Nearly 1,000 people hiked the Chiltern Hills in the late summer sunshine on Sunday, September 12, in Rennie Grove’s thirteenth annual Chilterns 3 Peaks Challenge, raising money to fund vital support for local families facing life-limiting illness.
The walkers tackled stretches of the beautiful Ridgeway choosing one of three route options.
The 20-mile route proved the most popular with around 500 people walking this distance, which takes in the stunning views from the top of Whiteleaf Cross, Coombe Hill, and Ivinghoe Beacon. Others opted for the shorter 8 and 12 mile routes, each with the hill top views but less ground to cover in between.
Gill Hudnott and Louise Waters from St Albans, Joe Williams from Harpenden, and Theresa Johnson from Hemel Hempstead arrived at Princes Risborough School ready to take on the 12 mile challenge, which saw them walk a circular route back to their starting point, after taking in two of the peaks.
Gill walked in memory of her dad, who was cared for by Rennie Grove nurses. She said: “My dad lived in Hemel Hempstead. Rennie Grove nurses looked after him with the hospice at home service and after that most fundraising I’ve done has been for Rennie Grove.
"The nurses are brilliant, they’re supporting your whole family, not just the person who’s unwell.”
As 8 mile walkers followed their circular route back to the start, the 12 and 20 milers powered on to the second vantage point at Coombe Hill, which proved to be the perfect spot to stop for snacks and sightseeing.
The 20-milers trekked on to Ivinghoe Beacon, the final summit. A friendly reception of volunteers awaited at the top, as well as ice creams and medals.
Lara Bateman, from Tring, was one participant brave enough to take on the challenge solo. She said: “I really enjoyed it. Doing the full 20 miles has given me a huge sense of achievement.
"I haven’t walked that far in my entire life, so it was brilliant. Even though I walked it on my own I met loads of amazing people, chatted a lot, listened to my audiobook and had a great time.
"And I’m raising lots of money for Rennie Grove so it’s all for a great cause.”
Back at Princes Risborough School, 8 and 12 mile walkers were arriving to cheers and to collect medals.
Amy Chambers, head of fundraising development, said: “After a scaled-down event in 2020, we were so pleased to be able to bring back all three route options this year.
"We’re in awe of our amazing walkers and so grateful for their support. Despite the restrictions last year, they raised an amazing £60,000 towards our specialist care in patients’ homes.
"This year, thanks to our walkers’ hard work and our generous sponsors Origin Doors and Windows and The Business Clubhouse, as well as Arriva Buses (whose staff generously volunteered to transport our 20-mile walkers back to their cars parked at Princes Risborough School) the event has already raised £79,000 to support local families facing life-limiting illness.
“We’d also like to say a big thank you to all our volunteers and marshals who greeted our walkers with friendly smiles and directed them safely on their way.
"Without their help, this hugely popular event would not be able to take place and vital funds would not be raised. We are very grateful to everyone involved in making the day such a success."
For more about charity's upcoming fundraisers visit the Rennie Grove website.