This is the second year of running a Mountain Challenge for Liverpool Medical Student Society (LMSS). The LMSS is huge. I have no idea how many thousands of members they have but they seem to almost be a student union of their own with their own sub clubs for sports, dance and other hobbies and interests. I guess they are at uni for 5 years rather than 3 of most other courses so that must swell their numbers. Anyway the LMSS is huge and has it's own charity fund raising wing.
Ninety-four (did I mention it is a big society) members of the LMSS arrived in Horton-in-Ribblesdale in 2 coaches just before 7am. Thanks to the ruthless efficiency of the two LMSS organisers Maddie and Alex all the participants knew pretty much how the day was going to run and we had all consent forms collected, and collated, so after we'd issued a few bits of kit (our definition of a waterproof jacket tends to differ from other people's definition) we set off from the top car park in the village and waited outside the toilet block.
94 flushes later they were off.
The groups moved fast and the lead group were soon on Pen-y-Ghent. At about 9am I got a call from someone who had missed the coach as he overslept. He was asking if he could catch them up if he got a taxi from Liverpool. We looked at train times but they didn't work out so in the end he got a taxi to Ribblehead and joined in from there. I think he will take the cost of that taxi to the grave with him.
Just after getting the taxi call one of the instructors radioed in with a request for assistance with a drop out. One of the participants who was wearing a pretty heavy duty knee support was struggling. She had a historical knee injury (football in year 7) and it was flaring up. She had thought she would be OK. In fact she was so confident that it would be OK she had been out drinking until 3am that morning, had 20 minutes sleep and then got up at 4am to catch the coach. I went up to meet the tail enders at Tarn Bar and walked back down to Horton with the knee injured, hung over student medic. Rob (our instructor at the back) prescribed 8 hours sleep and a kebab and thought she may be able to do the last peak. Unfortunately the 3km back to Horton pretty much finished her off so it was game over.
With the nights drawing in we had set a relatively early cut off time to get to the last road crossing at the Old Hill Inn before Ingleborough and had arranged for one of the coaches to swing by at about 4pm to pick up the expected drop outs. However, by the time the last group had passed we only had a total of 3 retirees due to injury so I was able to bring them back to Horton in my car. By the time I got back to Horton the first 2 groups were in.
In all out of the 95 who took part we only had 3 retire, the fastest group came in in just shy of 9 hours and the tail enders got it all wrapped up in 12.5 so a nice fast day for everyone.
We're waiting on news for the total amounts raised but I think it is going to be high. (On 11th October they reported that they had raised £17,261.31)
We had a strong team of Mountaineering Instructors and Mountain Leaders out and were ably assised by a couple of volunteer trainee Mountain Leaders who made a big difference to the running of the day.
Thanks very much to Maddie and Alex and all the participants as well as to our fantastic team of instructors for making it a great day out for everyone.