After heroic efforts from everyone we completed our Consiton Challenge in style!
An epic drive by Andrew and most of the team Friday afternoon in a minibus took nine hours to get to the Lake District! Karen and Louise headed up pronto after finisihing evening surgery Friday night and thankfully arrived in Coniston by 1.30am. The local Youth Hostel had provided Tipi's for us to stay in - a bit chilly but comfortable, and we had ample hot showers which were very much needed over the weekend! Although for some of us it was a rude introduction into the world of camping - a first and last we suspect!
Saturday morning was an early start but we had the most amazing weather. Although it was raining in Surrey we had glorious sunshine all day! Combined with a very kind lottery we were to start with the mountain biking challenge first, then the mammouth hike and finally the kayaking! Bacon sarnies and a cup of tea and we were off!
The bikes were in great condition and with the sun on our backs, we set out into Grisedale Forest. To meet the mother of all hills that went up and up and up! Despite the slog the views when we got to the top were amazing and we were rewarded with a fantastic off road ride back to base. With only one delicate dismount, resulting in an impromptu sit down on some heather, we were all still raring to go! With only one map/direction error (better than some teams!) we clocked in at 1 hour and 49 minutes (someone must have moved a marker.... that was our excuse and we are sticking to it!!)
The Old Man of Coniston climb was our next ordeal. With the sun beating down it took us a very respectable 2 hours to reach the summit. Above the clouds the views were stunning - we could even see the sea! Snacks with a view at the top and then wobbly legs to stumble our way back to camp!
Arriving back at base we were greeted by Karen and Hannah, our support crew, and huge plates of very welcome pasta! Gobbled down in no time, we were all very ready for a sit down. Our two man kayaks gave our legs a much needed rest but the arms had a bit of a shock!! Although the sun was glorious, the water was still baltic, so we were determined not to end up in the water. Paddling hard we again had a very respectable time of 53 minutes. There was a bit of tilting but no swimming - a big improvement on our previous charity raft race efforts!
All in all there were 49 teams and we came in a very respectable 24th with a total time of 6 hours and 16 minutes! The Guide Dogs threw a fantastic party in the evening - again with great food and a presentation evening with medals!
The great news doesn't finish there though! Our heroic efforts are nothing compaired to everyone's generosity with your sponsorship. So far as I type we have raised a fantastic £2500 - above and beyond our target and it just keeps going up! If you would like to support us but have yet to sponsor us, it's not too late just follow this link to our Just Giving Page. A few of our photos of the day are obviously here but if you want to have a look at a full album have a look at our Flickr Site, and watch this space, we'll have more news on how your sponsorship is going to help the Guide Dogs.
WELL DONE EVERYONE! AMAZING JOB!