New team member Charlie Rigg on jumping into life at FMB

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What better way to get to know your colleagues than a 24 mile walk? We asked Charlie to tell us about her experience of the Ullswater Way Challenge last weekend.

"I've barely been at FMB a few weeks, but I had the opportunity to join in with some of the team for their attempt at the Ullswater Way Challenge. It seemed a great opportunity to get to know the team better and to experience more of the local area, so I hastily signed up but as the allotted day rapidly approached I began to get nervous; 24 miles over hilly terrain is a long way!

We arrived at the Pooley Bridge start having enjoyed an extra hour’s sleep due to daylight savings (despite worrying about sleeping through the alarm). We received our navigation instructions and timing tags and set off in good spirits along the eastern shore of Ullswater. We were tackling the route in a clockwise direction this time, with previous members of the team having completed the route three years ago in the opposite direction. There was much debate throughout the walk as to which way was preferable.Over the first few hours of the course we were passed by those running the route and developed admiration for them and their determination; rather them than us though!

We were very happy to arrive at Glenridding for a well-deserved lunch pit stop at midday where we rested our legs and changed our socks (bliss). It was great to enjoy a cup of tea and some biscuits courtesy of the event team.
After setting off from Glenridding our Challenge course led us West around Sheffield Pike and past the disused quarries, which diverted us away from the standard Ullswater Way route that hugs the shoreline. We were rewarded at the top of the climb with fantastic views over the lake.

As a result of the heavy rainfall of the previous few days the ground was muddy underfoot and we had quite a few squelchy feet over the second half of the walk through more boggy areas, where hopping from tussock to tussock to avoid getting wet feet became the norm.

By the time we had reached Gowbarrow Fell we were lagging a little when faced with another mountain (hill) but a quick refuel and we were on the top enjoying the stunning views over the lake at golden hour.

Over the last few miles back to Pooley Bridge the sun had set and we had to get our headtorches out to negotiate the muddy fields but we were treated to the awesome sight of the milkyway and spotted a satellite passing overhead. We were all very happy (relieved) to finish the challenge course after 10.5 hours with a variety of sore bits and blisters but having had a lot of laughs along the way. It was a great day out with the FMB group; getting to know everyone (and their feet) a bit better. I was impressed with the teamwork and attitude within our team, no one was left behind and we all managed to complete the challenge, with encouragement, support and a bit of banter from each other along the way (much like my experience in the office actually!). We wore our slippers as badges of honour in the office the next day!"

Blog by Charlie Rigg

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