Long Mynd Hike: Hundreds take on annual 50-mile challenge
One of the toughest walking challenges in Britain was taking place in Shropshire this weekend as hundreds took on the Long Mynd Hike.
More than 600 people signed up to attempt the gruelling challenge, walking or running 50 miles that included eight of Shropshire's major summits and about 8,000 feet of climbing.
WATCH: Hikers begin 50-mile challenge
The event has been running for half a century and competitors this year ranged from first-timers to seasoned veterans.
The driving rain and hill mist that welcomed hikers in Church Stretton on Saturday lunchtime cleared in time for the starting gun but competitors still had to contend with a wet, muddy route and one of the coldest days of autumn, with temperatures plummeting as night fell.
They had 24 hours to complete the course with 17 checkpoints along the route all manned by volunteers, many from the Scout movement.
Some of the youngest of the town's scouts stood for hours in the rain helping to park cars.
The fastest competitors were hoping to complete the 50 miles in under nine hours.
Shropshire vicar Reverend Matthew Le Froy, from St John's Church in Muxton, Telford, was hoping he would be back in under 18 hours.
"I have a baptism at church at 9.30am Sunday, so I need to have finished by about 7am," he said.
He was joined by his wife Jo Le Froy, Lesley Trotman, Simon Hartridge, Linda Hawthorn and Chris Cain - all members of St John's Church taking part in the hike.
Gary Hartshorn, 61 and from Oswestry, was tackling the hike in full army kit to raise money for the Care after Combat charity.
Last month he also completed the Escape to Freedom Pyrenees Trek for the charity.
His son, Mauro, 31, said he was very proud of his father, who was attempting to run and walk the hike despite tearing his calf muscle in training.
"We've been doing it for years, its a really friendly event," he said.
"The volunteers who marshall and man the stations are incredible giving up their time each year."
Also fundraising were colleagues from Muller Dairies at Market Drayton, Terry Monteith, John Proctor, Jon Whitfield and Ryan Davies.
They were raising money for the Guillain-Barre charity after Mr Monteith's mother-in-law contracted the disease.
Floss Roberts, 26 and from Hengoed near Oswestry, was walking in memory of her father Richard Roberts, who died aged 58 after falling ill while driving a tractor on the family farm.
Floss teamed up with friend Margaret Herbert to raise money for the Air Ambulance.
Will Butler and George Balshaw, 24, who run with Shrewsbury Shufflers, were hoping to run as much of the route as they could.
"We will take it easy on the hills and run in between," Will said.
Members of the Shrewsbury based SYTri athletic group, Alistair Mitchell, Matt Hodgson and Humphrey Dunn, were hoping to finish in under 12 hours.
"It's a good old fashioned challenge with some great scenery," Alistair said.
Sisters Naomi Maddalena, 29, and Natasha Jones, 31, from Shrewsbury said their aim was to finish and to enjoy the hike - the same view as mother and daughter Suzette Trees, 58, and Raynor Parker, 37, who travelled from Dudley to take part.
"We have friends to live here and we love the area,"Natasha said.