News & Reports
News & Reports (106)
Scotland. 9 – 10 May. CARE’s inaugural Scottish 3 peaks Challenge. 2 teams. 24 hours.
This challenge was particularly poignant as each mountain was selected for its historical significance, each witness to its own bloody civil war or conflict. The theme captures CARE’s current work in assisting those most affected and vulnerable to conflicts around the world. This was a CARE Challenge with a twist, a mystical journey that brought the mountains to life.
After the previous few days of rain and dismal grey weather, there was a tangible sense of relief at the sunny and calm conditions that greeted arrivals in Kingston early on Saturday morning.
As cyclists congregated at the Tall Stories headquarters and made final preparations and kit checks, team guides introduced themselves and teams were formed. A breakfast of fruit and muffins was provided during briefings, and teams got to know one another briefly ahead of the event.
Geoffrey Dennis, CEO of CARE UK, said a few words to highlight the importance to CARE of the money the event was to raise, providing extra motivation as teams took to their bikes and set off on the start of the long journey.
The 54 participants were split into six teams and start times were staggered according to ability- which meant the first leg of the journey saw a lot of overtaking! Teams paced themselves for the journey ahead as they took the route South from Kingston, enjoying the increase in fresh air and decrease in noise as they left London behind.
After the first 27 kilometres, teams congregated off Ranmore Common for an early lunch of sandwiches, energy snacks, teas and hot chocolates. High spirits were in plentiful supply and cheers were raised for the later teams while people compared notes from the first leg of the journey. After the short rest and recuperation, it was off again as cyclists wound through the idyllic countryside- some pedalling at speed and others stopping to admire the bluebells along the way!
The second and longest leg saw a marked difference in arrival times as the faster teams set their pace ahead of the ‘fun’ groups. By the time the last team arrived at the second tea stop at Slougham common, the first teams were almost in Brighton! Energy levels may have waned somewhat by this point but morale remained sky high as teams set off following more drinks and snacks with jokes and smiles, ready to take on the final leg.
The last stretch may have been the shortest in distance but for many teams it took a little longer, with a few ‘pit stops’ for various punctures and ceased gears. All cyclists made it up the final upward push- the notoriously exhausting Devil’s Dyke- one way or another, to the fantastic viewpoint overlooking Brighton and the 5 mile downhill stretch ahead. For many this was a major highlight of the trip, as the sunshine, views and the wind at their backs as they descended into Brighton brought the trip to a fantastic end.
Supporters gathered at the finish line at Brighton Pier to cheer the cyclists’ arrival, and all were rewarded with champagne and chips. After photos at the finish, medals were awarded as more teams arrived to join the celebrations.
The oldest participant, John Broughton (age 59) said, "It was a lovely ride - well organised and everyone was really friendly and supportive. I'm quite impressed with myself for finishing!".
Another participant, Ben, added “I had a great time... The route was obviously very carefully thought out, being very scenic and relatively traffic free and the guides were very friendly and helpful. The organization was excellent, with a good breakfast send off, an exemplary range of retro-style snacks at the stops, and champagne and chips at the finish by the pier. CARE even thoughtfully arranged sun and a tailwind for the whole day! I will certainly be very keen to join in again next year.”
CARE Challenge Events Manager, Neil Munro summarized, “It was a fantastic event. We had perfect weather and even better- 54 fantastic participants. Enormous thanks go to all who took part and helped CARE to raise over £12,000 - a wonderful sum, especially for our very first London to Brighton bike ride. Hopefully next year will be even bigger and better and we hope to see many of the same friendly faces back again!”
Last Sunday was International Women’s Day and although this was a day to celebrate women’s achievements it is also a time to remind the world of the horrific crimes and acts of violence that women are subjected to.
Many of the events in the CARE Challenge Series are aimed at specific sectors. This is because our events are not only fantastic fundraisers, they also double as unrivalled teambuilding opportunities within companies, and networking events across an industry.
For anyone taking part in an outdoor fundraising challenge, the two major factors that need some thought and work in advance of the event are training and fundraising. So whether you’re already signed up for a challenge or are thinking of taking part, here are the top ten tips from CARE’s in-house experts, Challenge Events Manager Neil Munro and Fundraising Officer Phee Jones.
Taking part in a CARE Challenge is not the only way to get involved in helping CARE. Every year, dozens of wonderful, friendly and kind folk volunteer to help us out on our events.
Celebrations at the finish!
Karen Curtet of Connect 2 Agencies took part in last year’s Prima Solutions Adventure Challenge for the Fashion Industry. Despite having the most inhospitable weather conditions of the entire season, the team had a fantastic day. We talked to Karen about why her team took part- and why they’re coming back for more in 2009!
When it comes to the credit crunch everyone is being affected in one way or another by the current global financial crisis. With so much to worry about at the moment, should we be concerned merely with our money matters or do we need to take a look at the bigger picture?
On arrival at Malaga airport the 30 degree heat was a welcome relief to the English ‘summer’ we’d left behind, the jovial mood was only broken momentarily when our guide, James, broke the news that we may have to cycle our large expedition packs up to the mountain refuge. Mentally we all started to remove the non essentials from our kit until James rescued us with the news that our luggage would make it up the hill in a 4x4 rather than with pedal power.
The crisp, thin mountain air and sudden shower of rain were a sharp awakening to the challenge that lay ahead. We had all the kit (padded shorts and all) and fantastic bikes to help us on our way, a huge sense of achievement (or relief!) was felt all round at completing stage one ready to settle down for a cosy night in the mountain refuge.
After a rather restless night, the team were suited and booted for a long days hiking, taking in the first two of our three peaks to conquer; Mulhacen 3,482m, Alcazaba 3,364m. We soon learnt that when James and Tim (our guides) say that a track is ‘undulating’ or the peak is ‘just around the corner’ they are in fact lying, not maliciously but more to keep our spirits up. Having conquered some steep ascents to reach the summit of Mulhacen we were rewarded with fantastic views, including that of the valley we would have to reach for lunch and the climb we faced to reach the second peak.
It seemed the idea of a lunch stop proved attractive to all and the group made speedy progress down to the mountain lake, the fresh mountain water provided a cool relief to the Spanish sunshine. The ascent to Alcazaba was hard work and steep, but a mixture of Ray’s jokes and cereal bars kept us all going. Reaching our second goal on day two was a huge achievement and the views over the Sierra Nevada were stunning.
Our achievement was swiftly followed by the realisation that we still had to get back off the mountain and home to the refuge which our guide, Tim, informed us included three steep climbs (this was not in the small print). However, having completed two of the three highest peaks in Spain the short climb home was nothing in comparison and a well earned beer on the steps of the hostel in the evening sun was a deserving reward.
A little stiff from the previous days exercise the team saddled up and began the climb to Veleta 3,392m where we cycled to within 15 meters of the summit. Finally all our efforts of slow but steady uphill progress on the bikes were rewarded with an adrenalin filled decent to Granada stopping only to enjoy lunch at one of the mountain restaurants. The long smooth ride to Granada was interrupted by a short off-road section where a not so friendly local dog decided to join the ride and there was a short wait for a local farmer to herd his goats upstream before we could cycle across the river.
A warm reception party greeted us at the finish for what was a truly remarkable event and huge achievement by all!
You can view and download pictures from this Challenge here, kindly provided (along with this report) by Lydia Gibson.
On the weekend of the 6th September 12 teams of intrepid professionals arrived at Fort William in the Scottish Highlands to take on their CARE Challenge, tackling the three highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales. With the daunting task ahead the greatest achievement for teams will surely be the significant difference made to communities overseas with the £100,000 pledged to complete the challenge!