You are here: Wild West Challenge - Nuns and the Navy on the run

One of the South West’s toughest endurance events


Teams will pit themselves against Dartmoor’s landscape and elements in ShelterBox’s Wild West Challenge – and among this year’s hardy adventurers will be Yeovilton’s Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, and three teams of scouting ‘nuns’!

Observers on the roadside and riverside at this year’s ShelterBox Wild West Challenge might well do a double take as its thirty participants cycle, canoe or trek by. Amidst the energetic throng will be three teams from 1st Backwell Scouts in North Somerset dressed as nuns. ‘Nuns on the Run’ in fact! 

But there is a condition. They say they will don their high-speed habits only if they hit their fundraising target of £3,600, though currently they are well on their way to exceeding it.  

The costume teaser is the brainchild Scout leaders Iain Rhodes, Graham Wild and Ben Buckle, and their catchphrase is ‘To go where no nuns have been before for ShelterBox, because confessions need to be heard and lives saved!

Iain Rhodes says, ‘Our 3 teams will include seven Explorer Scouts aged 15-16, who have taken it upon themselves to give this challenge a go. Usually this event is restricted to over 18's due to the nature and scale of the challenge!’ 1st Backwell Scouts previously helped ShelterBox at the WOMAD festival in July.

And these flying nuns will have their work cut out. Among their challengers will be a team of four from Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm at RNAS Yeovilton, no doubt well-used to arduous outdoor endurance events. 

The Wild West Challenge takes two days across a gruelling 67 mile course. It includes canoeing on the River Exe, cycling up serious gradients across Dartmoor, hiking overland, and one night sleeping under canvas – whatever the weather. Each team also has to carry a distinctive green ShelterBox for much of this activity.

The starting whistle blows at 7.30 am on Saturday 1 October at the Haven Outdoor Centre, Quayside, Exeter, EX2 8GP. Those who finish the course – against the clock and other competitors – will cross the finishing line at the same location around 15.00 to 16.00 on Sunday 2 October. 

Although the setting around the River Exe and Dartmoor National is dramatic and spectacular, it is also very testing for the competitors. And weather and temperature are unpredictable. The route includes five miles of canoeing, over forty miles of cycling and around twenty miles of hiking over the tors. ShelterBox tents in a special campsite with facilities are laid on for the Saturday night.

More information

  • Details of the event are on our website here.
  • Entries to this challenge are now closed, but anyone interested in taking part in a future fundraising event for ShelterBox can contact events@shelterbox.org for more information. 
  • Photos of last year’s event can be downloaded from here, but please credit © Emily Whitfield-Wicks.   

 

1st Backwell Scouts in North Somerset, dressed as nuns, taking part this year
1st Backwell Scouts in North Somerset, dressed as nuns, taking part this year
ShelterBox Wild West bike challenge, Dartmoor, heading for Postbridge - Photograph by Emily Whitfield-Wicks
ShelterBox Wild West bike challenge, Dartmoor, heading for Postbridge - Photograph by Emily Whitfield-Wicks

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Mark Nicholson, Media Relations Officer

Subscribe or tweet @shelterboxpress to get in touch, or use marknicholson@shelterbox.org and +44 (0) 7584 489194

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