Avrenim and the Coniston Challenge for Alder Hey Children’s Charity

As part of our Annual Charity Drive, we put together a team to enter the Coniston Challenge on the 9th July, which involved a 17km Mountain Bike trail through the Grizedale Forest, 3km Kayak row across Coniston Lake and a 10km trek up the Old Man of Coniston.

All the money raised by the competitors of this challenge has been put towards the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  The unit will offer 22 neonatal cots for Liverpool and will feature 18 individual family rooms where parents can be alongside their poorly new-borns whilst they’re receiving expert care.  It will address a shared concern between Liverpool Women’s and Alder Hey that babies who need specialist surgery currently have to be transferred to Alder Hey to get the specialist surgical care they need and are then transferred back to Liverpool Women’s Hospital to continue their specialist neonatal care.

The team consisted of Phil Hyde, Phil Hill, Tom Hughes, Tom Creighton, Barry Hughes and Lee Williams.

Here is an overview of the event on the day as written by Lee.

A few of the Team – Phil Hill, Tom Creighton and I headed down on the Friday after work and set up base camp in preparation of the gruelling day to come.  We were issued with our starter pack comprising of T-shirts, maps and our running order which was bikes, kayaking followed by the walk.  We had a walk into Coniston to be met by lots of competitors enjoying the weather and chilled beverages.

The next morning we were rudely awoken by the arrival of Barry Rogers at 5:45 who decided that he wanted to get an early start.  This included as he declared, the breakfast of champions.

Tom Hughes who drove up on the day met us just before we went for breakfast, of which the set-up was amazing and the quality of food was outstanding.  We queued up and were given a bacon and egg roll with cheese and sauce.  Followed by an item of fruit, a soft drink and a hot drink.  Which was more than enough to get us started.

Phil Hyde then came down from the next village where he had stayed the night as he doesn’t like camping. The team was then complete.  All we had to do then was apply sunscreen and head off for the briefing, which was short, concise and to the point.  Effectively look after yourselves, drink lots, keep up with sun lotion and have fun, once you have signed all liability away 😊.

Onto the day…

The bike ride started off gently, as we pedalled out of the village and up towards the forest.  Once out of the village we hit our first steep assent, which certainly got the blood flow going.  We were one of the first teams out and gave it our all.  The view of the lake was spectacular, but we couldn’t dawdle as we were all focused on keeping upright due to the varying ground conditions.  Overall, It was hard going but we all persevered and made it to the finish line in a respectable 8th place @ 1hr 18mins with no loss of life or limbs.  Also, just to add due to the ebike scandal none of our bikes were ebikes unlike some of the faster teams.

Second challenge was the kayaking.  It was meant to be 3km but people’s GPS gave a distance of 4.2km because of currents and the wind.  It went pretty well considering that some of the co-ordination to start with was severely lacking (some practice may have helped) and included the capsizing of one of the kayaks.  Phil Hill and Barry Rogers took the plunge and were eventually able to slither back into the kayak to complete the challenge.  I wish I could describe the pure comedy but alas you had to be there. However, we still came in at a respectable 58mins.

Then last but not least, we tackled the old man of Coniston.  It took us under 4 hours from base camp to ascend and descend covering a distance of 12km.  It was hard going and a lot higher than I had anticipated… so much so I got a medal from Fitbit for climbing in excess of 300 flights of stairs in 1 day.  The view from the top was incredible and the sense of achievement gave me enough of a boost to complete the descent.

The sun was shining all day and with the temperature around 26c it was probably too hot but we all made the most of the day.  I must commend the Alder Hey team, as they have really looked after us, corralled us and kept up the motivation all day.  To sum it up they were nothing short of amazing.

Our total time to complete all the activities was just over 6hours not including lunch or walking to the start points.

It’s been a great day, a tough day and a day to be repeated?? Well the jury is out on that one…

Now to the presentation and the pub afterwards to celebrate…..  👍👍