considerable period of planning and preparation we were ready. We left 25 minutes after our planned departure time, but what’s 25 mins when our challenge is going to take 8 and a half days?

We took a couple of photos of ourselves with Rubes and Roberto (our trusty steeds) and then began what Google maps estimated would be a 8 hr 4 minute journey to Fort William.

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A bit of training in some big mountains

We’d decided to do a walking holiday which would also double up as some training for the mountain element of our challenge.

We joined a group of 14 other relatively like minded souls in the Dolomites – well the one thing we all had in common was a desire to do some walking – along with our guides for the week Martin and Albert.

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Battling the wind

With only 5 days to go before we focus on hiking for a week, we’re desperate to get some training rides in. The circular route from home took us over the Ridgeway into Berkshire. We pedalled primarily down B roads and unclassified roads, through Midsomer Murder type villages and past isolated country piles which if they’d been for sale would have been through Hamptons or Strutt and Parker. Continue reading

Make the most of it whilst you can

Our training rides over the last week have resulted in mixed emotions. I’ve felt amused, liberated and downright disgusted.

The weather has been generally kind this week, but there was an occasion when we’d reached the top of the Ridgeway that the heavens opened and our thin jackets stuck to the bare flesh on our arms underneath. Continue reading

PB in Geneva

Well it wasn’t exactly cycling or hiking, but Patrick’s half marathons are keeping him fit. Here he is 5 seconds before the finish line in Geneva about to smash his PB. Very few charity runners here (the Swiss obviously do things differently) so his branding stands out even more. “Go, Patrick, go!”