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Fife woman’s ‘crazy’ three peaks in 24 hours challenge in mum’s memory

Nicky (second from the right) with friends Charlotte Hebdon, Lucy Harley, Sarah Dawson, and brother Iain.
Nicky (second from the right) with friends Charlotte Hebdon, Lucy Harley, Sarah Dawson, and brother Iain.

A Fife woman has just completed a feat even seasoned climbers would think twice about – in memory of her beloved mum.

Nicky Wilson, from Cupar, was just a teenager when her mum, Aileen, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and later lung cancer.

Sadly, this week marks the five year anniversary of Aileen passing away at just 51.

To honour the date, Nicky wanted to challenge herself to do something big. And what’s bigger than climbing three of the highest peaks in the UK in 24 hours?

Aileen was supported by Maggie’s Dundee. And so Nicky and friends set out on the ‘crazy’ against-the-clock climbing challenge, to raise funds for the centre.

Nicky (centre) with brother, Iain, and mum, Aileen.
Nicky (centre) with brother, Iain, and mum, Aileen.

The three peaks challenge involves climbing Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike in just 24 hours.

Nicky, 27, says: “For three or four years, mum did all the usual chemo and radiotherapy. She then went onto a drugs trial.

“Thankfully, she was able to keep working the whole time, at the Double Tree by Hilton in Dundee where she was food and beverage manager.

“It was a fairly full on job, so much so that after she died, a lot of her staff didn’t even know she was ill. She just carried on as if nothing was wrong.”

Maggie’s Dundee

Nicky, who describes her mum as “a force to be reckoned with”, chose to raise money for Maggie’s Dundee in thanks for all the support both she and Aileen received.

She continues: “Mum got a lot of support for worries about her finances, her health, hair loss. She’d be able to go in and just unwind.

“She was very conscious, especially when we were younger, that she didn’t want to burden us.

“She’d often go in to have a cup of tea and chat with the volunteers and support staff to discuss the best options for wigs or what to do post-surgery.

“Sometimes, she’d just go in and read for a while, to have a break from the hustle and bustle.

“Once she passed away, I went in for a couple of counselling sessions, to get a bit of extra support to process things in the six months after she died.”

‘None of us had done a Munro before!’

Nicky, her brother Iain, and three friends took on their biggest challenge last weekend.

Nicky says: “We’re all quite outdoorsy. But we’re not really walkers – none of us had done a Munro before we started!

“My three best friends said ‘you sound crazy, but let’s give it a go’.

Nicky (middle right), with friends Sarah Dawson, Charlotte Hebdon and Lucy Harley.
Fife woman Nicky (middle right), with friends Sarah Dawson, Charlotte Hebdon and Lucy Harley completed Three Peaks challenge.

“Iain was keen to get involved but with work commitments, the walking wasn’t really doable for him, so he offered to drive.”

Racing against the clock

Completing the challenge means doing 23 miles of walking, 3,064m in ascent over the three mountains and 462 miles of driving.

Nicky adds: “We drove to Wales on Friday night and started Snowdon at 10am on Saturday.

“After that, we drove to Scafell Pike and started that at 5.30pm, finishing just after 8.30pm.

“Then, we started Ben Nevis with head torches at 2am and finished around 8am on Sunday.

“Iain had a stopwatch and we phoned him when we thought we had about 20 minutes to go before the 22 hour mark.

Charlotte, Lucy, Nicky and Sarah completed the Three Peaks challenge in less than 22 hours, with Iain driving.

“He told us we’d better run because there was only 13 minutes left. When we got down, my auntie and uncle – my mum’s brother – met us at the bottom.

“We had a glass of champagne and went for breakfast. We were really relieved and happy to have finished in such good time as well.”

The team effort has raised more than £10,000 for Maggie’s Dundee in both online and offline donations.

Nicky says: “Mum would have thought we were totally bonkers, but I think she’d have been dead proud we’d set our minds to it.”

To donate to Nicky’s fundraiser, visit her JustGiving page.

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