Mark Baxter

My Three Peak Challenge Story

Three Peaks reached so I bring you my story.
A wonderful tale of friendship, determination, hope and glory.

It all begins with a long coach ride with pickups on the way.
All day travelling to Bangor for our first Premier Inn stay.

At our first night’s dinner and trekkers meeting.
We all got to know each other while we were eating.

Up bright and early and ready to move.
All raring to go like we have something to prove.

At the foot of Mount Snowdon the sky looked grey and the clouds were low.
Visibility could turn nasty so let’s take it slow.

The walk started off fine just a bit windy and a little rain.
Not much to worry about no blisters, aches or a pain.

We got to the low cloud and it got harder to see.
I thought best to cling onto Julia who helped guide me.

The wind got to forty miles per hour and it was tough to hack it.
I thought Julia would blow away so I held tightly to her jacket.

At the summit you couldn’t see anything as the weather was bad.
Getting up the trig point was exciting but both mental and mad.

On the descent we clung to each other all the way to the base.
I anchored Julia down and she put my feet in the right place.

We all stopped at the Half Way House, grabbed a cuppa and a bite.
This should keep us going until dinner that night.

All back to the coach with adrenaline still flowing.
Just enough time for some stretches before we got going.

We head towards Kendal the next Premier Inn stay.
Two and a half hours to reflect on the walk that day.

We arrive at the hotel, dinner and trek briefing in less than an hour.
Plenty of time to check in and have a nice hot shower.

A slap up dinner and talk on what’s to come what gear to bring.
I didn’t take any chances so I packed two of everything.

Mountain number two, bring it on Scafell Pike.
The knee supports came on as this would be a tough hike.

I followed Peter while he led.
Watching his feet so I knew where to tread.

A proper steep walk, a stream crossing and boulders to climb.
Getting to the summit felt like a flippin’ long time.

At the summit I scrambled up the trig point and threw my arms in the air.
A photo captured this awesome moment to prove i was there.

Faye dubbed me the ‘Snack Man’ as I had plenty to eat.
Handing out nuts and snack mix when resting our tired feet.

I also lent my beanie hat when her ears caught a chill.
As it did get quite cold when high up that hill.

On the way down it was a struggle and a strain.
I started to hurt and you could see I was in pain.

Thighs, knees and calves all began to ache.
All three combined really made my legs start to shake.

My wee little ‘Wing Men’ both Patrick and James.
Took my mind off the hurting by talking about Wrestling, Lego and games.

Slowly and steady we all finished this bloody steep hill.
It was a really tough day, knees were killing me so time for a pill.

An hour and a half back to the hotel in our hired mini bus.
All sore, tired and sweaty but no one made a fuss.

All looking forward to Thursday our day of rest.
Kendal to Fort William for the final leg of our Three Peak quest.

A good night sleep and a buffet fry up to get started,
Plenty of time to pack up after before we departed.

On the coach again for another 250 miles.
Two mountains down and all cheers and happy smiles.

Entering the highlands with Peter as our tour guide.
Taking in this breath-taking landscape while enjoying the coach ride.

We all stop at The Drover’s Inn, I had a haggis melt for lunch.
I loved the Scottish dish and thought it was munch.

A quick snap-shot was taken while we were there.
A picture of me standing next to a large stuffed bear.

We roll up to The Alexandra Hotel after a rather long drive.
It’s so good to be here and glad to arrive.

Dinner and prep talk starts for our last mountain stroll.
The mighty Ben Nevis will definitely take its toll.

Matt the Doc straps my knees up as best he can.
They have definitely taken a pasting from the all walking and Marathon I ran.

The coach ride to Ben Nevis was only a short trip.
I look at the enormity of this mountain, nervously biting my lip.

All ready to walk with my little ‘Wing Men’ by my side.
Up the last mighty mountain we all start to glide.

Steep slopes, loose rock, foot bridges and wooden stiles.
We all make to the Halfway Lochan after five miles.

After a quick lunch we headed for the summit.
Closer to the top the temperature started to plummet.

Riddles, jokes and Phoebe singing Taylor Swift.
Really lightened the mood and gave us all a warm lift.

Across a snowy patch and the glare got really bright.
It was impossible to resist a massive snowball fight.

There’s nothing more amusing than a blind snowball fight, as your never in real danger.
Watching Chammers scoop up a snowball and pelt a complete stranger.

The final summit reached a group photo was taken of us all.
A beautiful picture in front of the trig point wall.

The walk back was long, painful and felt really slow.
The walking poles were a godsend, so I thank you Joe.

Soon it became hard to concentrate and I would veer off track.
Someone would call or grab me to steer me back.

Determination and perseverance gripped me when I tripped.
I just picked myself up again every time i slipped.

Back to the coach after roughly six hours, going a steady pace.
My t-shirt was soaking and the sweat dripped from my face.

At the hotel now and my knee straps started to itch.
Getting them off in the shower hurt like a b*tch.

Dressed all smart our final night with awards, speeches and a lovely meal.
What we have all achieved, it’s hard to believe it’s real.

After dinner all out on the town for a celebration evening.
Laughter, lots of drinking and busting out shapes to ‘Don’t Stop Believing’.

Twelve hours on the coach the next day with no room to roam.
From Fort William to London, I can’t wait to get home.

Sadly at every at drop off more trekkers would depart.
Saying last good byes to these lovely people brought a pain to the heart.

This trek was nothing but amazing and I have a thank you or two to share.
For everyone’s dedication, guidance, kindness and care.

Firstly to David and Angela it’s been an honour and privilege to trek by your side.
I have a missed few adventures but glad to have been part of this challenging ride.

Thank you Michelle for all the logistics, planning and the coach taking us all this way.
For the evening meals, packed lunches and booking our hotel stay.

To Peter, Anthony and Joe, for your perfect guidance and excellent leading.
Safely up and down each mountain with only minor bruises and cuts with little bleeding.

Thanks Matt the Doc the fixer of injury and pain.
Cuts, aches, blisters and strapper of joints to ease the strain.

To Mark you have a wonderful family.
I’m really thankful they all spent so much time with me.

Thanks to my roomy Vaughan you’re awesome and kind.
Pairing up proves the blind really can lead the blind.

Packets of Digestives, Hobnobs and Jaffa Cakes.
Thank you Wes for all the yummy goodies McVitie’s makes.

Too many thank you’s I have to convey.
To all my new trekking friends I have the following to say…

Thank you to everyone for your support, a shoulder to lean on or your arm to hold.
You are all amazing people with hearts of gold.

Last but not least to the mountains we all managed to climb.
Thank you for the memories that will last a lifetime.

Like the long coach journeys, Fruit Pastels and a dodgy filling.
Blue RPFB fleeces, worn-in boots and meeting lovely smiley happy people so eager and willing.

David’s playlist and guessing the song.
All having a sing while plodding along.

The infectious sound every time Lucy laughed.
It was like medicine for the soul after a hard days graft.

Wes on the piano belting out ‘Let It Be’ with grace and love.
Water dripping through the ceiling from the room above.

Leaders, Tail End Charlies and funny radio handles.
Watching people struggle up those mountains in shoes, Ugg boots and sandals.

A misty horizon, lakes, lochs and eye-watering scenery.
Rolling hills, animal fields and epic views with so much greenery.

Too many good memories, too many to say.
I could list them all, but it would take all day.

All said and done, it has been tough the last several days.
But we all know why we are here it’s all about the money we raise.

Sadly my story has come to an end….soon a new one to be done.
I call it ‘Iceland 2016: Land of the Midnight Sun’.

I thank you all again for this experience which will last forever.
I hope to see you all again for the next adventurous endeavour.

Take care everyone.
Mark Baxter
RP Fighting Blindness
Three Peaks Challenge
20th – 25th July 2015

Mark's Story

Mark Baxter and his wife in pub garden

Mark Baxter - 5