A GROUP of mainly strangers brought together by former Ospreys player Scott Otten became a band of brothers after taking on the Welsh Three Peaks Challenge.
The 17-strong group scaled Yr Wyddfa at sunrise, then headed south to Cadair Idris before completing their challenge at Pen y Fan in Bannau Brycheiniog National Park.
The walkers were aged from their early 20s through to 65 and have raised more than £8,500 for mental health charity Swansea Mind, with the final amount to be confirmed on Friday, May 26.
“The more awareness we can spread for mental health the more beneficial it is for everyone,” said Scott, 28.
“I think the most important thing is that these blokes, including myself, created new friendships. Everybody has battled with mental health for whatever reason, and whatever time of life, and we came together to conquer 17 hours of walking.
“I had 10 years as a professional rugby player and it was one of the most humbling atmospheres I’ve been part of.”
Scott said he knew all the group, bar one, but that most of the others didn’t. They headed up to Eryri National Park the evening before in vehicles driven by two drivers, including Scott’s father, who both provided valuable support throughout the big day on May 20.
Scott said Cadair Idris was by far the hardest peak, but that everyone had each other’s back, sharing snacks and drinks on what was a hot day and offering encouragement. “The most wonderful part of it was the team cohesion,” he said. “A few people said that if they were on their own they would not have done it.”
Scott said he has spoken previously about a breakdown he had nine months after having to retire from rugby in 2021 , aged 26, due to a neck injury he suffered in a match against the Dragons.
This year he is doing a challenge every month – in June it’s the Swansea Half Marathon. “It’s that feeling of accomplishment,” he said. He is currently commercial manager at the Ospreys and also runs coffee distribution business SO Coffee.
The group of walkers celebrated each peak with a beer, went their separate ways after Pen y Fan and then assembled remotely for a “virtual beer” the following day.
– You can sponsor Scott until 5pm on Friday, May 26, by visiting his Just Giving Welsh Three Parks 24 Hour Challenge webpage.