Nearly 700 people raised more than £340,000 for Oxfam by taking on its Trailtrekker challenge to run or walk 100k in 30 hours in the Yorkshire Dales.

The charity handed over organisation and safety cover to Wild Fox Events, Atholl Adventures and Matterhorn Medical, but it was RAYNET which provided the backbone radio network for everyone throughout June 4 and 5.

The event was held in terrain where mobile phone cover and the emergency services Airwave system is patchy. This meant RAYNET had to engineer three repeaters on high ground, including the main talkthrough at Elslack, south west of Skipton, to cover all the checkpoints and water stops, plus the sweep team.

Trailtrekker started in Skipton and was routed via Malham Cove, over the shoulder of Penyghent to Horton-in Ribblesdale before following the Pennine Way to the remote Cam Farm. For competitors who had started at 0630 there was a 2100 cut off at Horton.

Those continuing beyond Horton returned to Skipton via Deepdale, Buckden, Conistone and Hetton. Of the 649 people who started, 641 reached the Bronze finish at Horton (38.6K), 558 the Silver finish in Buckden (64.9K) and 397 received Gold awards for completing the 100K.

RAYNET organisation on the Oxfam Trailtrekker, which was being held for the third time in the Yorkshire Dales, was carried out by the Keighley Group Controller Geoff Priestley G7JZM and his deputy, Mike Priestley G7HEN.

They were also involved in engineering a PMR repeater system which allowed Wild Fox and Matterhorn Medical to use their radio system. The repeater was set up at RAYNET’s main talkthrough site by G7HEN and Chris G1YNH, who supervised both systems throughout the event.

Staffing for Trail trekkers required operators in Control at Aireville School, working alongside Oxfam, Wild Fox, Matterhorn Medical and Red Cross, and at remote locations ranging from tents to farm barns. RAYNET also provided a sweep team at the rear of the walkers.

Keighley RAYNET was supported by members from the Calderdale, Leeds and Richmond groups, who provided operators for 36 hours. For much of the time, Control duties were carried out by Keighley members Gavin M3VGH and Angela M6ANG.

Competitors, who were expected to walk in teams of four or six people, were timed in electronically at checkpoints using the SPORTIdent system, with details passed back to Control on an Internet link.

However, the large number of charity fundraisers walking long distances in challenging terrain, meant that RAYNET was kept busy passing messages about medical incidents, retirements and requests for supplies.

High winds had made life difficult throughout the day, but the night also had low temperatures and some rain and there were many retirements in difficult to reach locations which RAYNET was involved in managing. For some the only evacuation route was by 4x4.

Oxfam Trailtrekker is a serious challenge not only for the entrants, but for the RAYNET team which has to provide the communications which make the event possible. Some RAYNET members say Trailtrekker in the Dales comes close to comparison with the Long Distance Walkers’ Association 100 mile challenge events.

Last Updated (Friday, 26 May 2017 09:09)