Still Alive!

Posted on July 23, 2009 in Ronnie's News

So we’re back from the Three Peak Challenge. I’m pleased to say that we’ve so far raised over £1,000 for the east Cheshire Hospice through donations, sponsorship and entry into our prize raffle. We will continue the prize raffle for a few days more as we’ve had a couple of extra prizes added to it. A magnum of Moet courtesy of one of our drinks suppliers and some discount vouchers from Enterprise Car Hire who we rented the vehicle to transport us between each mountain.

Back to the challenge though. Chris, Martin, Lewis and I, along with Gary our driver set off from Ronnie’s at 10am on Tuesday. That was one of the few points it wasn’t raining on the whole trip. We stopped to refuel as soon as we reached Scotland. Then worked our way to Ben Nevis, arriving at about 4.30 in the afternoon. The weather by this point looked fine, what a cruel sense of humour Mother Nature has, because she saved the life threatening conditions for later.

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The Team, (nearly) all smiles at the foot of Ben Nevis

The weather was still OK half way up too and the views were breathtaking.

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Half way up Ben Nevis with spirits still high
About half an hour after the above picture was taken we met some people on the way down, who told us to expect severe weather conditions when we were getting to the top. They advised us to wrap up well. What an understatement. It was like the end of the fucking World up there. Driving rain accompanied a 60 mph wind made us seek refuge in the convenient little hut they put up there for people like us who are stupid enough to climb the highest peak in Britain during a storm. But for a brief moment in time around 8.30pm on Tuesday 21st July 2009, Ronnie Rees, Martin Holmes, Chris Hall and Lewis Carrington were the highest humans with our feet on the earth in the whole of the United Kingdom, which I think was pretty cool. We didn’t get a decent picture at the top though, it was too cold and wet. But we did it. And here’s the pics to prove it.

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Around 5 hours and 20 minutes after we set off we got back down the bottom and straight into the Ben Nevis pub for a pint. Then a quick pot noodle meal by the car before setting off for Scafell Pike in the arse end of the Lakes. By that I mean because it’s like the land that time forgot when it comes to roads; they are ridiculously narrow. When the sun shines it certainly is a beautiful part of the World. Unfortunately the sun didn’t shine for us. It looked OK at the bottom but the cloud cover was low. By the time we reached the clouds we had endured a gruelling climb up the route known as the Brown Tongue. Having climbed this before Martin and I thought the worst of it was over. What a mistake that was. The cloud cover made us lose all orientation and we lost our way. Call it complacency or even stupidity but we got lost. So out came the map and the compass and we somehow found our way to the top.

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As you can probably tell from the pics, we couldn’t see much either. Visibility was down to a few feet and it was driving rain and 50 mph winds to boot. In reality we shouldn’t have done it as the conditions were too severe. We had all the necessary safety stuff with us but it was wet, rocky and very very windy. Combine that with our fatigue, hunger and soaking wet boots there was a real potential for a serious accident. As soon as we got to the bottom we set off to find a cafe for some food. As we were a long way from 21st century civilisation it took us some time to find anywhere, but we did. Whilst we were eating we checked the weather forecast for Snowdon. As it was forecasting similar conditions to the ones we had just endured I felt enough was enough and made the decision to abandon the third peak. I was met with opposition from my colleagues here but I wasn’t willing to let them injure themselves for what would really have just been bravado. In the end they all agreed and reluctantly we made our way home via a semi decent pub. We had in many ways achieved our objective to raise money and awareness for the East Cheshire Hospice so I think we can all hold our heads high with some sense of achievement.

We of course brought the severe weather back to Macc with us but that didn’t stop Skinless Finger performing a superb live set at Ronnie’s last night. We will have them back again as they were excellent. If you missed it check them out on Myspace. Our very own Tom Lake who was looking after the sound system last night described them as Hip Hop Funky Rock, a sort of cross between the Chilli Peppers and Rage Against The Machine, which is as good a description as any I reckon.

Our Weekend in Sound this week is sublime as usual. Brighty will be DJ-ing tonight accompanied by Mr Rylan. Tomorrow it’s Paul Hibbert and Benjo; and Saturday it is Steve Mack. A great line up and great music they never fail to entertain. And Sunday our live music is provided by Rich House and the superb Chris Birdsall. I can’t speak about Rich because I haven’t heard him yet, but I am assured by some of my friends and many people on the Macc music scene that he is well worth coming to see. I can however definitely vouch that Chris Birdsall is definitely worth coming to see as he has performed here as a solo artist before.  The day after his last gig here, Birdy’s mate Ben brought me a CD of his album. It is still in my car and played regularly. He is a huge talent and you won’t be disappointed that’s all I’m going to say. Just come and find out.

See you over the weekend.

Ronnie
Thursday 23 July 2009

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