It was in November 2007 that adventures Andy Torbet and Monty Halls in aid for Help For Heroes, attempted the ‘Three Lake Challenge‘. Conceived by Andy while completing the more famous Three Peaks Challenge, the idea was to raise money for the charity and inspire other scuba diving clubs.
Starting at the Mountain Cafe in Aviemore, the challenge aimed that within 24 hours, the pair would dive the highest lakes in Scotland (Coire an Lochan, Cairngorms), England (Red Tarn, Lake District) and Wales (Ffynnon Lloer, Snowdonia). They would complete the challenge in 23 hours and 10 minutes, having traveled some 436 miles in total, hiking 23 miles on foot to each dive site in air temperatures as low as 2degC and water temperatures as low as 4degC with windchill reaching -16degC. Hauling all their kit weighing 25kg when dry and 30kg when wet to dive each lake to a minimum of 5 metres for 10 minutes, the prerequisite and definition for logging a dive was strenuous and gruelling, where at Red Tarn in winds of 50MPH they were close to calling the dive.
With that explanation, in April 2018 we’ll see two ex Divemasters from the popular Vobster Quay dive site embark on the same gruelling 24 hour diving and mountaineering fundraiser. Sarah Tingey (27) and Rachael Priest (25) will be the first women to attempt the challenge, with their aim to raise £2,500 for the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Service.
The pair have titled their adventure Mission High Water (MHW) and their team will attempt to be the first mixed team to successfully complete the combined scuba diving mountaineering Three Lakes Challenge. According to their research, it will be the first time the challenge will be attempted by women. They have decided to embrace their love for both the outdoors and underwater ‘pond dipping’ through an challenge like no other.
We will start the clock in Scotland and it won’t stop ‘til we get back to the car safely in Wales.” says Tingey. “The teammates will hike up a mountain to the first lake, get kitted up, dive for at least 20 minutes, de-kit, hike down, drive to the next location, and repeat twice more” all within 24 hours.
The pair are training hard through the winter, walking long distances up to 10 hours a day, along with incremental cold water swims, lugging weighted ruck sacks to prepare for arduous mountain hiking. Normally used to diving in drysuits with twinset cylinders, the women will adjust their gear to make the treks easier using lightweight and smaller cylinders and using rocks for buoyancy collected on site, rather than lead weights. To complete the Three Lakes Challenge successfully, the women must carry all their gear and be self-sufficient while hiking and diving.
Full details to compete the challenge are available to download from Torbet’s website with some top tips, my favourite being to “Use rocks on site as extra weight. Don’t carry weight-belts up the mountains, your knees will not thank you.”
Suunto diving have generously donated dive computers to the MHW team. For every £2.00 you donate, you will be automatically entered into a charity prize draw to win a dive computer! The computers will be brand new before being worn by the MHW team. If won, the only dives they will have logged will be those from the challenge!