A TEAM of trekkers tackled Dorset's three biggest hills in just 12 hours to raise money for a vital disability charity.

The group of 16 people took on the Dorset 3 Peaks challenge in aid of Diverse Abilities, a charity which supports children and adults with profound physical and learning disabilities.

Although not the most well-known of the UK's 'three peak' challenges, the route sees participants climb a gruelling 1,357m in total, more than the ascent of Ben Nevis.

Heading along the Wessex Ridgeway towards west Dorset, the team of walkers took on the peaks of Lewesden Hill near Broadwindsor, Pilsdon Pen and Bulbarrow Hill and covered almost 30 miles.

Vic Deans, who took on the challenge, said: "While there were many highlights, watching the sun rise on the first hill and set on the final hill will always stick out to me.

"The camaraderie between the walkers was great and although we all struggled at some point, we all supported each other along the way.

"I have lived in Dorset all my life was astounded by the beauty of the countryside we walked through. We probably went through most of the emotions during the day but there was always the underlying determination to complete the walk, which we all did. The lasting memories are not of the pain we went through but of the beauty of the walk and the friendships made."

Ashley Weedon, fundraising manager at Diverse Abilities, said: “My legs ached, my feet were sore and at times I had to push through mentally but I have absolutely no regrets.

"I never thought the route would be so varied – rolling hills with stunning views, shaded woodland, quaint villages and idyllic English farmland.

"We saw deer, cattle, sheep, squirrels and birds of prey along the way. Highlights include seeing the sun rise and set over the most beautiful Dorset countryside, and seeing the sun set as we summited Bulbarrow Hill.

"The best bit of all was starting the day as a bunch of strangers and ending feeling that group bond you only get from having done a challenge like this together. Very special."

The total amount raised is set to be announced in a few weeks' time.

Anyone who would like to take part in a similar challenge or find out about other upcoming events with Diverse Abilities can call 01202 718266 or email events@diverseabilities.org.uk