Iain Taylor, the man who made it into the record books earlier this year for completing one of the most gruelling and difficult endurance tests in the UK - the Bob Graham Round, has now led a group of BTEC Outdoor Level 3 students into the great outdoors for a three day expedition, which tested their endurance. The group, battled against severe weather and gale force winds to reach the summit of Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, which is more than 3,000 feet high.
Iain Taylor, Curriculum Team Leader for Sport at Bradford College took all this in his stride having completed the Bob Graham Round in record time. Battling against cold, dark, winter conditions and temperatures as low as minus six, he completed the 68 mile route in the Lake District in 22 hours and 44 minutes, climbing 42 mountains including Skiddaw, Helvellyn, Scafell and Scafell Pike earlier this year.
Whilst nearly 2,000 people have completed the challenge in summer, only 21 runners have ever finished the course in the winter. After completing the ultimate challenge, Iain became the third fastest fell runner to date, to do the course in winter.
Now under Iain’s experienced and watchful eye, the group of BTEC Outdoor Level 3 students set off from the heart of the Lake District, in Langdale, in the early hours of the morning to begin their three day expedition. The group walked for over four hours, carrying essential equipment weighing up to 40 pounds, whilst contending with gail force winds of up to 60 miles per hour.
Elaborating further on the recent trip, Iain Taylor said: “The weather became wilder and wilder the higher we climbed and then it began to hail. The students took it all in their stride as determination to succeed pushed them on. We reached Sprinkling Tar, a wilderness camp some four hours later to set up camp and prepare for the evening meal, which they had to create from basic rations.”
“Some of them hadn’t even cooked at home before, let alone prepare their own food with basic supplies. It was a real eye opener for them… they got so much out of the experience and learnt a lot about not taking things for granted, especially as the nearest water supply was 200 meters away from where we camped.”
“This was reinforced when the students had to dig a hole in the ground to dispose of toilet waste. They didn’t particularly enjoy that aspect of it, but they coped with it.”
Iain continued: “The following day we were up again at 7am in preparation for the next leg of the trip and the ascent up Scafell Pike. We decided to take a more adventurous and challenging route, avoiding all paths and going over scrambles, rocks and rough ground to test our navigation skills.”
The students successfully reached the summit of Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England some 5 hours later. Iain smiled and explained: “The students were ecstatic when we made it to the top of Scafell Pike… it gave them a sense of achievement, having accomplished what they had set out to do.”
Having successfully reaching the summit of Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, the group led by Iain Taylor began their descent down, to set up camp for the night.
The following day the group awoke to find it had rained heavily over night. Iain explained: “Lots of nearby streams and paths were flooded, which meant we couldn’t make our way along the normal routes.”
“This didn’t deter the students. They were determined to complete the course and nothing was going to stand in their way.”
Iain reflected: “Having successfully completed the challenge set to them, the students have grown in both confidence and ability. They have also bonded as a group… developing them as a team and developing them as individuals!”