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As the year draws to an end, Account Manager, Will reflects on THE ULTIMATE sports and outdoor industry challenge that was Hike Bike Paddle 2.0, in support of the Youth Adventure Trust.

As Ollie references in his latest blog, since 2018, we’ve supported the Youth Adventure Trust with pro bono marketing, fundraising and to conceptualise their infamous sports industry challenge, Hike Bike Paddle.

Now, conceptualising a challenge is one thing, but actually taking part is another… Looking back now, it was an exhilarating experience that, despite the few proverbial murmurs of regret expressed at certain dark moments (yep there were a few) throughout the day, was hugely rewarding and, of course, all in aid of a very worthwhile cause.

Ready for the challenge ahead. From left to right, Rich Phillip (Stance), Will Cowell (Brandwave), Ben Morgan (PWC), Jon Griffiths (Demand Generation), Elle Whitelegg (YETI), Tom Cowan (Flylogix), Matt Fabian (Brandwave), Josie Fabian (Brandwave), Dan Macaulay (Brandwave), Tom Reding (BrewDog), Rob Blades (Peters & May), Ollie Robinson (Brandwave), Marek Lazar (Hectic), Alena Zavazina (Brandwave), Mark Perry (Perry Property Advisors), Emile Kott (Brandwave)

The day began with a largely well received 4am wake up call, a grab and go breakfast and a swift departure from the YHA in Patterdale. Layered up, torches on heads and bags packed for the long day ahead, we began the first leg of three – the hike. Don’t get me wrong, as the sun rose with clear skies above and the only sounds being that of footsteps and terrible ‘dad jokes’, it couldn’t get much better.

Reality hit home when we neared the top of the climb. The clear skies turned to mist, excited conversation turned to unwavering concentration and the sounds we heard were reminiscent of a Friday night karaoke session as a nervous rendition of Tina Turner’s ‘The Best’ rumbled through the hills of the Lake District. I might be a Cowell, but who was I to judge our Founder & CEO? I was equally as petrified.

The final ascent to summit Helvellyn via Swirral Edge – smiles or grimaces?

Helvellyn summit reached – plain sailing from here on, right?

Four hours, just shy of 1,000m of elevation, 15km and a few snacks later, we were back at basecamp for the first transition. We swapped our caps for helmets, our shells for lycra and set off on part two of the challenge – the bike.

Despite a flat tyre, problems with the gears, a loose chain and having lost a saddle, we managed to leave basecamp relatively unscathed and were ready to circumvent Ullswater via a 36km on and off-road ride. Or so we thought anyway…

Anyone want to own up to letting Dan’s tyres down?!

Not for the light-hearted, I think it’s fair to say that even the most accomplished rider would have leapt off their bike for a breather on some of the uphill climbs. But as they say, ‘what goes up, must come down’ – and when they did, they didn’t disappoint.

Enjoying some ‘down time’ after a tough first climb

The team Brandwave peloton

Bike done and finish line in sight, it was time for the paddle. Based on the South Coast and on the water most days, this one was surely Brandwave’s to lose (despite the best efforts of the ‘supporting’ camera crew with their wake generation).

On the home straight!

It’s like they’d done this before…

It was a sprint to the finish line, with an overall time of ten hours and ten minutes, but what a feeling it was to cross the line of what was, without doubt, one of the hardest and most rewarding things I’ve ever done.

That post challenge feeling

On the day, 100 individuals from 25 sports and outdoor industry brands covered almost 5,000km on foot, bike and on SUPs, but much more importantly, raised £40,000 for the incredible Youth Adventure Trust.

For those who don’t know, the Youth Adventure Trust helps vulnerable young people aged 11-16 years old unlock their potential and lead positive lives in the future. Since 1992, they’ve helped over 3,900 vulnerable young people, providing 27,000 activity days along the way.


Thursday 15th September 2022

Registration for the 2022 event in the Yorkshire Dales will open soon, but places will be limited. To find out more and to express your interest for the ultimate team building event of 2022, visit or contact Louise Balaam on [email protected].

I’d encourage anyone thinking about signing up a team to do so – 100%. It’s worth every minute and every penny raised goes towards the cost of vulnerable young people receiving support through the Youth Adventure Programme.

That’s a wrap – big thanks to the Youth Adventure Trust for an epic few days and kudos to everyone who took part and completed the challenge!

Will Cowell