After months of preparation and fundraising, a team of 5 from AES (Ed, Jono, Row, Andy & Ross) headed up to the Peak District at the end of June to take part in the 2019 Hope Challenge, organised by and in aid of Habitat for Humanity GB. The challenge was to raise money for the charity, design, construct and sleep in a shelter, as well as taking part in a series of physical and mental challenges throughout the weekend.
Meeting at the office at 05:15 on Friday 28th June, the team loaded up the cars and trailer with everything that was needed to construct the shelter and set off for the mammoth drive to the Peak District. Arriving at the Hollowford Centre in the spectacular Hope Valley the team set about constructing their shelter before the allowed build time closed and judging began at 18:00.
Having prepared and practised constructing our fully recycled and recyclable shelter, it went up easily with time to spare, allowing us to suss out our strong competition. Our shelter featured a frame constructed of cardboard tubes previously used on rolls of artificial grass, a pond liner floor, a Perspex roof from a dismantled chicken coop and tarpaulin used to protect the aforementioned artificial grass. The resulting look was maybe a little more rustic than some of our competitors’, however it was structurally sound and survived the whole weekend. The judges were impressed by our shelter, and loved the little touches like the luggage rack made from leftover tubes, and the bee hotel made with the remaining bamboo dowels.
Saturday began with the challenges at the Hollowford Centre – a water transportation exercise against the clock using bamboo stakes, guttering and twine which went smoothly and really got the team going, setting them up nicely for the following raft build. After time designing and constructing the raft, intrepid paddlers Andy & Ross took to the lake for a lap of the course, completing it in a record time, all the while remaining dry! (more than can be said for our opposing team – sorry Coins!). The final challenge of the morning was to make a fire, Bear Grylls style, and boil water for a hot chocolate – living in Devon with the abundance of wood burners and open fires, if’s fair to say we had this covered!
The afternoon arrived and it was time to begin our hike and memory challenge, in the sweltering heat. On the start line, 20 items (including Pi to 20 decimal places) were laid out for us to memorise and recite following the walk. We each memorised specific items and set off for the hike. At the first checkpoint, a stretcher carry challenge had been set up – 1 member of the team had to carried using only a bivvy bag and a climbing rope. Jono & Ed stepped up and, on a rope swing seat, carried Ross over the 100m course with incredible strength and determination. The hike continued up to the spectacular Mam Tor and along the ridge back to the Hollowford Centre, returning just in time for the BBQ and prize giving.
A night in the pubs of Castleton celebrating with the other teams rounded off the fantastic weekend. Congratulations to the winners from the NHBC and to the great lads of Pantera Carpentry who came in second.
Finishing 7th overall and raising £2,454.00 for Habitat for Humanity the AES team headed home to Devon. Don’t worry, parts of our shelter have been re-used, with the rest recycled.
We had a fantastic weekend and send our thanks to Habitat for Humanity GB and Across the Divide for organising the event.