On the 9th of June, myself and a few others from within the COINS UK support team decided to participate in this year’s Hope challenge. When we were offered this opportunity we all looked at the challenge and thought it would be a fantastic experience in itself, but also a great way to raise money towards a brilliant cause.

The challenge sounded quite exciting and not something any of us had ever had the chance to be part of before – it definitely lived up to our expectations! The first task of the weekend involved building a shelter using only recyclable materials, where we had to ensure it was both large enough and secure enough, as we were going to be staying in it for the two nights we were there. We didn’t have too much time preparing for this but fortunately we managed to get hold of most of the materials from stores who were more than happy to donate them to us.

We arrived early morning at Hope Valley where we began building our shelter, hoping it didn’t start raining so that we could keep everything dry. Thankfully the rain held off during the build and 3 hours later we had finally finished the shelter, otherwise known as our home for the challenge!

There were some fantastic constructions put together from all of the teams but before I reveal our final design, I just want to remind you that we are definitely not builders!

COINS accommodation

We woke up the next day to pouring rain, knowing that in a little while we would be walking in it as we took on the second part of the challenge – the 20km trek! It wasn’t ideal conditions following a night in our tent but we unpacked our waterproofs and all dug deep and found some motivation to get out there and start the journey. Along the way we were hit with some very heavy rain but we continued to walk through it and reminded ourselves what a brilliant cause it was for, plus our competitiveness helped as we didn’t want to be the ones to finish last! Despite the miserable weather, it wasn’t all grey as we witnessed some breathtakingly amazing views from the top of the peaks.

The trek wasn’t just a test of our physical fitness as mixed in amongst the 20km route were several checkpoints with quizzes and puzzles to question your mental strength too. Both elements would influence the final results so it wasn’t just the first to get home who would be crowned as the winners. As it was a team challenge, you weren’t ‘home’ until the last team member crossed the line so we had to work together and wait for others to catch up if some people went out faster. Working together, we did very well during the trek and finished 6th out of the 17 teams participating and received the 2nd highest score in the quizzes.

Speaking on behalf of everyone who went, we were all incredibly proud that we had the opportunity to be part of such an amazing experience and a huge thank you to everyone who donated and enabled us to raise over £1600 for this worthy cause.