FRESH from the triumphs of nine Scout and Explorer teams completing the recent Ten Tors Challenge on Dartmoor, seven of the leader team travelled to Birmingham to participate in the Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA) 100 Challenge.

This is an annual event, held in different parts of the country, and requires participants to complete the 100-mile route within 48 hours.

The lack of sleep can be the greatest challenge when you are walking for 36-48 hours, and you just get 5-10 minutes breaks at the checkpoints. Occasionally they will find people who have literally fallen asleep on stiles or fell into hedges at night.

Simon Weal reported: ‘I became involved 10 years ago when the local Cornwall and Devon LDWA invited us to participate in the Camel to Teign walk – to reflect and remember the involvement that Ivor Kingwell had with both organisations following his sudden death whilst out training Scouts for Ten Tors.

‘Every year the event is different – there may be lots of stiles, varying amounts of ascent, it could be muddy underfoot, foggy over the hills, just plain cold and miserable, rural or urban – but it is never uninteresting.

‘There is always a huge amount of support from all the organisers, the marshals, the checkpointing volunteers, and the bystanders.’

Adrian Partridge, a veteran of 20 challenges said: ‘I attempted my first LDWA 100 challenge when it came to Dartmoor in 1984, but it was another 2 years before I successfully completed my first – the South Downs 100.

‘Since then, they have been a regular feature of my life taking me all over England. There are wonderful parts of the country that I would never have seen without the event, many of which I have returned to at a more relaxed pace!’

This year’s route started in Moseley in South Birmingham, along the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal and the River Rea, traversing the Waseley and Lickey Hills, taking in the countryside of north Worcestershire and Warwickshire, the ancient Forest of Arden, Shakespeare country, the Welcombe Hills, Kenilworth Castle, Coventry’s showpiece War Memorial Park, the traditional centre of England in Meriden and the River Cole and Chinn Brook to complete the loop.

There were just over 450 starters at the event at 10:00 on Saturday, with 344 completing the challenge.

Our team was led in by Jenny Forrest, Simon Weal and Mike Harris who finished at 22:34 on Sunday night, just over 36 hours. Adrian Partridge had a second night of walking and finished at 6:10am on Monday morning, 44 hours of walking.

Due to injuries, and some severe blisters, Suzie Partridge, Dave Wainwright and Richard Vooght had to drop out of the event after completing distances of 34, 49 and 63 miles respectively.

And the team was ably and heartily supported by Jed Jackson who was on hand at various checkpoints to feed hot tea, rub aching feet, and provide maximum enthusiasm.