Charles Graham – Daytona CEO – went for a walk…
Cumbria was very foggy on the morning of the 8th September. The team met up in the car park of the Wasdale Inn and went straight up into the clouds. We were accompanied by Mark and Kevin from Copeland Police and the Mountain Rescue Team. One of my colleagues Big BearF1 organised for them to come along as the four main protagonists were carrying old injuries and we didn’t know how things would go. One of the team had recently had a hip replacement, Bear has a titanium knee after being IED’d in Afghanistan, Mike Curry of the Anglian Regiment is just recovered from a broken Tibia and Fibula and my left leg was broken for 10 years between 1985 and 1995 and doesn’t have a lot of movement or strength.
The climb was hard work and the cloud was very disorientating, I can see why people get lost up there, but with the MRT to show us the way we were in safe hands.
We had been briefed that we were undertaking a 14 mile trek with a 1000m ascent. I was logging distance with an app on my phone and after 2.5 miles of tough climbing I turned to Kevin of MRT and said “another 4.5 miles of this is going to be a big ask!” He laughed and told me that they had changed the plan at the last minute, that we had gone up the hard way and that the summit was 500m above us! As you can imagine I was somewhat relieved, I didn’t want to let Kartforce down.
At this point a bloke ran past me in a pair of shorts. He was on his third ascent that morning – well that brought a smile and some humility!
A quick stop at the summit, a cheese sandwich and a photo of my daughters bear and we were off again. I had anticipated a leisurely pace but it was clear that some of the team wanted to enjoy the local bitter back at the Inn so off we went. The descent was very hard work because of the rocks. Apparently the ratio of call outs MRT receive for descending incidents versus ascending is 10:1. I hadn’t realised that the descent could be so perilous.
As we descended the wind picked up and some of the cloud formations were worth the effort. The cloud began to thin and we were presented with the amazing views that the Lake District is famed for.
We made the ascent in 3 hrs and the descent in another three, which I am told is respectable and I am very happy with that given the average age of the group and the old injuries that we were carrying.
When we arrived at the Wasdale Inn there was a pint waiting, a beautiful British Bulldog fairy cake and a gold medal, all organised by BigBearF1 and his friend Donna.
I met some wonderful people, almost all of whom I had never met before the day. I raised double my target (poor targeting I expect). Kartforce is a small charity with no overhead and I am aware that some of the money has already been used to benefit the injured troops that have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. I understand that Headley Court have just lined up to get behind the program and a major F1 Team are about to commit technical assistance. If you get a chance go and have a look at their website (details below). I have also attached details for Wasdale MRT website as their work is also truly laudable and worth a look.
All that remains is to thank each and every one of you for your generosity and support and in particular BigBearF1 for organising the trek and Auntie Beryl for pushing me on the training..
From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the boys who put their lives and limbs at risk.