Photographing the Ty Hafan Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge 2016Monday June 20, 2016
The Pain and Ecstasy of the Ty Hafan Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge in Pictures
Walking up the 3 highest mountains in Wales in one day is anything but easy. I know as I completed the challenge twice before, but for the last 3 years my job has been simple: photograph the smiles, the grimaces and the pain as over 80 teams take on the Ty Hafan Welsh 3 Peaks Challenge.
Firstly, I wish to commend anyone who walks into registration on the Friday afternoon and signs up to take on the challenge. Climbing Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen Y Fan in one day is not easy. It is both a physical and mental challenge and success is often down to teamwork as much as individual drive and determination.
This year we were blessed with better weather than 2015, much to the relief of everyone. Despite heavy rain bouncing off the road as I drove up to Betws-y-Coed on Friday, it had cleared by Saturday. In fact, the weather at the base of the Snowdon track in the Pen-y-Pass carpark at 3:30am couldn't have been better. Not too hot, not too cold and even the midges seemed to have stayed away.
Rather than just stay in the finish areas of each mountain, I like to get a little way up to actually get photos of the teams in action. It means lugging heavy photography kit up a few hills, but then we get team shots with wonderful views.
After all the teams had departed towards the Snowdon summit, I drove down to Llanberis to meet up with some of the drivers and scrounge a much-needed cup of tea. The drivers are the unsung heroes of the day, hanging about for hours before feeding and then transporting the weary climbers onto the next mountain. Thanks Paul and Dave, the drivers for the Dads Ty Hafan team, for the hot tea!
Another set of unsung heroes are the organising team from Ty Hafan and the volunteers from GE Aviation Wales. Without them the event simply could not go ahead. They are present late for registration on Friday, early for the start at Snowdon on Saturday morning and finally late into Saturday evening at Pen-y-Fan. Awesome!
Then I drove and walked up to a good vantage point where I could catch the teams coming down Snowdon.
Then it was onto Cadair Idris, a drive of over a hour, and the toughest mountain of the 3. By this time I was with a team of Dads from Ty Hafan and decided to walk up the dreaded steps to find a position where I could photograph the team with Cadair Idris in the background. With my backpack of photography gear, I started climbing the steps and the Dads team quickly left me behind as they marched onwards. Half way up I questioned my sanity, but carried on until I got a great position on the main trail.
The hour or so I was there flew by and I headed back down the horrid uneven steps to the carpark. Then it was onto Pen-y-Fan, a drive of over 2 hours. By this time there was no more climbing mountains for me and I positioned myself at the bottom where the teams would have to cross over a stream on a wooden bridge. The final crossing! The point at which relief oozed out of the challengers as they completed the final mountain.
Once again, it was a great weekend and I have to applaud everyone who took part and raised funds for an amazing charity. Ty Hafan would not be able to provide amazing support to families across Wales without such support. You are all heroes!
And I hope I photographed your best side!
All the photos can be seen on the Ty Hafan Welsh 3 Peaks section on the website and the profit of any sales go straight back to Ty Hafan. I hope you like them!
For further information on Commercial, Industrial or Event Photography, please contact Paul on:
Mobile: 07909 103789
Via the website
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