ALMOST 50 people completed the Lake District's “longest, steepest, highest quadrathlon” to raise more than £31,000 for Muscular Dystrophy UK, inspired by Will Taylor, ten, of Crooklands.

Schoolboy Will was diagnosed five years ago with the muscle-wasting condition Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and the sporting event was dreamed up by his parents, Sam and Sue, to help fund research into treatments.

It featured a one-mile swim and 11-mile kayak on Windermere, a bike ride from Waterhead to Wasdale, and a hike to Great Langdale - curtailed from Scafell Pike due to extremely rough weather.

Will's dad, Sam, said the intrepid team took on "the worst the Lake District could throw at them", starting at Fell Foot Park, Newby Bridge, for the mile-long open-water swim and 11-mile kayak to Waterhead, on England's longest lake.

After a short turnaround, the swimmers cycled from Waterhead to Wasdale, taking in Wrynose Pass and Hardknott Pass, England’s steepest road.

On Saturday, this was due have been followed by a hike over Scafell Pike, but had to be curtailed, as Sam explained.

“We knew this was a tough challenge, but the weather made it harder than we ever imagined," he told the Gazette.

"We got the swim done before the rain really started, but Windermere was still choppy due to the wind. Then when the team set off on the kayak, the wind and rain came on stronger, and lake conditions could only be described as "Atlantic".

"The bike ride was similarly wild and wet and, having seen the mountain forecast for Saturday morning, we took the difficult decision not to attempt Scafell Pike, and take a slightly lower level, Plan B route via Sprinkling Tarn, Esk Hause and Angle Tarn to Great Langdale, which was still extremely hard going. Despite all of this, every single person who started completed their intended challenge.”

The Taylor family were fully involved in the event, with mum Sue taking on the whole challenge solo.

Will was an integral part of the support team, which was headed up by Sam. Will’s sister Beth, 11, filmed and edited footage to tell the story of the event through social media.

So far, the has raised more than £31,000, which will be used to fund research into treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, through Muscular Dystrophy UK.

The severe genetic condition means the body does not produce dystrophin, a vital protein that repairs damaged muscles. As a result Will’s muscles are getting weaker, which is impacting on his mobility now, and will have greater implications in the future, said Sam.

He added: "We genuinely did not expect to raise this amount of money. We’re incredibly fortunate to have found these amazing people who have thrown themselves into training and fundraising for this event, and despite the tough course and awful weather just fought on with smiles on their faces.

"I know many of us take inspiration from Will’s determination not to let his muscles stop him from doing stuff that he wants to do. Thank you to everyone who has followed us through the challenge and has donated to us; your money will make a difference, hopefully for Will, and definitely for the next generation of children born with muscular dystrophy.”

This is the third such challenge staged by the Taylor family, and two people have completed "every single metre of all of them", added Sam.

Peter Gallagher, one of Sam’s colleagues from JCB, and Claire Guy, from Ingleton, both cycled from John O’Groats to Lands End in 2015, completed a 150-mile Coast to Coast Triathlon in 2017, and now this quadrathlon.

The combined total of the Taylor family’s fundraising in the last five years is now approaching £125,000.

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