The Big Walk - One Day Challenge

Over the past fortnight a team of 21 alumni, staff and friends of the University have walked the entire length of the Pennine Way, 268 miles, in aid of lung disease research. Theirs has been a fantastic tale of camaraderie, spectacular views and successfully raising over £60,000 towards the University’s research into Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH).

But it wasn’t all fun; there are also stories of innumerable blisters, falls into bogs, and rain-soaked trudges. The team have captured the stories themselves through a wonderful series of blog posts, telling the tale from their perspective.

While the Big Walkers have been walking, others across the University have been raising funds in their own ways, including bake sales and fancy dress. The University’s Library Service organised a walking themed quiz and raffle, with around 100 attendees in the old St. Georges Library.

For the final day of the trek the Big Walkers were joined by over 100 staff, family and friends, as they made the final journey back into Sheffield, concluding at the University. The One Day Challenge was a chance for staff from all over the University to get involved, show their support, and raise more money for the battle against PAH. Former Deputy-Vice Chancellor Paul White has written a wonderful blog post about the spirit of the crowd and his pride at seeing such unity across the University.

Those turning out to join the walk had an early start and a coach ride out to meet the Big Walkers in Edale. Just before 07:45 the group set off from Edale, comprising members from academic departments, professional services, maintenance, security and more. With the sun rising, the route started with a challenging ascent up to Hollins Cross, on the ridge overlooking Castleton. Many thought this was the hardest part of the day, but all were rewarded with spectacular views across the valley as they made their way along the ridge towards Lose Hill, before descending towards the village of Hope.

From there the route crossed fields towards Bamford and the first good rest stop for the day, seven miles in. The Angler’s Rest in Bamford were good enough to open their doors and facilities to everybody taking part in the challenge, offering water for those who needed it. Many walkers, including a good number of the Big Walkers, decided to make the most of the rest stop and take on an extra pint, preparing them for the rest of the day.

Re-hydration out of the way, the walkers set out again towards Stanage Edge. With a longer, more gradual ascent this was an easier climb, but even so was a bit of a push by the end. On reaching the top however, the walkers were treated to wonderful panoramic views across the valley and a great stop for lunch.

Crossing the eleven mile marker, the route followed the ridge of Stanage Edge before cutting back towards the Burbage Valley, then on to Ringinglow. From there the route crossed fields to meet the Porter Brook, following the river through the woods and skirting the edge of Fulwood. Only a few miles from home, the walk passed through Whiteley Woods and Endcliffe Park (a stone’s throw from the student village), before the final climb of the day up Brocco Bank. Passing by the Botanical Gardens and SITraN, the end was near. Arrayed across the University concourse a crowd had assembled to cheer on all those crossing the finishing line.

Medals and goodie bags were handed out, along with physios on hand for anyone who was a bit worse for wear. The first walker to make it back crossed the finish at 14:45, while the Big Walkers made it back around 17:00 to rapturous applause, and led by team captains Tony Weetman and Tony Ryan. Many family and friends were on hand to see them home, and there were a few tearful hugs as they completed their momentous challenge.

While walkers continued to cross the line into the evening, this marked the end of a truly outstanding effort. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who got involved, took on the challenge, raised money and donated. What you have done will enable the University to continue doing vital work to beat a devastating condition.

If you’d like to revisit the challenge check out the Walkers’ Blog, or take a look back at the #tuosbigwalk hashtag and see the wonderful response and support. You can also check out our Facebook page to see a few more pictures from the day.

If you would like to contribute towards The Big Walk please visit the JustGiving page where you can also see the latest total as more donations make their way in.

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The Big Walkers Crossing the Big Walk finish line

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One Day Challenge ridgeOne Day Challenge Stanage EdgeOne Day Challenge end