Stuart Hughes and 50 fellow walkers complete the "Top of the Hill" Challenge.......
"It's not how far you can go in life, it's who you are able to walk with"
Funds raised over £2,000+ and counting. Thank you to those who donated to the event so generously(by post, cash on the day and online Virgin Money Giving), many anonymously and also from those who for one reason or another could not attend.
This was the second year of 'Top of the Hill Challenge' and we are sure there will be a third!
For those who joined the walk last year, they will remember a week of rain preceding a beautiful day of walking on the Saturday of the Top of the Hill Challenge This year, it had also been raining for most of the week, but on the day as people arrived in Coniston Village, the enthusiasm built up as the rain held off.
We had a warm welcome at the Coniston Mountain Rescue post from the MAG and Coniston Mountain Rescue teams and our Guest of Honour - the BBC's Stuart Hughes. During the arrivals walkers were able to check out the facilities at the base including the climbing wall and the display of mines and cluster bomb devices. Stuart was happy to pass his leg around, but thankfully he did get it back for the walk! We drank plenty of tea and coffee and cakes and supplies of 'Michael's Rations' which were distributed to make sure there was plenty of energy for the day ahead.
As there were over 50 walkers we set off in three different groups. The 33 valley walkers split up into two groups after the Coppermines Youth Hostel. The Elite Group 1 departed at 10.15, Elite Group 2 at 10.45, closely followed by the valley walkers. At the remotely located Youth Hostel pit stop, there was an outstanding choice of cakes to accompany a hot drink, before continuing.
The Valley walkers split into two groups after the Youth Hostel, to allow the more adventurous to climb up to the Levers Water Dam via Levers Water Beck. All the Valley walkers continued on to the Pudding Stone, crossing the becks over wooden bridges, passing raging waterfalls and old mine workings to complete a circumnavigation of the Copper mines Valley. They had the benefit of commentaries from Shep and Rob, who between them have many years of experience as volunteers with the Coniston Mountain Rescue Team.
Elite Group 1Team leader Dr Steve Horton; back stop Kevin Dibble(CMRT)
Team members: Stuart Hughes, Tim H, Tim W, John U, Jacob D, Peter W, Roger E.
Route - Walna Scar Road, Boulder Valley, Levers Water, Levers Hawse, Old Man of Coniston, descent off the shoulder to Walna Scar Road
Elite Group 2Team leader Dr Martin Atherton; back stop Michael Barr
Team members: Geoff B, Jacqueline T, Jackie G, Naz G, Kim T, Carl T, Chris W, Jack W, Lucy W, Pistol Pete.
Route - Fell Gate, Coppermines Valley, YH, Levers Water, Levers Hawse, Old Man of Coniston, descent via Small Water to Walna Scar Road
We were often shrouded in mist. Many of the walkers told me it was a new experience for them and interesting to have a day where you feel you are walking with the clouds parting before you. No views but atmospheric. It was well worth the effort to have an escorted day without the need to navigate.
We all met up at Coniston Sports & Social club for food and a well earned beer. The dogs all had a great day and no doubt slept all the way home without the need to keep counting sheep! For them it will have been the walk of the year.
The children were delightful company and will each have their stories to tell and will receive a Certificate of Achievement.
It was not easy to organise, but success was guaranteed as I had the help of my friends Steve and Martin who led the Elite walkers, Katie and Andrew who took out the time to become familiar with the valley, Sarah and Ingrid of MAG for their help before and during the event, Kevin, Shep and Rob of CMR, Ben and Katy at the youth Hostel and of course Stuart Hughes, who is always willing to help a good cause between globetrotting for the BBC News service.
To see the photos click here. There will be more photos posted in the next week so revisit to have a look at the additions.
Michael Barr - Event organiser