We Peaked in Saddleworth!

Rebecca Lawton

PR Assistant

I never met a problem that cheese couldn't solve.

As I sit here, aching and sore on a rainy morning, reflecting back on the long exhausting day that was Saturday, I look at what we accomplished and how much money we raised for a great cause.

On Saturday 8th July, us Webbies (along with over 100 other volunteers) decided to raise some money for Mahdlo Youth Zone & POINT by taking part in the Three Peaks of Saddleworth challenge. Not only was this 16 miles of hiking, but the challenge also took us around 6.5 hours to complete. Seeing the likes of the Indians Head, Pots and Pans and Wharmton Hill, volunteers from all over the borough joined together to fundraise for local charities.

Being known as the girl who drives to Tesco, which is around 5 minutes from the office, myself and others were a little worried as to how I’d get on. I’ve never been a keen walker, and normally become slightly exhausted just from walking up the road into Oldham Town Centre, so actually, worried was a little bit of an understatement.

Having just come back from holiday, I took this as the opportunity to work off any weight I had gained whilst being on annual leave, and what a way to do it! I also saw this as a challenge for myself to complete, and a way I could really push myself into doing something I wouldn’t normally try.

We met at Saddleworth Rangers Rugby Club at 8:30am for a briefing and a breakfast muffin. I’ve lived in Saddleworth for 23 years, so unlike some of the Webbies – I knew exactly where we were going, and I was dreading every minute of it!

1200x800 blog

First stop, Indian’s Head – the shape of a pile of rocks high in the hills, near Dovestones reservoir, that used to represent the profile of a native American chieftain lying across the hill. Unfortunately, corroding has taken place and you can’t make out the shape much anymore (so much so, that Naomi stated it looked more like a stegosaurus), however climbing up to it and seeing the views were something else.

The hike seemed never-ending, and the majority of people had the same idea, which was to power through, as stopping and starting would be so much more difficult. Using the flat surfaces as a sort of ‘rest’, for some this was the most difficult peak to climb. The scenery was beautiful, and the feeling of being able to hike up to Indian’s Head was definitely worth it.

1200x800IH2

As we started to head back over the hills down Chew Valley, feeling slightly like we were on a ‘Lord of the Rings’ quest, the bogginess began. Some of us bypassed this, however, some of us decided to walk straight through it (Nick), and had to receive help from a fellow walker who pulled him out, legs full of mud. Safe to say, this was probably the highlight of the whole day – thanks to Nick for providing us with some long-lasting entertainment!

Nick cropped

We stopped off at Dovestones Sailing Club for a spot of lunch, and to relax before heading to Pots and Pans. Not long after, we headed off in small groups, Myself, Jack, Shaun and Nick setting off in the lead. Pots and Pans are a tall group of hills on the moors of Saddleworth, where a war memorial stands. This for me, was the hardest peak to climb. Unlike hiking to Indian’s Head, I had to stop a number of times for a rest and drink, and in all honestly, I’m not really sure how Shaun and Jack managed to power through all the way to the top! The views again were stunning, as we looked out over Saddleworth and Wharmton Hill – our next port of call.

potsandpans1200x800

Heading down the steep decline of the hill, and many people falling over in the grass – surprisingly lifted everybody’s spirits, with only around 2 hours to go. The end was near! We stopped at Checkpoint 2 for a brief sit down and a drink, before departing to Wharmton hill – and sadly passing my apartment on the way. Although the hill started off quite steep, with me and Naomi trying very hard to keep going, but ultimately having to stop, the road started to even out, and it was a nice ease off from the hikes we had been doing for the past 5 hours. This was agreed by all as the easiest peak to climb. There was a sigh of relief, as we reached the top and realised it was all downhill from here – pardon the pun!

The descent of the hills was almost as difficult as the ascent! Having to hold your balance, whilst your feet push forward into your shoes, had some of us falling over yet again, Naomi being one of them. After the second time, she merely said ‘enough is enough’ and pushed herself down on her bum – an idea we all should have taken on.

The walk ended with a couple of well-deserved alcoholic beverages at the Saddleworth Rangers Club, and a smile on the faces of all who completed the challenge.

We were all surprised at what we’d managed to achieve, and it made the pain worth it in the end, if not during the walk. It goes to show, that you shouldn’t stop yourself from doing something you don’t think you can achieve, you should push yourself to succeed and the feeling of accomplishment afterwards, overpowers the endurance of pain that is merely forgotten about later.

We managed to raise a whopping £705 for Mahdlo and POINT, and plenty of Webbies will be getting involved again if they have the chance. A great walk, amazing scenes, and a fantastic atmosphere – well done everyone!