Pink boys reach for the skies

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A TRIO of ale-drinking pals are ditching their beer for walking boots this weekend - and are tickled pink about it.

The mates, who all drink in The Grey Horse pub in Elvington, are gearing up to tackle the National Three Peaks Challenge - hiking up Britain’s three tallest peaks in just 24 hours.

Gareth Ames, Simon Lock and Simon Prudames will be joined by support team Andrew Hudson and landlord David Forster when they climb Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in the Lake District and Snowdon in North Wales - a combined climb of over 3,400 metres and a total drive of over 450 miles to reach the locations.

To highlight their challenge to raise money for St Leonard’s Hospice in York, they said they would do the tough task in pink tutus if they raised over £500. To date, they have raised £621.

Gareth, a 46-year-old graphic designer and father of two, explained: “It was one of our friends in the pub quiz team who came up with the idea, and the pink tutu idea was to give people more incentive to sponsor us - also, if we need to be rescued the bright pink tutu should certainly help!

“We have done challenges before - we canoed across Scotland a few years ago, so he was thinking of something equally challenging.

“We did the Yorkshire Three Peaks as well, which was tough because of the weather but we did it for training recently and it was okay.”

While the beer may have been flowing when the challenge was laid down, the group are taking it very seriously, having spent the past seven months training. Walking at least a few times a week, they have already tackled Scafell Pike as part of their regime, which is considered the most challenging of the three peaks.

“We are taking it seriously because we have heard stories about people trying and failing it,” added Gareth.

“It will be tough, we know it’s not just a casual walk! It’s been important to build up our strength and stamina.

“We are really looking forward to it. We’ve spent so much time thinking about it and planning it we just want to get on and do it now.

“We’ve got to be prepared for the weather and we’ve got to carry plenty of clothes in case the weather turns nasty, it won’t be possible to just do it in shorts and t-shirt - snow was reported on Snowdon last month!”

With Andrew and David as the designated drivers, the intrepid team will make their way north of the border on Saturday afternoon, and are hoping to set off scaling Ben Nevis at around 5pm.

They predict it will take five hours to complete the task, and will look to leave Scotland at 10pm with a six/seven hour drive to Scafell Pike. They hope to begin that climb at 4am and again complete it within five hours.

They will then begin the four-hour drive to North Wales before hopefully completing that walk in four hours.

And while beer may be their usual tipple, they have something a little more special for when they cross the finishing line.

“We’re not planning on taking any beer, but we do have a bottle of champagne for the end,” Gareth added.

To sponsor their plight, log onto www.justgiving.com/greyhorse3peaks or donate money at the Grey Horse in Elvington.