Manx 3 Peaks by Ruth Baxendale

Manx 3 Peaks by Ruth Baxendale

The Manx Three Peaks Challenge took place on Sunday July 12, with 100 walkers taking on the challenge of climbing the three highest peaks on the Isle of Man, startng and ending at sea level.

The startng point was Ramsey beach at 8am on a warm clear morning, where a crowd of people had gathered wearing walking gear, rucksacks and walking boots. There was a buzz of excitement at being part of the first organised group to undertake this challenge and everyone was in good spirits.

The walkers set off at a brisk pace, climbing up through the picturesque Ballure Glen and crossing the Hibernia Road before tackling the steep climb up the shoulder of North Barrule. This was to be the most strenuous part of the hike, with walkers' calves burning and lungs burstng with the effort, and the walkers were soon strung out along the track as the fitter ones kept to a faster pace. As the group reached higher altitudes, the temperature dropped and the wind got appreciably colder, so coats were unpacked from back packs. On the summit, a well-wrapped marshal was already waiting to check off each walker against his list.

From North Barrule, the group took the path along the ridge towards the Black Hut on the Mountain Road. Despite the claim that there were three peaks in this challenge, it was noticeable that the ridge from North Barrule included several more summits! From the Black Hut, the route took the walkers straight uphill, another steep climb, and crossed the Mountain Railway to reach the summit of Snaefell, where a marshal on a bicycle checked in the walkers again. How the bicycle got up there is a mystery – the Mountain Railway wasn't running. The walkers then took the main path down Snaefell to the Bungalow, where the organisers were providing refreshments in the form of water and fresh fruit. After 3 ½ hours walking, a banana was a very welcome snack.

The most aggravating stretch of the walk followed, with the route running alongside the Mountain Road, but without a marked path. The walkers struggled with the trek across very boggy, marshy ground, with knee high reeds, mounds and streams. After crossing the Beinn-Y-Phott road, a more solid path took the walkers to the summit of Beinn-Y-Phott and the happy knowledge that they had reached the three highest peaks in the Isle of Man, all before lunchtime.

After checking in with another marshal who had taken refuge in a sheltered spot just below the summit, the walkers now re-traced their steps, back across the marshy field to the footbridge at the Bungalow. With the squelchy bog now behind them, and descending out of the wind, the walkers were able to enjoy the sunshine on the downhill slope into the Laxey valley, reaching the Snaefell Mines where some stopped to have a picnic lunch with a view, while others forged ahead. The rough track from the Snaefell Mines down to Agneash was a further test, with some steep descents and an eroded, rocky surface. Once past Agneash, the walkers were back on tarmac for the walk down through Laxey, past the Laxey Wheel and the washing floors to the tram shed, where a narrow muddy path followed the Laxey River down to the shore, and welcoming applause at the finish line.

The trek covered approximately 15 miles, but the main challenges were the elevation, the terrain, and the desire not to be left behind by the other walkers! Fortunately, the weather was kind and the organisers and participants were friendly and cheerful, making a challenging and exhausting trek into a great day out.

The event was arranged by the Children's Centre to raise funds for a technology room and safe space for children and young people. Andy and Ruth Baxendale took part and would like to thank everyone who sponsored them, with promised donations at the time of publication already well exceeding their sponsorship goal of £75 – it currently stands at £448!

The support for this challenge was really appreciated and definitely helped to motivate them.

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