Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Step forward for StarTrek

GANGS of enthusiastic walkers are being invited to take up the annual StarTrek Challenge of a gentle night time stroll across Exmoor to raise money for the region's two hospices.

The next instalment of the popular Ilfracombe Rotary Club charity event will be held on Saturday, February 27, as teams of sponsored walkers orienteer their way across the moor during the hours of darkness.

Groups of friends, local business, organisations or clubs are all invited to organise a team of four to six people to take on the 14-16 mile route, whose location is kept a closely guarded secret until about a week before the event.

With the aid of a compass and map the walkers will be tasked with following a figure of eight route, finding clues and following instructions to answer questions as they go. It is not a race - the winning team, is the one with the most correct answers on their questionnaire, as well as the most sponsorship raised.

There are no prizes as such, but the StarTrek Challenge Shield is awarded to the winning team, who receive £500 to give to a charity or good cause of their choice. Second and third places are given £300 and £150 respectively, while a prize is awarded for the team with the most sponsorship.

Since it began in 1992 the event has raised more than £500,000 in sponsorship, with a record amount of £44,000 raised last year by 87 teams.

"With their fantastic efforts they raised a record amount for Ilfracombe Rotary to use for both local and national charitable causes," said club president Robin Horne.

"In 2010, due to economic conditions and other circumstances there will I am sure be many more people less fortunate than ourselves who will need help.

"To this end I would ask all those brave people who have taken part in this great event in the past to register again for the night of February 27 and I would like to encourage others to make this challenging and rewarding night walk across Exmoor.

"The whole StarTrek team and I look forward to seeing you all there at the start and at the finish!"

The route is laid out around a base camp staffed by volunteers, who keep the contestants well supplied with food and refreshments, including hot drinks and breakfast.

A doctor and St John Ambulance plus search and rescue personnel are on hand throughout the event. The course is dotted with manned checkpoints and the whole is co-ordinated through the Raynet radio system and the main control room.

Entry is £5 per person, with walkers encouraged to raise as much sponsorship as they can. The event is limited to 100 teams, on a first come, first served basis. Teams will set out from base camp at set times between 6-10pm on the night.