Saturday 8th June
Even on a day promising sunshine and 20 degrees, it’s guaranteed to be chilly at 4am in the Lake District! The COINS 24 Peaks Challenge began at Gatesgarth Farm in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Barratt Manchester was the first team to arrive around 4.15am, closely followed by KMI and Hotcourses – a lively bunch of 16 participants. Teams continued to arrive and registration began. Then followed three important checks – kit, safety and radio and only when event organiser, Global Challenge, were satisfied with these did each team get underway, clapped over the start line at close intervals to begin their first ascent up the first of ten peaks, Red Pike.
The teams knew that the first day was going to be the toughest one and it was made more so by the heat. Members of the KMI and Hotcourses support teams acted as Rangers and went off to pick up those having to retire early.
The last team members were down the final mountain (Langdale Pike) by 8.30pm where their support teams were waiting with provisions. St John’s Ambulance was also on hand to attend to any injuries.
Support drivers took the teams back to Ambleside Youth Hostel with its lovely Windermere Lake frontage for dinner and a little socialising before bed.
Sunday 9th June
This is known for being the easier of the two days and despite having to get up at 4am, all participants were pleased about this! The teams arrived at Kirkstone Pass and were all underway by 5.30am with 14 peaks ahead of them. The weather conditions were perfect with a slight drop in temperature and increased cloud cover that made walking more comfortable.
All teams made it over the finishing line by 4pm with at least one person from each team completing the challenge. They were greeted with loud cheers from their fellow team mates, COINS Challenge organisers as well as Global Challenge and representatives of COINS Foundation, and all received an event t-shirt and medal to celebrate their achievement.
The Low Wood Hotel was the beautiful lakeside setting for a celebratory evening hosted by COINS. A BBQ buffet feast satisfied the ravenous walkers as participants watched the slideshow of photographs captured on the mountains over the past two days.
Shortly after dinner, COINS Director Jo Franklin thanked everyone involved in making the COINS 24 Peaks Challenge a success: the organisers, mountain guides, the support crews and the teams themselves. Jo then announced that KMI were the fastest team to complete the event with a full team of walkers, in addition to having the highest fundraising total for COINS Foundation. KMI have pledged in excess of £7,000 to the COINS Foundation and received a certificate, framed photograph and a bottle of champagne, which they kindly donated to Stepping Stones School to use in a raffle. The speeches ended with a short but inspiring video summing up the work of COINS Foundation and showcasing both UK and overseas projects.
Despite sore feet and tired limbs, teams were up and dancing after dinner, with the last people leaving around 2am. Big congratulations to all involved.