Rotary Club of Upper Eden activities

The Cross Fell Challenge

What started off as a zany idea by Upper Eden Rotarian PP Arthur Littlefair was developed by the Pink Ice Cream Van duo, PP Roger Frank of Upper Eden and President John Taylor of Appleby assisted by the members of both Clubs over a period of twelve months into a fantastic fundraising event for the ShelterBox Charity. The Challenge, took place at 893m (2,930ft) up in the Pennines at the summit of Cross Fell, the highest peak in England outside the Lake District, over the period July 11th to 18th 2009. To support this enterprise we developed a dedicated website at www.crossfellchallenge.co.uk.

The Cross Fell Challenge

The camps nine tents were erected on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th of July in lovely weather conditions, stores and provisions being brought up by an eight wheeled Argocat vehicle. Rotary Clubs, Businesses and Individuals from throughout Cumbria and the North of England had sponsored ShelterBoxes at £490 a piece and for that they received overnight accommodation in a ShelterBox tent at the top of Cross Fell.

The Cross Fell Challenge

The experience included an evening meal and breakfast prepared by a top local chef and Challenge participants were presented with a commemorative jacket embroidered with Rotary and Cross Fell ShelterBox Challenge emblems. The camp consisted of tents for cooking, mess/cafe, stores, accommodation and of course loos.  The guests were ferried to the top of Great Dun Fell from Appleby by Rotarian drivers who also acted as guides to lead them by foot across about two and a half miles of the Pennine Way from Great Dun Fell over Little Dun Fell and onto Cross Fell. Fortuitously, located on Great Dun Fell is a Radar Station with a metalled access road, thus allowing good vehicle access and parking thanks to the kind permission of The National Air Traffic Services.

The Cross Fell Challenge

The weather at the top of the Pennines can change very quickly and can range through Spring  Summer and Winter conditions all within the space of an hour!   Snow has been known to lie on the summit for up to 140 days a year, and the famous “Helm Wind” which blows off the Pennines from the East can blast the Fell bottom villages with a fierce gale of hurricane proportions. The week long Challenge encompassed all of these weather conditions, culminating in a strategic withdrawal from the camp on the last Friday in the face of heavy rain and forecasted 70mph storm force winds.

The Cross Fell Challenge

Appleby’s regular Wednesday evening meeting was held at the camp as a joint one with Upper Eden. Members walked in from Great Dun Fell in pleasant weather and on arrival Stewards for the evening David Crosby and David Watkinson signed members in and took payment for the evening meal. Some members came with the intention of setting high standards for the elevated Rotary meeting and changed into full dinner suit attire!  After some pre-dinner drinks from the well stocked bar, wine, beer or banana wine (not to be recommended) Appleby Rotary Club President John Taylor got the meeting under way welcoming a brazen band of about forty Rotarians. There were several other Rotary Clubs represented and they brought greetings from Bradford Blaize, Ulverston and Chorley Astley whose members presented President John with a club banner.

The Cross Fell Challenge

Upper Eden Club President Raymond Thornton read the objects of Rotary including the “higher” ideals of service which was followed by the induction of 2 new members into the Appleby Club.

The Cross Fell Challenge

After the formalities members enjoyed an excellent meal prepared by Rotarians’ wives, which was a tasty lasagne, followed by delicious strawberries and cream and finished off with cheese and biscuits. A fantastic spread indeed for such a wild place.

The Cross Fell Challenge

The evening was completed by the arrival of a pink birthday cake with candles to celebrate President John’s 60th birthday, he also received some very elegant strap-on pink furry rabbits ears.

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Over the course of the week individuals from across Cumbria and beyond took up the challenge of spending a night in a ShelterBox tent on Cross Fell.   Local Primary schools had raised money to sponsor boxes which also increased pupils’ awareness of world issues.   One of the attractions of the ShelterBox scheme is the ability for tracking a sponsored box on its progress from the storage warehouse to its ultimate destination which can be anywhere in the world.  Since the ShelterBox charity was set up by Rotarian Tom Henderson in 2000 they have provided shelter, warmth and dignity following more than 80 disasters in 52 countries world wide.     A ShelterBox contains all the necessary basic equipment including; tent, cooking utensils, tools, water treatment and storage, mosquito nets and blankets. Enough for 10 people to survive for 6 months.

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Just over 25% of the Clubs in District 1190 supported the initiative which instigated great inter Club fellowship for those taking part. Gordon Swindlehurst one of the main BBC Radio Cumbria presenters commented that “he would see Rotarians in a completely new light after spending a night in the camp”. One of the project’s main objectives was to increase the awareness of ShelterBox throughout the North of England and it was felt this had been well achieved by the air time on the Tyne, Tees, Border evening news and the numerous press reports.

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This is not the first time Appleby and Upper Eden Rotary Clubs have co-operated on a project but with an outcome of an estimated 80 ShelterBoxes being purchased ( £40,000 ) from the proceeds of the event, it will go down in the record books as one of the biggest and best ever undertaken.

View ITV Lookaround report: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0-8S5cyH2s

Is this the highest ever induction in RIBI?

Our last picture shows Appleby President John Taylor with their proposer President Elect William Patterson welcoming new members Mike Schug and Richard Govan following their induction into the Appleby Club at 2930 ft – can any Club lay claim to a higher induction ceremony?

The Cross Fell Challenge