23 June 2017


FOOTSORE staff from a Yorkshire estate agency have broken new ground - quite literally - in the way they are raising £20,000 to help children with life-limiting illnesses.

Linley & Simpson marked its 20th anniversary by setting staff the gruelling non-stop challenge of hiking 20 miles across 20 Lake District peaks in support of its chosen charity of the year, Martin House children’s hospice.

Just over 13 hours after they set off, and having burned over 100,000 calories and climbed 8,000 flights of stairs between them, the team of 11 conquered the stamina-sapping challenge - taking a route never attempted before.

The independent sales and letting agency, which has 11 branches across North and West Yorkshire - including Leeds city centre, Roundhay, Horsforth, Chapel Allerton, Harrogate, Ripon, Wetherby, York, Ilkley, Saltaire and Wakefield - has helped more than 100,000 people move home since it first opened its doors back in 1997.

Now its staff are celebrating a very different logistical feat, by winning the race against darkness to complete an extended version of the Patterdale Horseshoe route in double-quick time. Most hikers opt to complete it in two days.

To put their feat into perspective, this represents an ascent totalling 2,434 metres or 8,032 feet - the equivalent of almost two Ben Nevis mountain climbs.

Led by founders Will Linley and Nick Simpson, the team included Danny Tasker, Martin Elliott, Greg Smallwood, Katie Radcliffe, Eileen Cahill, Mark Sheridan, Neil McGroarty, Paul Bridgeman and Carl Willock – with Mark Christopher and Emily Wilkinson acting as support staff on the ground.

20peaks collage

As part of its "20 Twenty" challenge, they took in Arnison Crag, Birks, St Sunday's Crag, Fairfield, Hart Crag, Dove Crag, Little Hart Crag, Middle Dodd, Red Screes, Caudale Moor, Thornthwaite Crag, Mardale Ill Bell, High Street, Kidsty Pike, High Raise, Rampsgill Head, The Knott, Rest Dodd, Brock Crags and Angletarn Pikes – all of which are designated Wainwright fells.

Director Will Linley said: "We've set ourselves some tough challenges before – ranging from Tough Mudder army assault course to the Brownlee brothers' triathlon.

"But this was far tougher than we had anticipated. Many even went as far as to say they’d rather run a marathon that do it again, which gives you an idea of how physically testing it was for us.

"I'd like to praise all my colleagues for rising to the challenge, and thank all those who backed the cause with generous donations."

John Haigh, corporate fundraiser for Martin House and itself celebrating its 30th anniversary year, said: "Team Linley & Simpson have been an absolute delight to work with over the last year, supporting the children and families at our hospice in so many ways - but in no way more gruelling than their 20 peaks challenge!

"Ascending and descending more than 2,400 metres in a challenge lasting 13 hours 28 minutes can only be described as masochistic!

"But what Linley & Simpson start, they invariably finish, and deliver on their promise.

"A very personal and sincere thank you to the whole team from each and every one of the 550 children and families supported by Martin House.”

The team were guided on their challenge by experts from the Lake District Walker company, whose Neil Davies put the achievement into context. He said:

"From the outset, this was a challenge that tested everyone’s endurance. Gusts of 30 to 40 mph winds made the early morning ridge walk particularly arduous and the first four peaks hard won for all.

"The long ascent from Kirkstone Pass to High Raise, at already over seven hours into the challenge, began to raise doubt in the minds of some as to whether they were physically up to completing the challenge.

"However, by Peak 17, with earlier lost time made up and the final summits now in sight, this doubt began to be replaced by hope.

"Digging deep from here-on to push through tiredness and some pain from old injuries saw the whole team re-uniting to complete the last two peaks together. With Brock Crags behind them, the end was in sight and the final summit, Angle Tarn Pikes, quickly bagged.

"After a brief summit celebration, all that was left was the walk down to Patterdale and the completion of the challenge by everyone in a highly commendable time."

Ahead of a different kind of finishing line, there is still time to donate before the presentation of the year's proceeds by visiting the agency’s dedicated JustGiving page: 


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