Reaching new heights for RoSPA with STEPUK

RoSPA is delighted to share a blog written by medical student Arlena Kuenzel, co-chair of the Leicester division of STEPUK, who with her fellow students tackled the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge recently.

Here is their story:

After some last minute preparations (including getting the maps) we set off on our way to Yorkshire. There was a group of nine of us that took part in this year’s STEPUK (Society for Trauma, Emergency Medicine/Nursing and Pre-hospital Care United Kingdom) challenge to raise money for RoSPA. The challenge involved us walking a route that incorporated Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in one day – a daunting distance of 24.5 miles (39.2km)!

And off they go!

As most of the group had not done anything like this before, it was great to find out that a friend wanted to join us as his army training meant we had plenty of expertise to guide us along the way.

Our first challenge came not from the walking but from the camping barn that we were meant to be staying at. Having arrived in the dark on the Saturday night, we were left with a locked door and no answer from either of the numbers provided to us. We felt the most sensible solution to this was to head to the nearby pub to have a drink, order some food and wait for the rest of the team to arrive. Luck seemed to be on our side and the barmen were able to help us with the code to get in to the building. We had hoped for a good night’s sleep but were kept up until the early hours by another group staying in the same building. Needless to say, the hot breakfast was more than necessary to get us going the next morning!

Negotiating some of the challenging terrain.

We set off in good spirits and in the pitch black. Despite a minor detour, our head torches served us well and we were making good tracks in no time. The top of Pen-y-Ghent came fast enough and we all thought that this was going to be easier than expected. Then we were faced with the long walk to Whernside. We had been told that part of our intended route was particularly boggy and with few paths for guidance. An alternative route would have made for easier walking but was longer in distance so in our adventurous enthusiasm, we decided to head for the bog. Needless to say, there were many stuck boots and several falls in the mud! Working as a team, we eventually got everyone through to the other side with mud covered clothes to show for our efforts.

By the time we were heading up to Whernside, we were all getting tired and feeling the effects of the walking. Having a qualified physiotherapist on the team came in very useful as he provided plenty of on the scene physiotherapy to keep everyone going. The wind, or rather gale, that greeted us along the ridge of Whernside was not appreciated and we were all too happy to descend on the other side. At this point, we came across another group who unfortunately had a member that had succumbed to the slippery descent and broken their ankle. We witnessed the mountain rescue team and the ambulance working together to help the injured walker back down to the road in order to be taken to hospital. It certainly acted as a reminder for us all to take extra care along the rocky path!

Battling the elements as they soldier on.

As we headed towards our last peak of the day, we knew time was getting short and we were hoping to press on. Some group members headed back to the base, having made a valiant effort for their first time doing such a challenging hike. The walk to the top of the last leg was the steepest of the three peaks and there was great relief when we finally got to the summit! We thought that we were nearly there, but the descent and walk back to our base seemed never ending. As daylight dwindled, we once again reached for our head torches and despite our aching muscles we were happy to have finished the Yorkshire Three Peaks, having not only raised £500 for RoSPA but also having made new friends along the way.

By Arlena Kuenzel

One Comment to “Reaching new heights for RoSPA with STEPUK”

  1. Wow! That was a very physical activity you guys had. Getting tired is always a part of your outdoor adventures but this just completes it. Lucky to have the other professionals along your outdoor activity for a more “prevention of accidents.”

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