Ryan Fletcher (pictured centre) and his close friends James Coxhead, Dave Masella, Nick Campbell and Dan Bragoli have been affectionately nicknamed ‘The Compton Conquerors’ by us here at the hospice. Why? Since 2012 the group have taken on a number of physically demanding challenges in order to raise money for Compton Hospice including the National 3 Peaks Challenge and cycling 171 miles from Wolverhampton to London.
This year, the group plan to take on their biggest and most daring challenge to date. In a bid to raise £2000 for the hospice the group will be embarking on the Welsh 3000 Challenge – a physically and emotionally demanding route which will see the group climb to the peak of all 15 mountains in Wales which measure over 3000ft in the space of just 24 hours, and without the use of any public transport.
Ahead of the big day at the end of May team leader Ryan has been filling us in on how their training is going:
“Ok where do I start? So we left our warm dry homes at 4:30am on the morning of Sunday 6th April and started climbing at 7:30am near a place called Rowan, Conway Snowdonia. The plan was to cover the final stages of our Welsh 3000′s route starting from the end car park walking across peaks 15, 14 and then returning the way we came down a long decent back to the car park.
“It all went well until the point of getting to our first peak (15 Foel Fras) (942) at approximately 11am. On the ascent we battled against the horrendous weather which included strong winds and persistent rain/poor visibility. But we were all determined to do this – after all we don’t have long until the big day!
“On top of Foel Fras a few of us were blown 1 or 2 meters off our feet and could only stay grounded by lying down flat to the surface of the mountain. We came across just one other group that were equally mad enough to be out in these conditions. They were a mature group and they looked really concerned and exhausted. We decided at this point it wa not safe to continue onto the peaks 14 and 13 and we should return to the car.
“But that’s when we got it absolutely wrong. Visibility got worse and we followed what we thought was the right path not being able to see any further than a few meters. When we finally realised what had happened it was too late. We were all soaking wet and having moments where we were shivering so bad we couldn’t talk. Against all of that we still have to try and work out our location on the map. We ended up making a different decent to climb up another peak and down again crossing two rivers and plenty of streams. We then found a road and walked for 1 hour and 45 minutes before getting back to the car at 5pm. It should have taken us 3 hours max to get back to the car it turned into 6.
“At the end of our walk guess who came to see us… that’s right the sun. It was a case of too little too late but at least we could get changed in the dry. Seeing the car was the best feeling in the world. It turned out to be one of our toughest days in the great outdoors. One that will stay in my memory but hopefully will never have to repeat. I guess that’s what you call the art of survival!”
Please show your appreciation for the lengths that the Compton Conquerors are going to to raise money for Compton Hospice by making a donation at http://www.justgiving.com/Ryan-Fletcher6