Hockey duo dribble ball up and down Ben Nevis

Jon Bleby (left) and Andy Halliday tackle three peaks while hitting, flicking and bouncing a ball. Picture: PA

Jon Bleby (left) and Andy Halliday tackle three peaks while hitting, flicking and bouncing a ball. Picture: PA

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TWO national hockey coaches have completed a quirky fundraising challenge by dribbling hockey balls up and down the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales for charity.

Team manager Andy Halliday and assistant coach Jon Bleby took 17 hours and 25 minutes to tackle the peaks of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and finally Snowdon while hitting, flicking and bouncing a ball in their own version of the Three Peaks Challenge.

The pair took time off from the GB men’s hockey squad to raise money for WellChild and Access Sport. They took 8 hours, 6 minutes to scale Ben Nevis, 5 hours and 30 minutes to tackle Scafell Pike and Mount Snowdon took 3 hours and 49 minutes to complete.

After finishing the three-day challenge, which included 11,000 feet of ascent and descent without picking up the ball, Halliday said: I am physically and mentally exhausted. There have been moments where I doubted whether this would be possible.”

Bleby described it as “a tremendously enjoyable, but painful experience - with so many different challenges and problems”.

They hit the ball at an average of around 50 times per minute - approximately 72,000 touches of the ball in total for each dribbler.

The effort was backed by GB hockey sponsor NOW: Pensions, whose chief executive Morten Nilsson said: “This challenge was, in every way, an uphill struggle for the guys and it’s been fascinating following them on their incredible journey over the past three days.

“Despite facing unkind weather conditions, Andy and Jon still managed to complete the challenge with big smiles on their faces. This is an amazing achievement and I wish them both a very well-deserved rest this weekend”.

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GB hockey coaches to dribble ball up Ben Nevis

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