Bethany and the Welsh 3000s

Bethany, who completed her IB at Headington in 2019, has just completed the Welsh 3,000s to raise money for Cancer Research UK and Crohn’s and Colitis UK. She was inspired by Headington’s former Director of Sport, Mrs Naida Burton, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and her sister, who has ulcerative colitis.

Read her account below.

Our Welsh 3000s journey started in the bank holiday traffic, arriving at Pen y Pass in the dark. We reached Snowdon’s summit at midnight and battled against the strong winds to get in our bivvy bags, with the starred sky as our ceiling. We woke at first light to a busier summit than expected: all people wanting to witness the beautiful sunrise over the mountains. 6.00 am was our official start time and we set off to tackle Garnedd Ugain and the knife-edge ridge of Crib Goch. Scrambling and climbing along took longer than we’d hoped, as there were five of us and it was important to be careful with massive drops on both sides. We descended down the scree slope to the north of Crib Goch and jogged along to Nant Peris, before preparing for the 2,687ft (819m) climb up Elidir Fawr (more climb than up Snowdon, which is only 2,382ft (726m) up from Pen y Pass).

We were fortunate to get enough signal on Elidir Fawr to briefly video call Mrs Burton and Mrs Kenny from the summit and it was great to let them know how we were getting on. From Elidir Fawr, it was an enjoyable and less steep trek to Y Garn before we began the climb up the scree to the Glyders. After rock-hopping and scrambling between Glyder Fawr, Castell y Gwynt and Glyder Fach and a quick photo on the cantilever rock, there was a treacherous rocky descent to the col before we climbed Tryfan. Unfortunately there was no Adam and Eve photo op due to the swarms of flying ants which attacked us at the summit, so we moved off quickly. We had been forewarned earlier in the day by a friendly mountaineer of the notorious descent off Tryfan. We were amazed to hear that the record descent time was just seven minutes, it having taken us over an hour!

The light was already starting to go before we started up Pen yr Ole Wen for the final section, having lost time on Crib Goch and due to my knee injury slowing us down on the descents. Nevertheless, we made it up the 2,205ft climb (literally at points) in just an hour and a half and still with the energy to run along the ridge towards Carnedd Dafydd. From then on we were in complete darkness on the top and in very high winds, intensifying the navigational challenge. Not being able to see the peak at all in the darkness, contouring round to Yr Elen was difficult and made more so by Fiona’s main headtorch breaking! We took the safe option and climbed higher to make sure we didn’t miss it. It took a lot of resolve to get to Yr Elen, seeing as the route to Carnedd Llewelyn doubled back on ourselves and it was 11.00 pm by then. After Carnedd Llewelyn we were able to see the silhouette of the final summit and our speed seemed to double as we ticked off the last few peaks. It was a great feeling as we touched the final trig point on Foel-fras, having traversed 55km over the 13,000ft of climb. Our overall time was: 19 hours and 7 minutes. Perhaps the hardest part of the entire challenge was the 6km trek with 1,713ft descent from the summit to the car. After 19 hours of being on our feet, the effort to even keep our eyes open was extreme. At 3.00 am we were finally in the car, exhausted but happy to have completed the challenge!

We are really pleased to have raised so much for Cancer Research UK and Crohn’s and Colitis UK in the process; thank you very much to everyone who has donated so generously! If you’d still like to donate, the fundraising page is still open at