#MRF25 100KM+ Peak District walk

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Posted by Henry Barnes, Membershp and Support Officer on 23 May 2014

And so it begins: our 25th anniversary walk - whatever the weather!

Nearly a hundred of our members and supporters are joining us. It's a 100+km trek across the Peak district over 7 days and with a smile!

If you are inspired by our walkers, why not make a donation

Day one: Friday 23 May

And we are off!

Guest blogger: Our walk organiser Henry Barnes

It's hard to believe that six months have passed since Shirley, Head of our Helpline and membership team, suggested we mark the 25th anniversary of Meningitis Research Foundation with a walk in the Pennines. That was the beginning of a very steep learning curve that I've been clambering up ever since! I can now tell you exactly how to digitally map a walking route, how to timetable a shuttle bus, how to escape from a bog that you're half submerged in, how to successfully navigate through thick fog with a compass and map and how to hold toenails on with compeed. It's been an experience!

So here we are, we've just finished waking the first day of our seven day adventure and spirits are high. The weather forecast promised rain and we haven't been disappointed, though we managed to avoid a really torrential downpour with an expertly timed lunch break! The afternoon's weather picked up and as we skirted our fourth and final reservoir of the day the sun burst through the clouds to dry us off before our final ascent to see the peacocks at Strines Inn. Today's highlight came as Professor Ray Borrow accidentally squashed a rotten egg in his hands and was given a wide berth for the remainder of the day! 

All in all, the day has been a great success - the weather will cheer up, I'm sure. Well....I hope. 

Follow our walk here

Day two: Saturday 24 May

Guest blogger: Nick Crockatt

A great way to celebrate my birthday!
After a comparatively gentle 1st day walking, Day 2 brought with it a totally different challenge! 

We set off in torrential rain from Strines Reservoir and that was pretty much the story for the rest of the day. Despite the elements our intrepid
team were in great spirits.

Our route took us to Ladybower reservoir of Dambusters fame, with several tough climbs and descents.

Several steep climbs over slippery rocks were made even more challenging due to the fact that the rain had turned paths into rivers! Our waterproofs and boots were tested to their limits!

The day was extraordinarily rewarding for me for several reasons; not only for the feeling of elation when the skies started to clear as we climbed up to Win Hill, our final summit, and we experienced the fantastic 360 degree panoramic views of the Peak District, before our descent into the Hope Valley, but also due to the incredible people I met. 

Meningitis and its evil sisters, affect people in so many different ways. It was humbling to meet and hear the stories of families and individuals who have been touched in one way or another by Meningitis. Everyone walking with us has a story to tell!! Some are walking to remember a lost friend, family member or loved one who has been taken from us, others are survivors themselves who have taken on the challenge of the walk.

All are extraordinary people!!

A fantastic day! Onward!!

Day three: Sunday 25 May

Rainy bank holiday Sunday...Bamford to Hathersage 

Guest blogger: Our walk organiser Henry Barnes

Today the weather was pretty good to us.

Around 40 members and supporters started the day with a steady, steep climb over rocks to Stanage Edge with fantastic views of the Hope Valley.

The Moody Family took the lead with young Henry, Emma and Thomas map reading and navigating, ably assisted by the fantastic YAP team.

We had lunch near the summit, before a steep descent over rocks took us to a Bronze Age fort. After traversing marsh land, we had a long gentle descent into the valley through meadows of bluebells and some seriously muddy fields!

The clouds cleared and we were embraced with sunshine! 

After finishing the day at Hathersage Train Station, some of our members chose to cool down afterwards with a dip in the village pool. A great way to cool down our aching feet!

Day four: Monday 26 May

Guest blogger: Our Head of Membership and support  Shirley Gieron 

Today, a group of 40 members, staff and mountain leaders walked from Grindleford to Chatsworth. In a welcome development, the weather was glorious. Hooray! 

We trekked for nearly ten miles on the Froggatt, Curbar and Baslow edges before dropping down to Chatsworth estate to walk amongst the thousands of sheep and a handful of deer. Up on the edges we passed highland cows, saw meadow pipets and glimpsed a buzzard.

My personal highlight was meeting members of the charity that I haven't met before. I've heard so many stories, both happy and sad, and so many wonderful families. Stephanie Clark, MRF member, put it best when she said that it had been 'both inspirational and emotional'. I feel very privileged to have met such wonderful people - and the views weren't bad either!

Day five: Tuesday 27 May

Guest blogger: Our walk organiser Henry Barnes

We were waved off this morning by Alyson Hill, the Mayor of Bakewell. We were privileged to be her first mayoral duty as she is being sworn in next week. 

Today began with the Monsal Dale, a beautiful route that took us along the River Wye and some pretty challenging terrain. There were steep ascents and rocky descents as well as a small stretch of waking through a river! We joined the world famous Monsal Trail - the dismantled railway that was a tribute to the industrial heritage of the North. We passed over viaducts, through quarries and long tunnels though which trains used to pass in the line's heyday. 

A special mention today to the amazing Schaay/Botwright family who travelled from Norfolk to join us. Three generations of a family that have been touched by the vicious disease we are trying to beat. Peter Schaay makes delightful countryside themed footstools and money boxes which he kindly donates to the charity. Earlier this year one of his beautiful ram stools fetched £450 for the charity at our 25th anniversary ball and has since been tirelessly working on money boxes for the benefit of the charity. What an amazing family and what a beautiful day - not a speck of rain!! 

Day six: Wednesday 28 May

Guest blogger: Shirley Gieron 

Welcomed by the Mayor of High Peak and accompanied by the MP for High Peak, we had a damp start from Peak Forest. Following the Limestone Way, over Peak Cavern to Cave Dale. Hot roast pork sarnies in Castleton reviewing the views and by now lack of rain we were happy that our CEO had at last been the proud wearer of the hat of shame (a fun red hat given to wear by Sheffield Hallam students walking in memory of Ryan Sweatman for faux pas made along the route).

The upcoming challenge of climbing Mam Tor lay ahead - we began the ascent! Slowly. Step by tricky step, rock by sticky muddy rock, up and more up. As far as Hollin's Cross, along the extremely windy edge, clinging on to young Billie and Annika We made it.

1 comment

Posted on 02 June 2014

Comment by Laurence Wright

Truly one of the best and most memorable weeks of my life! Super views, amazing people and lots of rain (what's not to like?!)

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