Image for Walking with the Wounded News - Cumbrian Challenge - Team Chamber's 32km hike and 32km rowing challenge  / (Shaun Franklin
 - Shaun Franklin

Cumbrian Challenge - Team Chamber's 32km hike and 32km rowing challenge

On the morning of Saturday 11th September, 179 teams came together to the start line of Walking With The Wounded’s long-awaited 10th Cumbrian Challenge, which had been postponed since 2019. Teams of 3 or 4 embarked on 3 routes across the Cumbrian mountains: Peak (10km, 900m ascent), Tough (22km 1350m ascent), Tougher (29km 1900m ascent).

Deciding to take on the challenge’s tougher route carrying rowing machines on their back, was Shaun Franklin with his team, Chamber. Shaun served in the British army and decided to walk with his team to give back to WWTW, who support ex-military to get their lives back on track.

What inspired you to take part in the tougher route of the Cumbrian Challenge?

I think there was no question for us that the tougher route was going to be our distance of choice. We knew it would provide a mental and physical test time and time again especially carrying a rowing machine!

If you could name one individual that you were doing the Cumbrian Challenge for, who would it be and why?

Taking part in the Cumbrian Challenge was a mixture of for myself but to also demonstrate the power of community spirit and that with every challenge you face there will always be someone closely behind. My family, especially my partner, have felt the burden of my ever-changing mental health over the years and so they were in the forefront of my mind throughout.

What was your most memorable part of the event?

Meeting and witnessing acts of selflessness on the hills. Helping guide each other over the difficult parts of the course. It wasn’t about competition.

What does WWTW’s work mean to you?

WWTW has been a lifeline for me. The help I have received means that I can be present with my children and be the parent I was so envious of in my early days of struggle.

What was the most challenging aspect of the event?

I think personally, the most challenging was being told to stop. We were just 10 minutes behind the cut off after carrying the rowing machine for 19km. The hills provided mental clarity for me that day and so I just didn’t want it to stop.

If you had one piece of advice to give to those taking part in the same route next year, what would it be?

For anyone taking part, in whatever distance next year. Embrace the challenge. It is going to test you, at times it’ll hurt and will require repeat efforts of grit and determination. For most, the hills provide an escape from reality. Seeing the world from a different angle can be the best dose of mindfulness that you’ve been searching for.

Finally, will you consider taking part in the challenge next year?

We would love to be a part of the event again, but what’s worse than carrying a rowing machine? Brainstorm!!

Team Chamber has raised an incredible £2,601 so far for the charity, exceeding the target goal of £2,000.

A huge thanks to Shaun and the rest of Team Chamber, alongside everyone who took part in making this incredible event happen and supporting WWTW. See you next year!

Register for our 2022 event here.