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'Lauren's Walk' The 3 Peaks annual challenge

If one was of a superstitious nature then it could be argued there were certain “omens” around on the morning of June 15th 2013 at the time we were all assembling and organising ourselves onto the buses in readiness for our journey to Horton-in-Ribblesdale – the starting point for the mammoth 3 Peaks Challenge.

Our less than cheerful bus driver could have dampened weaker spirits but we remained undaunted. However the pathetic spluttering of a bus engine on its last legs pushed us to our limit! Was this trip meant to be? Would we get to the start too late?

As we crawled laboriously up the ring road twenty minutes behind schedule it was difficult to imagine that we would be able to make up the time. Dark storm clouds gathered as we left behind the bright sunny blue skies of Leeds; by the time we finally motored into Horton and emptied the bus contents out into the car park, the heavens opened and lashed down rain and hail with an almighty gusto. No! Please! Not a re-run of last year!  Students huddled together but stood their ground and once they had been assigned to their group leader, set out with a determined stride.

“Lauren’s Walk” takes in the 3 Peaks that sit majestically out in the North Yorkshire Dales. Staff and students set off to conquer Pen-Y-Ghent first and at the first check point I was surprised and delighted to see students marching towards us with a delightful spring in their step. Unphased by their first challenge, students asked “Are we OK for time? Will we be able to do all three?” The absence of the notorious Black Dub Moss bog meant that this year walkers were able to stay cleaner and drier than previously when the bog had to be negotiated at cost to boots/ waterproofs/dignity! Mr. Asquith manfully supported the back group some of whom chose to call it a day after Peak one.

 

Whilst waiting for our walkers, Mr. Stevens and I were thrilled when a member of the public approached us to say, “You should be very proud of the students you have walking; they’re a credit to you and your school.” We nearly burst with pride.

As we steered walkers on to the next checkpoint, it was with growing pleasure and optimism that we watched the storm clouds lift and enjoyed the view of Ribblehead Viaduct bathed in sunlight. Somewhere down there, Mrs. Fowler; Ms. Royle and Mrs. Holdsworth were battling the “breeze”, setting up the gazebo and getting chilli & soup heated through. Fair play to Mrs. Fowler who had also taken the time to bake the most delicious selection of cakes; the chocolate one had to be tops!

Students at this point made the decision to continue; sit out Peak 2 (Whernside) and do Ingleborough or simply to call it a day. Whatever the choice, they had already shown themselves to be triumphant in the completion of the first of the 3 Peaks.  Those who set off for Peak two were rested, fed and raring to go and so they left. At Philpin Farm, we sat and waited for the walkers to arrive. The front group made fabulous time and it wasn’t long before they were off to tackle the final Peak (and touch base with Mr. Jackson who was positioned towards the top waiting for walkers to arrive).

Once again, having completed Peak 2, students decided on whether they were able to move onto the third and final peak; those that were able moved on – others rested and treated tired, blistered feet.

It was a bedraggled and wearied group that finally presented as the last walkers at approximately 7.30pm. Mr. Fowler and Mr. Searle brought these students in with aching feet, tired legs and happy hearts...they had done it! Before we left Horton, one of the students came running up to the staff left waving a £10 note; another member of the public had been so impressed with our students and the effort they had put into the day that he contributed to our sponsorship fund.

All students did at least one of the peaks, some two and an impressive number did all three. Staff and students agreed it had been an excellent day or as one student said as he waited for his lift, “That was the best day!”

“Lauren’s Walk” is an annual event targeting Year 10 students initially and then opened to others in Year 11 and 6th form. It is named after Lauren Kisby one of our students who fought a brave fight with cancer and sadly lost to it at the young age of 14. Lauren would have celebrated her 18th birthday this year.

All sponsorship is in aid of “The Teenage Cancer Trust” as Lauren and her family were well supported through the most difficult of times and circumstances by this organisation. At Crawshaw we are immensely proud of all the students who have taken this challenge on board and committed their time, effort and energies to such a worthy cause.

Mrs O Pattison