If you’re looking to galvanise your team, then hiking 24 sleep-deprived miles on little more than sandwiches and sweets might not seem the most obvious way.
But, as our latest adventure proved, nothing brings people together like facing a mountain (or three) in the name of charity.
Not our first rodeo…
When it comes to charitable initiatives, we don’t hold back. From skydiving to raise funds for Suffolk Mind to It’s a Knockout-style event for Inspire Suffolk: our team love to put themselves out there.
But walking the Yorkshire Three Peaks? That’s a new one. So when our friends at Airborne Fit offered to host the event for us, we couldn’t say no.
We knew it would be hard, of course. But, like many tough things in life, they don’t tell you quite how hard it is until afterwards.
Billed as one of Britain’s toughest hikes, the Yorkshire Three Peaks involves a trek of 24 miles with around 5,200 ft of elevation.
Taking in the peaks of Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside, the challenge is to nail them all in under 12 hours. Which we did, by the way, in aid of a charity that’s close to our hearts – more of that below.
The day starts early
Over ten intrepid adventurers signed up to the challenge. For most, the day started ridiculously early, when at 3am, when our Suffolk-based crew drove up to Yorkshire to pick up our colleagues based in the Midlands and the North.
Once in the village of Horton in Ribblesdale, we opted to walk the route in the traditional counterclockwise direction, starting with…
Peak 1: Pen-y-Ghent (694 metres) – short and sharp
This might be the lowest of the peaks but its distinctive sharp ‘nose’ of Pen-y-Ghent requires some serious effort to ascend. Quite the wake-up call after 6 hours on the bus.
Peak 2: Whernside (736 metres) – slow burn
It’s a long stretch between peaks one and two, broken up by the excitement of seeing the awesome Ribblehead viaduct (not the one in the Harry Potter films, sadly). To break up the time, we sang our way through our favourite one-hit wonders, karaoke classics and musicals. Bon Jovi, Aqua, Les Mis, anyone? Or perhaps REM – Everybody Hurts?
Peak 3: Ingleborough (723 metres) – lung buster
While some of us tried to get a phone signal to keep track of Ipswich Town’s promotion chances, most of us had more pressing concerns – like navigating some steep downhill sections that led to the start of Peak 3. Once there, some lovely open grassy plains lull you into a false sense of security before you encounter a steep zigzag that (eventually) leads to the top of the final peak – Ingleborough.
Never ones to resist the challenge of a Strava segment, a few decided to hammer up the zigzag without stopping. Sweating both hot and cold (nice) the final ascent, with its steep limestone drops, was hard going on body and mind. With the light fading fast, Ingleborough’s moon-like surface was shrouded in mist, setting an eerie backdrop for our final pics.
“Only” two hours to go…
Arrival in Horton
Despite the aches in our legs, we found enough gas to speed our way to the finish. With the promise of fish & chips in our heads, we powered to the finish to complete the challenge in under 12 hours, where we were met by our brilliant hosts, Airborne Fit. WE DID IT!
Here’s what they said…
- “It was honestly the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but at the agency, we talk about limitless thinking and Leadership needs to set the standard. I had to pull on everything I had, but the team is amazing and I’m buzzing with what I’ve achieved.” Sarah, CPO
- “Had an awesome day, thanks team!’ – Dan, Developer
- “Such an epic adventure. Loved it.” Max, Designer
- “It was so much fun guys, Thanks for organising it.” James H, Videographer
- “Such a good day.” Jack, Tech SEO
- “I haven’t laughed so much in ages.” Rosie, PR & Content
- “I’m never doing it again.” Andy, CEO (we think he’s joking!)
Walking for a good cause…
If you are impressed with the efforts of our team, we would love your support in fundraising for our chosen charity; Ipswich Outreach, a charity local to our HQ that helps run initiatives for the homeless such as The Soup Kitchen and the Ipswich Outreach Bus.
A pledge, however small, goes a long way in helping this fantastic charity continue its great work.
To donate, visit www.ipswichoutreach.co.uk/donate.