Like many a Foreign Legionnaire, he had taken to the hills to try to forget the pain of an ill-fated affair, but Peter Benefer’s love for other species remained undimmed last night.
Next weekend, the architectural recruiter and amateur adventurer will embark on an audacious attempt to scale Yorkshire’s Three Peaks three times in a single weekend.
He hopes the expedition will bring in £5,000 for the Hedgehog Emergency Rescue charity in Bingley, to cover vets’ bills, food and an incubator.
“I’ve done the peaks twice consecutively but not three times,” said Mr Benefer, the 42-year-old father of a teenage daughter.
“It sounds extreme but I’ve heard of people doing much worse – jogging hundreds of miles and then doing the same thing next day. So this is nothing,”
His double run at Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough took 23½ hours, but he said: “We got really badly lost on one of the paths. Fortunately, one of the team had an app on his phone that he used to find his car.”
This time, walking alone, he will start after work on Friday with a view to checking into a hotel near the finish line on Sunday.
He said: “I’m not necessarily that interested in the Three Peaks themselves – it was just something I started doing after I broke up with a girl, to help get her out of my mind,”
But Mr Benefer, of West Park in north Leeds, said he did have a soft spot for bees, of which he keeps 20 colonies, and for hedgehogs.
“They’re just so vulnerable – I’ve always loved them,” he said.
“They’re critically endangered in this country. They’re really in grave peril but they don’t get the publicity of larger species throughout the world.”
He has a fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/peter-benefer-3peaks3times.