9 July 2006
The Ford Challenge?Glen Nevis posesThursday 29 June, 11:30 Check in for the 2006 Wooden Spoon 4 Peaks Challenge. No Vauxhall this year so we hire a Ford Galaxy and drive this up to Scotland.

We are well supported by Deloitte Partners with sponsorship of over £22,000. Can't let them down so we will have to do our best.

After a briefing in the Nevis centre which also gives us an idea of the many children's projects that Wooden Spoon supports we are off up the Ben for the first peak.

Climbing the BenBoys on the BenThursday 29 July, 16:31 after jogging over the footbridge we are off up the steep paths to the top of the UK's highest mountain.

It doesn't get any less tough and the snow on top reminds us how far we have climbed. We really pick up speed on the descent but nearing the bottom disaster strikes as Tommo turns an ankle. He manages to keep going but it is obviously going to cause problems going forward. Despite the upset we record a good time of 2hr 41 mins.

Nursing that ankleRoss on HellvellynFriday 30 June 06:52 after a few hours rest in the Penrith Travel Lodge we are off up Hellvellyn. Wayne has taped up his ankle and is gritting his teeth on the uneven ground.

We get fine views of Thirlmere as we slog up the steep but well groomed footpath. As we approach Lower Man Catstye Cam looms in the mist and there is a great view down to Red Tarn before we reach the summit in the clouds.

Tommo makes it down and we clock 1hr 34 mn. Not our fastest time but still in the top 10.

Catstye Cam from Lower Man
Morning on Hellvellyn Team 34 Special FX On Helvellyn
Betws-y-Coed lunch stopConwy river fallsFriday 30 June 13:49 a lunch stop in Betws-y-Coed breaks the drive from the Lakes to Snowden. The weather is improving but it is still much cooler than the heatwave in the South East. Thankfully for our running...
Andy and Llanberis passLlyn Llydaw on SnowdenFriday 30 June 16:40 and we are off on Peak 3. Great views of the Llanberis Pass, scene of much rock climbing in my youth, dominate the climb to the col before the gentler path above the lakes and then a stiff climb to the summit.

As we break on the descent Tommo's ankle does not look good and the normally lively Aussie is looking decidedly gaunt.

Tommo feeling itTeam at Pen-y-passWayne makes it down the descent to Pen-y-pass and we record a time of 2hr 6 min. After posing for a team photo we head off to Bangor for a few hours sleep before catching the 2:50 ferry to Dublin.

Despite card players and babies we get a few hours sleep, stretched out in the ferry bar in our sleeping bags before the long drive down to Killarney.

Carantouhill carparkAnkle problemsSaturday 1 July 10:24 and we pull into the car park below Carantouhill after a 280km drive from Dublin. Wayne's ankle is now very swollen and despite the disappointment from dropping out of the overall challenge we agree that another steep climb and 2 1/2 hour run is not a good idea.

In the pouring rain Andy and I head off up the hill for our last peak.

Carantouhill finishA drop of bubblyRain means no camera on Carantouhill however we have a good ascent, running the first 4 km then climbing fast up the Devil's ladder. We struggle to pull ahead of team 23, Peak Early, on the final ascent but leave them behind coming down with a final time of 2 hr 19 min.

We are greeted at the bottom by cowbells and an Irish band as well as a welcome, but painful session in the massage tent.

The drivers challengeCharles at the finishCharles and his fellow driver also make it, finishing in fine style. The rain has cleared and the sun is shining as we sort out the car and prepare to head off to the hotel to watch the England in the World Cup quarter final.
Jennie waits for her teamThe Wooden topsFriends on other teams are also enjoying a bit of Irish sunshine. Jennie from "Quad on the Rocks" tucks into the Guiness as she waits for her team to get back while the Wooden Tops celebrate their 10th Challenge.

With a total running time of 8 hrs and 40 mins we are very pleased with our performance despite not being eligible to complete for the overall challenge. There is always next year..

Hotel EuropaMcGillicuddies ReeksWe enjoy fine views of Carantouhill from the comfort of the hotel lawn. At the Challenge dinner we are delighted to discover that despite Tommo's ankle we pick up the Ben Nevis trophy for our time on that peak.

Overall the teams have raised over £376,000, a fantastic contribution to all of the Wooden Spoon's funds.