by Peter McIntyre
No one, save those experienced in such activity, could have predicted the outcome of such a venture, which took 5 inner city lads, with zero mountain experience and zero kit up three breath taking (and I mean that in the literal sense) mountains in Wales. What follows is a snapshot of that experience:
Darren, our resident adventurer rather captures the essence of the whole experience as he was talking with the apprentices; “carrying out such an arduous task of hiking the Welsh 3 Peaks can have a profound impact on the mind and body. The body will initially recover after a few days but the impact on the mind can last a lifetime” (Darren). All I could hear Larry saying was “oh my god, oh my god”. I helped him over a stream onto a mammoth boulder which when you look down has the most beautiful waterfall running down into the valley below. We were surrounded by some of the amazing scenery Wales has to offer! Larry felt blessed. He had never experienced anything like it. I felt blessed to be part of him witnessing this experience. (Darren). “The Welsh 3 peaks challenge was one of my most memorable experiences by far. I met some really nice people who were genuine and down to earth and I’ve made positive connections and friends for life. The climbs were nothing like what I expected; Snowdon was relatively straightforward, Cadair Idris was my favourite and most challenging climb with the most beautiful scenery and a magical lake to look down on. Pen Y Fan however, was when I became physically challenged and had to really dig deep. Once at the top there was a real sense of relief and achievement that I will never forget. Hiking back down the last mountain was when the skies decided to clear up and the views were amazing! I will definitely be doing more mountain climbing as this is now a newfound hobby of mine thanks to 3Pillars and the team” (Leon). “Something I've never done or even thought about doing. The views we got to see, the scenery was amazing, better than I imagined. I did really struggle with it but the help and encouragement from everyone who took part, especially 3Pillars staff who stayed with us all the way really did make the difference. It is an experience I will look back on fondly. (Mohammoud) The army lads all commented on how inspired they were; “it was my pleasure to spend it (time) with motivated individuals looking to turn their lives around. I found them really inspirational” (Alan) It took me a full 24 hours after the event to process what we had achieved and how I related to the apprentice’s gargantuan efforts. I walked all three mountains with them, and I witnessed joy, pain, frustration, but above all there was courage, determination and compassion. It was a truly humbling experience for me. I had trained, I had the kit and I knew mountains. This is the benchmark against which I measure the apprentice's success and whilst each will take away their own learning, I salute them for their commitment and their indomitable spirit. The final word must go to Mohammoud who said “only you can move your legs”…an apt metaphor for us all me thinks.