On a Saturday in June, Army Cadets and Adult Instructors from Somme Company, Cheshire Army Cadet Force, embarked on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, aiming to cover 24 miles and ascending Pen-y-ghent, Whernside & Ingleborough in only 12 hours in aid of the Royal British Legion.
The cadets camped out at the start of the route primed for an early start. Overnight the weather closed in with a vengeance, with rainfall that can only be described as biblical!
At this point, most young people would have begged to go home, but not these cadets! “They simply dug in and got on with it” said SMI Ellis, the County Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Officer. It wasn’t long before they were up, kit packed and departed for the adventure ahead.
The first hill, Pen-y-ghent (694 metres) was soon conquered. Then came the second, Whernside (735 metres). This assent was a long uphill slog that never seemed to end with the path upwards often being covered in several inches of water; comparable to a medium sized river! At one point the County Commandant, Colonel Ayres opened his pockets to find his radio completely submerged in water; by now no one had a dry area on them.
The walk that day was busy with 1,500-2,000 other walkers taking part. One group of 500 from Hull were clearly feeling the impact of the weather. The cadets? Laughing all the way, nothing was stopping them!
By the time the cadets reached Ingleborough (723 metres) the rain was easing off and being replaced by a dense mist. Now the end was in sight, and despite everybody feeling the pace, spirits couldn’t be higher!
What the cadets achieved that day was truly an incredible feat. They took on one of the toughest hiking challenges in the UK, in some of the worst conditions the UK can offer, and came out laughing at the other end!
A fantastic achievement.
For more information about Cheshire Army Cadets and how you can get involved, as a cadet or as an Adult Instructor, visit https://armycadets.com/county/cheshire-acf/