Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme


National 3 Peaks Challenge

3 Peaks logo

7 Sixth Form pupils and 2 teachers undertook a challenge which Holy Family High School had not attempted in over 20 years.  The Sixth Form students wanted to end their time at Holy Family High School by doing something that they would remember for the rest of their lives.  They also wanted to do The National 3 Peaks Challenge to raise funds towards Help for Heroes.  Mr Kinsella our Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme Manager did it for the Diamond Challenge which celebrates 60 Years of the D of E Award Programme.

Students Teachers/Leaders Support Team

John Harrison

Scott Hamilton

Beth Williams

David White

Joseph Hazard

Sarah Morgan

Callum Corke

Mr Kinsella

Mr Thorp

Miss Doherty

G Draper (Signum Travel)

Training for the National 3 Peaks Challenge

All of the Sixth Form Students had already completed their Gold D of E expeditions which involved walking over 100 miles in 8 days in total.  They also attended training sessions in the classroom and prepared themselves for the challenge by walking up Scafell and Snowdon several times prior to the event.  All the candidates were able to walk up and down the mountains within a 4 hour timeframe.  This was the target which was needed to achieve the challenge successfully.

The 3 Peaks Challenge

This was a real Holy Family Experience.  Everyone including the driver, Graham Draper, a former pupil of the school who now runs a minibus hire firm called Signum Travel was involved in the achievement of this challenge.  The team stayed in Oban the previous night to ensure that they were fully rested before embarking on the challenge.  The aim was to climb the 3 highest points in Scotland, England and Wales within a 24 hour time scale.

3 Peaks 1

Ben Nevis

At 5.00pm on Friday 8th July 2016 all 9 climbers set off up Ben Nevis which was 1,345 metres.  The weather was perfect.  The sun was out and the breeze was ideal for walking conditions.  The team were strong and it wasn’t long before we were near the top.  At 800 metres the visibility was poor and we started to walk on snow.  The team reached the top of Ben Nevis in 2 hours 51 minutes.  They returned to the base were the minibus was waiting at exactly 5 hours.  This is the time frame that would keep the team on schedule to achieve the challenge.

Scafell Pike

The drive to the base of this meant that the team were ahead of schedule.  The climb started at 3.30am and the weather was against the team.  Visibility was poor, driving rain and the wind speed was 30mph.  The conditions were so bad that an alternative route was used which hadn’t been planned for to get to the top which involved climbing and additional use of energy.  Although this was the smallest mountain to climb 978 metres, it was the one which took the longest to achieve, 

5 hours 20 minutes.  However, the team were still on track to achieve their target time.  The group left Cumbria and headed to Wales at 8.00am.  All were wet and cold but the support team provided warm drinks and food for the travel to the final mountain.


The team set off at 12.50pm to climb the 1,085metres of Snowdon.  By this time the weather had worsened and the wind speed had increased to 50mph gusts.  At the top of Snowdon the visibility was really bad and the team didn’t spend much time there due to the time constraints and the severe weather conditions.  This mountain involved a combination of climbing and walking and the challenge in this case was the weather more than the mountain.  Visibility was so poor that 2 way radios were used between the leaders at the front and rear.  The team returned to the base with an overall time of 23 hours 49 minutes.  CHALLENGE ACHIEVED.

3 Peaks 2

More photographs taken on the challenge can be found in our Photo Gallery


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Holy Family Catholic High School

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