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Bangor Takes On The UK Challenge

Early in July, the UK Challenge ( took place in North Wales and was hosted by Bangor University. Billed as ‘The World’s best corporate team-building event’, 100 teams from across the UK and beyond took part, each with a team of six, including their own minibus and set of four bikes. The teams stayed in halls accommodation in the Ffriddoed Village and the event HQ was Canolfan Brailsford, with Team Captain’s Briefings taking place every day in the main hall.  Bangor University entered a team for the first time: Captain John Parkinson (Psychology), Sarah Nason (Law), Alan Owen (Brailsford), Ross Roberts (Sports Science), and PhD students Rhi Willmot (Psychology) and Will Hardy (Sports Science). 

The event is a little like The Crystal Maze on steroids and involved the teams facing seven stages over three days each of which involving a combined physical, strategic and intelligence element. For example the first stage, held in Caernarfon, required the teams to run and bike around the town to various map locations where they then had to solve puzzles in order to earn points (and collect dragons!). The second ‘night’ stage involved more running around Caernarfon, this time to solve ‘murders’ by collecting clues and solving puzzle-magazine style matrices to deduce culprits. Further stages took place in Llanberis, Dolgarrog, Bangor and Betws-y-coed. A three minute ‘highlights’ YouTube is here: Team Bangor is number 89 in red jumpsuits!

Over the course of three days the team each ran about 65km (40miles) and also canoed across Llyn Padarn and mountain biked near Betws-y-coed. Each day the stages ran on until about midnight and began again at 0600 hrs, and so the event was not only a test of speed and mental alertness during the stages, but also of endurance across the entire experience. 

Overall Team Bangor came 35th (not bad for first time) with a Stage best of 13th and stage worst of 58th! They came 8th in the King of Steps (running up the pipeline in Dolgarrog) and 15th in the King of Sprints (a series of sprints at the beginning of each stage). Highlights included the Bangor Team being the first to reach the summit of Snowdon on Stage 4: Game of Tribes, and also ending as the top scoring university team. And the amazing flapjacks from the University’s catering went a long way to ensuring the team made it to the end (if you think our Brownies are good, try the flapjacks...). 

John Parkinson said: “I am proud of the team. It is fair to say that the event was harder than we anticipated, but everyone rose to the challenge and threw themselves into it. And we had a lot of fun in the process!”

It’s important to celebrate our successes and we can take at least two significant positives from the event. Firstly, that the Bangor Team put in an excellent performance, not only in terms of the individual stages, but across the entire event they worked together in a supportive and positive way, always keen to help each other out and ensure it was a great experience for all.

And secondly, from the perspective of hosting the event, the University team did an exceptional job in delivering a top service. Given there were about 700 people to accommodate and cater for, as well as helping support some of the stages, and help with the logistics of 100 minibuses and 400 bikes.

Well done to all who were involved. Some fond memories shared and a great showing from Team Bangor!!

If you’re interested in arranging your own team building event, have a conference to organise or would simply like to know more about the University’s conference facilities, please contact Nia Morgan

Publication date: 16 August 2019