The Mendip Challenge was successfully completed by a team of five walkers from the Frome area who hope to have raised around £2,000 for Harry’s Hydro Appeal.
The challenge was completed on the morning of Sunday 21st August following a massive effort by the walkers. The walk started at 5.30am from Uphill, Weston-Super-Mare as dawn was breaking. The weather was very kind, and the team luckily missed most of the heavy rain that fell on Frome on Saturday morning.
The route of the West Mendip Way is quite tortuous, and between Uphill and Wells there are several major climbs and descents. The team made good progress on the first 20 miles, and reached the first meal stop at Draycott by 3.30pm. A welcome stew and hot drink were waiting for them, prepared by the support team.
Now began the middle section – the ascent of Draycott Hill, and then on to Priddy and Wells. Beyond Wells it began to get dark and head-torches were used. Navigator Stewart Ackland had a walker’s electronic satnav with the route plotted, and night vision glasses, so the walk could continue safety through the night.
There was another meal break at Shepton Mallet around midnight, in a lay-by on the A37. This attracted the attention of the police, who stopped to enquire why a party of people were picnicking in the middle of the night!
The final stretch was mostly in the dark and took the team up a steady climb from Shepton to Cranmore Tower, the highest point on the whole walk. The remainder of the walk back to Frome, through Chantry and past Whatley quarry, was a bit of a blur as the team was now suffering extreme exhaustion, aches and pains.
They hobbled into Frome Market Place at 7.30am on Sunday morning to a welcoming party from Harry’s Hydro trustees, friends and supporters.
The walk has been sponsored by so many generous people from Frome, and by Rotarians, friends and relatives. The total sum raised by the walkers is expected to exceed £2,000. Harry’s Hydro Appeal says it is immensely grateful to all the team for their heroic effort.
Pictured: from left to right, Angie Duggan, Peter Bennett, Sally Brooker, Stewart Ackland and Claire Hewish