Shop colleagues reach their peak

SHOP colleagues in Morpeth didn’t just have a mountain to climb when they embarked on a charity adventure, but faced three of the highest peaks in the UK.

Keen walkers Michael McKenner, Aran Jefferson and Ben Lavender, who all work at Yeomans Outdoor Leisure in Sanderson Arcade, are all experienced hikers so when they decided to raise money for Help for Heroes they needed quite a challenge.

The trio finally settled on the gruelling Three Peaks Challenge, which involves climbing the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales — all in 24 hours.

First up was the 1,343metre-high Ben Nevis, followed by a dash to Scafell Pike in the Lake District at 978metres, and finishing at Snowdon, which stands at 1,085metres.

And the team couldn’t have made it closer as they raced to complete the fund-raiser with just minutes to spare, stopping the clock at 23 hours, 47 minutes.

Store Manager Mr McKenner, 31, said: “It was very tough and we just managed to do it within the 24 hours.

“We were pretty much falling down the hill at the end.

“We are all keen walkers, but none of us had ever done this kind of challenge before.

“Sleep deprivation was the most challenging thing.

“A lot of people who take on this challenge have a designated driver because you don’t just have to climb the mountains, you have to travel between them all in the 24 hours, but we just shared the driving between us. It was tough to keep going when we were so tired.

“The conditions were also difficult. Because of the amount of snow and ice on the top of Ben Nevis, it was the first time using crampons for two of the party.”

The friends are still counting the amount of money they raised for charity, but already Mr McKenner is planning to repeat the challenge as a solo effort in the summer, and along with Aran, 19, and Ben, 24, he hopes to take on the Coast to Coast walk in September, with a target of completing the 73-mile journey in just two days.

“We like a challenge,” he said.

Anyone wishing to add to the total sponsorship for the Three Peaks Challenge should email Mr McKenner at michaelmckenner@yahoo.co.uk