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There will always be some debate over the ultimate test of fitness but the Caledonian Challenge must surely be high up there on the list and the 11th June this year saw a couple of the Springfords staff take on this challenge.
For those not familiar with the event it involves teams of four to six people walking 54 miles all day and through the night across some of Scotlands most remote and rugged landscape. Taking 108,000 steps it is further than two marathons back to back and covers terrain that is equivalent to two ascents of Ben Nevis.
It is a challenge for either the intrepid or the foolish……..
Being one or the other our team, Spring into Action (Sue Bird, Jennifer Smith, Graham Smith and Fiona Jackson), headed off at 8.00 on a bright, sunny, Saturday morning from Gairlochy. The first 10 miles saw us heading into Fort William and the foot of Ben Nevis. Our route then took us along the West Highland way through some spectacular scenery encompassing the iconic sights of Glencoe, Rannoch Moor and Loch Lomond. Some of this was taken in by torchlight as we undertook the night-shift, scrambling around a muddy hillside, but as the dawn rose we knew we were into our final 10 miles. Although by this time between us we were suffering from severely stubbed toenails, blisters and bad hips, knees, ankles etc sheer determination saw our team fight on to the end and cross the finish line at 6.40 on Sunday morning – 21 hours and forty minutes after starting the day before.
Although our immediate celebrations were somewhat subdued due to exhaustion and pain (!) the sense of achievement in completing this feat of physical and mental endurance whilst sticking together as a team was, and is, huge and there was an emotional tear or two lurking in our eyes.
In addition we take huge pride in the money that we and the other teams have raised for the Scottish Community Foundation by doing this challenge. To date our team has raised £2,500 for the charity which is the leading distributor of funds to local causes in Scotland.
We would wish to thank all those who have supported us, from those that travelled with us to the event to provide food and medication at our stage points, to those that have trained with us and raised money for us with their baking efforts and those who have parted with their hard earned cash to sponsor us - all in all it has been an epic adventure – thank you!