Three Peaks Challenge for Autistic People

by Daniella McConnachie in Blackwater, England, United Kingdom

Three Peaks Challenge for Autistic People
We did it
On 26th October 2018 we successfully raised £2,901 with 92 supporters in 47 days

We’re in the process of setting up walking groups & would like to equip people with the correct footwear & clothing for such activities.

by Daniella McConnachie in Blackwater, England, United Kingdom

New stretch target

We want to raise money to provide our service users with exercise equipment that they can use in their own homes and our school where they can be supported to undertake a physical activity.

Daniella has been a learning disability nurse for 18 years and is passionate about improving both the health and social care needs of the people she supports.  Supporting people with autism throughout her career, Daniella has increased her knowledge by completing a Mental Health Degree and also a Masters in Autism to increase her understanding. Bringing a wealth of experience Daniella has recently joined the team at Spectrum, a Cornish based charity for people with autism. 

Mary Simpson CEO Spectrum & Daniella McConnachie

Recognising that physical activity is key to our health and well-being, Daniella trains regularly and wanted to complete the National Three Peaks Challenge. Grasping the opportunity to raise funds for the people she supports at Spectrum, Daniella was delighted that some of the Spectrum team (see below) agreed their support, giving up their weekends for training and hours of driving needed for this challenge.

Meet the Team - 24 hours for Autism - Daniella McConnachie, Alison Maguire, Sarah Card, Andrew Atkinson, Robin Gunson, Dec Tyler, Lyndsay Kitchen.


I am the PA to Spectrums Chief Executive, Mary Simpson.  When asked to take part in the Three Peak Challenge Allison said; I absolutely love a challenge, and this is such a good cause.  Daniella works really hard with the people with autism at Spectrum, to help them to live a fit and healthy lifestyle, her enthusiasm and sense of humour will keep us all going up the three peaks.  I have been involved in athletics and fitness all of my life, I am a former county athlete and have helped coach athletes where needed.  This is a big challenge and we will be pushing some pain thresholds in training to achieve this.  Most of all this will raise funds to start a walking group for some of the most lovely people, who just need that safety net to partake in physical activity.  You will know yourself, the value of a good walk and how good it can make you feel about yourself, this is our goal for others here and I am looking forward to completing it. 


Writing this it’s only just dawning on me what an absolute crazy thing this challenge is! If you’d have told me 2 years ago I’d be hiking up the 3 highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales I would have belly laughed you out of the room, and believe me there was a hell of a lot of belly back then! I couldn’t even run 300 yards.  Anyway, a personal trainer, CrossFit and various boot camps later I am a lot fitter and healthier and I actually enjoy training (something I never thought I would say!). I wouldn’t say that I am fully prepared to take on the Three Peaks but I am going to give it my all for such a fantastic cause!

I started working for Spectrum just over a year ago, and boy, what a place to work. I absolutely love my job, I wouldn’t change it for the world! Spectrum makes such a huge difference to so many lives, which is an awesome feeling. We work with adults and children who have complex and challenging needs and we never allow their condition to rule their lives. The money we raise from this challenge will help to buy exercise equipment and clothing for those we support to help promote a healthy and active lifestyle.

I can’t wait to hike up them hills with the 24 hours for autism team! Three Peaks, we’re coming for ya…!!


Hello, I am Andrew, Dec’s right-hand man at the unit The Beach, sometimes known as Robin… I am passionate about the outdoors and a keen walker, surfer and cyclist. I think being outside and active in the fresh air is essential to maintaining fitness levels and good mental health. I am relishing the opportunity of the challenge with my colleagues; I just hope there is not too much snow on route! It is also a chance to raise money and purchase equipment for the service users of Spectrum, to help encourage them to engage with the great outdoors and help them by equipment that they otherwise may not have been able to afford.


Robin is Head of Developments for Spectrum and has worked for the Charity in excess of 35 years.  Robin is a man.

He will happily drive everybody else.  He does not like the thought of all those hills and all that effort.  However, he plans to go up Snowdon on the Train and is good at waving.


Hi am Dec but better known as Batman to my colleagues as you never see the two of us in the same room together I have worked for spectrum for 10 years and now the Manger at one of our homes The Beach and am looking forward to driving the team of walkers (then put total miles ) so they can walk the Three Peaks in 24 hours... Wish it was in the bat mobile but unfortunately they won't all fit... I would have offered to walk but I'm not that stupid, oh and my spider man suits at the dry cleaners..... Can you tell I love DC and Marval ☺


Lyndsay is the Regional Manager for the East - Like all of us embarking on our adventure I like to challenge myself from time to time and for me being able to do this in the elements is the icing on the cake (I’ll need lots of this by the end)! Getting outside and keeping fit is one of my favourite pass times and being able to share the endorphin rush and achievement with others adds to the gratification.  I climbed Mount Olympus in 2014 and completed the Three Peak Challenge in 2015 but in seventy-two hours not twenty-four and so I am anticipating that the blisters may be bigger this time! However, with the giggles and banter to get us through I’m sure they’ll be worth it (?).  Our aim is to encourage walking for the people we support, and we hope that in time they will help us to form our walking group; enabling them to experience the feel-good factor walking can bring.

About Spectrum...

Spectrum is an autism specialist charity with a long record of working with children and adults who have complex and challenging needs, who offer tailor made support which enables and empowers individuals to be active members of society, leading a fulfilled life and playing valued social roles.  Through Spectrum's expertise, our environments are designed to minimise the impact of autism in line with the latest CQC guidelines and best practice. Spectrum has a dedicated positive behavioural support team consisting of a leading autism specialist consultant, a clinical psychologist and behavioural specialist and have a strong track record of working with people with complex communication difficulties. Our specialist approach has supported people to develop the socially functional skills to enjoy relationships and friendships; sharing interests and activities with others. We aim to promote the health, development and well-being of each individual whilst encouraging and nurturing their specific interests. Whatever a person’s condition, we don’t allow it to rule their life.  Instead we aim to limit its impact by supporting them to take control of their lives as far as possible.

We know that people with autism display higher rates of chronic health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and obesity when compared to the general population.  A lack of sufficient daily physical activity is the primary cause of most chronic conditions and social isolation can accommodate this. Many people with autism miss out on the benefit and enjoyment of exercise because sport and physical activity leaders aren’t always aware of the impact of the condition’s ‘hidden’ differences, such as heightened fear and anxiety in social situations, sensory challenges, and differences with understanding body language and metaphor. Certain behaviours are sometimes perceived as being a problem, when in fact there may be many other reasons that explain the behaviours, such as a reaction to coping with a sensory sensitivity or misunderstanding certain communications.

Reading this, you may be able to tell that I care deeply about the health and well-being of the people I support. Climbing the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales within 24 hours in October is our challenge; which is both exciting and terrifying! Giving to this fundraiser will improve the lives and health of people who find their own daily lives a challenge.  Please help us to change lives. 

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