On Wednesday this week, our Senior Management Team set out to complete the Dark Peak Challenge for SSAFA. A gruelling 18km hike over some of the toughest terrain in the Peak District. We’re genuinely overwhelmed by the sponsorship raised so far, with over £3500 contributed from friends, family, colleagues and supply chain partners.
The challenge was tough, and took the team over six and a half hours to complete. We had a couple of experienced hikers within the team, but for some it was their first time undertaking a long distance trek in the hills. The team said: “The first hill almost put an end to us! It gets very steep very quickly, we had a few wobbles and some serious doubts being raised about our ability to all make it around the whole thing. The route forms a horseshoe of connected hills, you can see it all right from the beginning, and under gloomy clouds it looked intimidating and impossibly long”.
The weather turned out to be pretty good. The cloud cover kept the temperature at a reasonable level, which was good for hiking. There was a bit of drizzle and wind but also some lighter cloud cover. We had amazing views of the Peak District National Park from every summit.
The team covered all sorts of terrain, including a short scramble to reach the first summit, navigating through some incredible rock formations (leading to some interesting descents!), some good paths, and some difficult paths. To reach their high point at the summit of Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peak District, the team had to traverse open moorland and had a few tumbles in the deep peat bogs!
Jerry Moloney, our Operations Director for the Regional Prime contracts, was first to make it to the top of the final summit of Mam Tor and was genuinely chuffed for himself and the whole team, he took a video at the top to share with his family, and to prove he’d made it! On the trek back down the team took on various guises of weariness, legs were sore and boots were muddy (Tom Lee, our Commercial Director, was still pouring water out of his boot from an earlier encounter with a bog) but there was a renewed sense of motivation when talk turned to which local beers they sold at the pub back down in the village.
Stuart Jones, Customer Service and Communications Directors, said, “Michael Burgess, our HR Director, picked the route. He’s a devil in the mountains, well known for his fell running accomplishments, so I knew we’d be in for a tough day. The team pulled together amazingly though, looking out for each other and setting the pace sensibly to aid the prospect of success for the whole team. I honestly thought we’d bitten off more than we could collectively chew half way up the first peak, but the persistence of some of our less experience hikers was impressive. I spoke to a few of the team today and we’re all still buzzing to have made it all the way round. The muscle soreness is well and truly kicking in but it was well worth it for the money we raised for SSAFA. On behalf of the team I’d like to thank everyone who donated, we blew or original target to bits thanks to your support and generosity!”