Friday, 16 July 2010

The Welsh 3000s Part 3

We completed this tough challenge in 19 hours, 55 minutes.

Good job my kit was up to it!

The next key thing for me was straightforward, teamwork.

Now being in a newfrontiers Church means I rarely have anything to do with anything that does not involve either being part of a team, or helping encourage a team, or receiving input from a team. So it did not come as too much of a shock that our overall group of 14 was split into 3 teams. To my surprise I found myself in a group that was expected to both complete the challenge and do it the fastest. In the end we did so, ahead by about an hour, but it was a surprise for me to be placed there.

I was put in a group with Cameron (bright green jacket), a local senior fire officer. In the woolly hat, Keith, a worship leader in our Church and a manager in a plastics firm. On the left Neal (Waggy), an IT consultant and in the orange on the right, our esteemed team leader Steve, local teacher and fell running champion.

The weather was grim, but you know what, it was fun. A genuinely fun 20 hours. Plenty of banter. Lots of laughter. A bit of shared lamenting at the sheer relentlessness of the rain. There was help for one another, plasters to go on feet, shared kit, borrowed tops, socks, towels, whatever you needed to get through someone had something in the bottom of a pack somewhere to help make it happen. Food shared out, "Anyone want any Jelly babies" started a scramble!

I cannot use a compass. I am ok with maps in decent visibility. There was no visibility, I needed Steve. That said on the way up Tryfan I knew exactly where the path we needed was because I had climbed it 4 weeks before so I could help lead the way.

There was a lad we met on the way up who was doing the challenge on his own. He had camped up at the top and so was 1-2 hours ahead of us starting. By about 6pm we found him in one of the summit shelters on the Carneddau. His GPS had failed and he was a bit stuck, so he had waited for one of our teams to catch him up. Room for one more in the team? You bet!

I watch stuff like "band of brothers" and wonder what it must have been like to have that level of reliance and shared intense experience with others. In doing this challenge I had just a small glimpse of what it might be like. It also reminded me of what Sid the Sloth says in Ice Age Two, "We are the weirdest herd I have ever seen". Different personalities, different skills, different levels of fitness, all bringing what they had to the table to make it happen. Steve could have done it in half the time, on his own. But he didn't, and that is why I was able to complete it too. There has to be something worth learning from that.

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