Their story, in their words…..
“Firstly, we would like to thank the Mark Evison Foundation, not only for funding this overwhelming experience, but also giving us the opportunity to start a trajectory of our own to an unfamiliar, yet beautiful environment. On Saturday 20th August, we set out on our mission to Hartington Hall from the busy Victoria coach station. We did not really know what exactly to expect, other than pandemonium was yet to come. The 4 hour coach journey from Victoria to Derby was full of energy and humour. We played cards, games like ‘I spy with my little eye’ and did just about everything to take our minds of the challenge ahead of us. Evidently all those games and humour, couldn’t keep our curiosity away, but it was worth the try. Once we got to Derby, we were already quite worn out from the coach journey and so when we boarded our bus routing to Ashbourne, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to catch up on some sleep before the tiring walk. We were very wrong. Approximately 20 minutes into our bus journey to Ashbourne, a gargantuan insect came out of nowhere and had us all straddled in one corner, whilst a member of our team of 5 debated on killing this creature. We were terrified to say the least, but once we swiftly evacuated the area we all relaxed and took in the picturesque grassland scenery en route to Ashbourne.
We were welcomed into the small town of Ashbourne with blue and red flags, tiny sweet shops, pie shops, clothing stores, families, not knowing that it would take us over 3 hours for us to see another community and even then, our walk to Hartington was far from finished. For the first 2 hours of our walk, we just saw sheep, cows and a lot of hills ahead signifying our distance from our final destination.
On our journey, we passed some campers who wished us good luck after we informed them of our challenge. Little did we know, how much we would actually need it. We faced real adversity throughout the walk, especially in the last steps or lunges of our trek. Once we reached 3/4s of the way, fatigue set in and the walk became increasingly difficult for the whole team. Passing a small village, we thought we were closer to Hartington than we actually were. The sun went down, making it tremendously dark which just heightened the difficulty of the already 6 hour walk, it became increasingly harder to read the map, we couldn’t see anything. Thankfully we had our little flashlights to light the way but even then we couldn’t avoid the cow excrement. We all knuckled down and turned our focus towards reaching our destination.
Despite the hardship, we managed to encounter some beautiful landmarks such as the Dovedale Stepping Stones and explored the humongous caves at the peak District. We stopped at great highs to awe the view down below. We had races up rocky mountains, we got so carried away exploring our surroundings we almost lost our sense of direction.
By doing this walk, we had the opportunity to test ourselves mentally and physically in a way different to how we are tested on the basketball court. We had to be focused and divert our mentally from fatigued to determined. When things got really tough we didn’t rest or make unnecessary excuses, instead we kept walking, and so we got closer and closer to our destination. From this experience given to us by the Mark Evison Foundation, we distinguished that the only people on this planet that can help us before anyone else, is ourselves. We also learned to be leaders but to allow yourself to be lead as we all took it in turns to reading the map and compass. Thus, we were successful in our 8 hour trek from Ashbourne to Hartington with these qualities and so once again, we thank you.”