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A ‘peek into the Peaks’: FinancialForce fundraiser hits new highs as walkers raise £10K for St Michael’s Hospice

As part of this month’s You’re Inspired challenge, our Harrogate team has been working hard to raise money for local charity St Michael’s Hospice. One of the primary fundraising events, the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, took place on Thursday 12th October. Richard Hall, Senior Director of IT at FinancialForce and one of the fastest finishers, shares his experience below. Enjoy reading, and please do help us before the end of October by donating here.

The time for practice walks was over. Hiking kit had been purchased and tested. Lunches, flapjacks, and jelly babies were packed. With a distinct lack of sleep the FinancialForce4Good walkers—25 strong—were waiting outside the office at 4:45am to catch the transport to the start of the Yorkshire Three Peaks. An hour later we were disembarking the coach, attaching our head torches, and stepping forward to tackle the 24 miles and 5,200 feet of climbing.

A keen interest over the past week had been the weather report. The previous day had seen parts of the country receiving a month’s rainfall in a day, but fortunately, the forecast was dry for our entire day.

The ascent of Pen Y Ghent is steep, but with our head torches blazing as the dawn broke, all teams promptly reached the summit and were greeted with a very strong headwind. Our first pit stop was just before the famous Ribblehead viaduct, so we marched on through some particularly boggy terrain. A few slips, a few ankles deep in mud, and the odd rain shower kept us entertained. Then we saw the shimmering high-viz jackets—we had reached Pit Stop 1. As we approached, the “Chariots of Fire” theme wafted across the road, inspiring some to lightly jog toward the drinks and a refuel of cake.

The next peak, Whernside, is characterised by a long grinding walk and a tricky step descent. At the top, we were treated to stunning views of Yorkshire and once again a strong wind. With legs and feet aching, some began to feel the enormity of our challenge. Team leaders rallied their walkers and kept the motivation high.

Only one peak remained after the second pit stop, but for many it would be the biggest challenge for the day. Ingleborough starts off as a steady enough climb, much like Whernside, but promptly presents a sheer cliff face. You see a waterfall and wonder where you head next: the answer is an extremely steep and narrow path. Even for the fittest among us, heart rate increased while sweat poured and quads burned. It’s the happiest moment you’ll experience to reach the top of a hill and see the flat expanse of the Ingleborough summit. Unfortunately, that’s when the mental challenge kicks in—it’s a long trek back to the start point across boggy, undulating, rocky terrain. Some started to run sections to try and get under the next hour of their current time.

Our fastest team jogged into Horton in Ribblesdale 8h 7m after that early morning start. More waves of walkers finished over the next two hours, with all our teams completing in under 13 hours. Elation, pain, and fatigue showed on the faces of all our walkers. We’d had a great day, but more importantly had raised £10K for Saint Michael’s Hospice.

We’re continuing to work hard in raising funds with forthcoming events, including a fashion show at Betty’s in Harrogate on the evening of Friday 27th October and Halloween fun on 31st October.

Once again, please help us raise by making a donation here. We’d very much appreciate it.

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