A family day out in the Lake District and what we thought would be a quiet walk up to the summit of the Old Man of Coniston. Driving to our start point we spotted signs for The Coniston Challenge but had no idea what or where it was and what was involved. As we made our way up we were joined by groups of people with numbers. Curiosity got to me and I asked. The challenge was indeed a challenge, cycling 12km through Grizedale Forest, hiking 10km up the Old Man of Coniston and finishing with a 1km kayak along the lake. The challenge was raising money for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
The first group we spoke to had named themselves “Gone Cuckoo”. They had driven up from Sussex and said they thought it was a great charity and were looking forward to completing the challenge.
The next group we spoke to had practiced the course two weeks earlier to ensure they could complete the challenge. We met groups of friends, families, a group from university and also from a rowing club. Many were saying they wanted a challenge and to do one for such a great cause was such a bonus. Marshals were all members of the local Mountain Rescue. As the weather worsened and rain started the walk got more slippery. As people walked past you could hear different groups, some chatting about the cycling others about the horrendous traffic and pitching a tent in the rain on arrival. Despite any problems encountered they were all in really good spirits and determined to finish.
Prizes were awarded for the first team to finish, the youngest team, the oldest team and the team which raised the most money. Each team has to raise £350 and they were hoping to raise over £10,000 from the fantastic event.
It was really great to watch as an outsider, to hear the camaraderie amongst the teams with people working together to overcome the challenges in front of them, encouraging other teams around them. Everyone was pleased to talk about why they were doing it and the good cause they were hoping to raise money for.
We found just doing the walk challenging enough so have every admiration for all the teams that had to complete the bike ride and kayak as well! Well done to all for your fantastic achievement.
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