From 13:02 3rd May to 12:27 4th May 2009, an all-vegan team completed the famous UK Three Peaks Challenge. Why would three otherwise well-behaved, sensible young folk brave snow, freezing winds, sharp rocks and assorted injuries to run around cold, dark mountain peaks in the middle of the night? (i) because they were mentally ill, (ii) to repent for past sins, or (iii) because they were wickedly blackmailed into participating?
Whilst the truth may never be fully revealed, certain facts are clear. The three peaks they successfully climbed are the highest in all of Wales (Mt Snowdon), England (Scafell Pike) and Scotland (Ben Nevis). They walked, ran and painfully limped around 25 miles (40 km), climbed around 10,000 feet (3,050 m), and endured a hair-raising drive of nearly 500 miles over winding mountain roads at night, averaging less than 2 hours sleep!
However, the climbers did have one important advantage. All are members of the Extreme Vegan Sporting Association, which means that as well as being naturally skilled at doing extremely silly things, they are committed vegans, and therefore enjoy certain important advantages over meat-eating mountaineers, such as higher antioxidant status ― which speeds exercise recovery. The vegan guarana tablets also helped, as did the super-comfy vegan boots, energising vegan sheese and flapjacks supplied by their kindly sponsors.
Although the free vegan food was admittedly a major motivation, the main reason for completing this crazy event was to raise money for Animals Count ― a UK political party for people and animals. The team raised around £1,300, which will help Animals Count contest the EU elections on 4th June 2009. This will be the first time a UK political party for animals will have contested these elections. By doing so Animals Count aims to increase the consideration given to animal issues by all political parties.
Team Vegan minimised their environmental impacts during their Three Peaks Challenge by leaving no litter, using mountain paths, and neutralising the carbon emissions created by their trip by purchasing a resource conservation portfolio at www.CarbonNeutral.co.uk (no sponsorship funds were used for this). Most importantly, however, they and their equipment were entirely vegan! Why is that important? Because animal agriculture is one of the largest contributors to global warming and species loss, producing more greenhouse gases than the entire transport sector combined (1). It is, of course, also frequently cruel to animals, and bad for human health. Further information about these important issues is available from organisations like the Vegan Society and Vegan Outreach.
(1)Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Livestock’s Long Shadow:Environmental Issues and Options. Rome, Italy: FAO; 2007.
Supreme Master TV. 29 Aug. 2009.