Archive for Charity Challenge News

Our Operations Manager, Andy Baker, updates us on his recce in Nepal

It has been a difficult year for Nepal, not that you would really know this from the warm greeting that I have received from all of our different ground crews here. In the week that Prince Harry has also made a trip around some of Nepal’s cultural highlights I too have been fortunate enough to spend some time working in collaboration with our ground teams on a couple of new itineraries that Charity Challenge will be running this autumn. Our Poon Hill Himalayan Trek in the Annapurna region, and our Kathmandu Valley Cycle.

First though has been a quick re-connection with an old favourite. Everest Base Camp. Last week 13 intrepid challengers stepped off the plane in Kathmandu to begin their long ascent through the Himalayas towards the iconic Base Camp. This is the first trip that Charity Challenge have run in Nepal since the disasters of 2015 and the trails are still quiet, making it the perfect time to visit.

Our itinerary rather uniquely combines both the authentic ‘teahouse’ experience and the challenge of camping. Meals are served by our kitchen team within the dining room of a local teahouse, whilst nights are spent under canvas just off the trail. The warmth and comfort of a teahouse, combined with the incredible vistas provided by unzipping your tent in the morning to a panorama of snow capped peaks. This is a fairly unique way to run this itinerary, and judging by the group who are still currently making their way to Base Camp, a very enjoyable way to do this trek.

Nepal has faced a tough year and we are delighted to have been able to start sending groups again and give local people some much needed work. With the creation of a couple of new itineraries hopefully even more people will get to sample this fantastic country soon.

As for me, well I am back in Kathmandu putting the finishing touches to the rest of my itinerary. A few days cycling in the Kathmandu Valley, followed by a trek to Poon Hill for views stretching off across to Annapurna. Not even Prince Harry can top that!

Andy Baker
UK Operations Manager

20% off all open challenge deposits – Hop to it!

The Easter Bunny has been let loose and is giving away 20% off the deposit on all open challenges*! Yes that’s right, book on any of our ‘open challenges’ before 31st March 2016 and quote HOP16 at the time of booking to get your Easter surprise!

There are so many exciting challenges to choose from, but if you’re a little stuck, let us help you!

Amazon Jungle Survivor Challenge

Be up for the ultimate jungle experience in the world’s largest rainforest and be the first Charity Challenge group to conquer the forest extremes in 2017? You will be trekking through the depths of the Amazon jungle in search of wildlife, dolphin and caiman spotting from canoes, developing your fishing skills in order to catch your dinner and sleeping in hammocks encompassed by the night sounds of the wilderness. What more could you want?! Click here for more information.

Cycle Burma

Enjoy the remoteness of this challenge! Cycle approximately 330kms of Burma’s rural countryside, from the former royal capital Mandalay to Inle Lake. Pedalling through the itinerary, expect to soak up spectacular sunsets over the ancient city of Bagan and pass remote villages in untouched corners. Click here for more information.

Kilimanjaro Trek: October 2016 a sell out!

Due to overwhelming demand, we have launched a new open Kilimanjaro (Lemosho Route) Trek this year in October 2016.  A magnificent mountain, that takes pride and stands tall in Africa. On many bucket lists, Mt Kilimanjaro is a must and this could be your chance. Click here for more information.

Want something slightly close to home?

Want to do a challenge, but not so far away or not over so many days? Then fear not, as we have a fantastic range of UK challenges which are proving to be very popular.  How about a 2 day trek in the Lake District tackling five of England’s most demanding peaks or a 140 mile bike ride from the Cumbrian coast to the North Sea? Even better, how about a multi activity challenge? Trek, cycle and kayak in Snowdonia National Park over 2 days! Who said the UK doesn’t offer physically and mentally challenging adventures? Let’s embrace the Great British outdoors!

More challenges

We have over 30 different challenges with almost 200 departures, so if any of the above challenges are not quite your cup of tea, click here to find the right challenge for you!

Follow us on Instagram

Did you know that we are now on Instagram as well as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn? Follow us at charity.challenge to find out what we’re up to, the latest promotions and just to view some fabulous images of our challenges!

Charity Challenge is turning 16 and offering a 16% discount off the deposit! Somebody get a cake!

CC Birthday FB Banner

This month Charity Challenge turns 16 and to celebrate this wonderful coming of age, we are offering 16% off ALL CHALLENGE DEPOSITS* from 10/06/2015- 10/07/2016, all you have to do is type the promotional code: BIRTHDAY16 when making a booking!

If you’ve already done a challenge with us before, then take advantage of our repeat booking discount which has doubled to £100 (£50 for short haul challenges)! Don’t forget to quote VACU at the time of booking.

Our wonderful suppliers have joined us in celebrating by offering additional discounts to all of you that are currently booked on a challenge. Log into your members area and take advantage of this!

The real challenge is deciding where you you want to be in 2016….so to help you decide we’ve put together some of our Charity Challenge favourites…

ANGKOR WAT?

Charity Challenge,

Pedal off from the architectural phenomenon that is Angkor Wat, through the waterways and rice paddies of Cambodia, past the postcard perfect beaches of Thailand and into the barmy backstreets of Bangkok. This truly is the best way to discover South East Asia, can you take on the 450kms that will take you through the heart of South East Asia? Find out more…

 

Cycle or Trek Beautiful Burma

Burma charity Trek, Charity Cycle to Burma

Mystical Myanmar has managed to remain largely untouched in comparison to its neighbours, perfectly preserving its magic, beauty, culture and secrets. Previously known as The Land of Gems, the views in Myanmar are truly humbling, it is the people however that are its best kept secret – warm, inviting and gentle, we promise you won’t find anywhere else like it on earth. Trekking or cycling through Myanmar offers you the opportunity to explore the lazy villages, meet the lovable locals and soak up all the spectacular views. Whilst this might all sound like a holiday, the terrain and the humidity ensure that exploring Myanmar is an incredibly worthwhile but challenging task. Take a look!

Trek Machu Picchu

Charity Trek to Machu Picchu, Charity Challenge, trekking, PeruThe ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu sit amongst the clouds, set an altitude of 2,667m to see them is to witness something truly magical. To get there however is no walk in the park but an incredible trek through the rarely visited Lares Valley, a region untouched by time. The scenery here is breathtaking throughout and you will be greeted by llamas, alpaca’s and the Quechua people in their brightly coloured ponchos.  The route is hard and you will spend your nights camping, under the Peruvian sky, the sight of Machu Picchu as you re-join the Inca trail and complete the 3000 steps to walk through the Sun Gate will however make any aches disappear. Click here to find out how you can climb through the clouds….

Charity Challenge, Sapa Hill Tribe Trek, Vietnam Trek, Trek

Vietnam Trek – Sapa Hill Tribe

The hill tribes of Sapa combine the iridescent greens of the rice paddies with the vibrantly coloured dress of the remote hill tribes. Trekking here takes you away from the wonderful madness of the eclectic city of Hanoi as we head off the beaten track into this tranquil but rugged region where rolling hills meet the Red River. We will meet remote hill tribes as we trek further into the region, the varied terrain seeing you tackle Mount Silverstone before taking on the jungle terrain as we follow the footsteps of local farmers and camp in this remote and beautiful region. Explore more…

Lombok Charity Trek, Trekking in Indonesia, indonesia, Trek, Mountain

Brank New: Lombok Trek

Lombok Lava Trek! Set in the ‘Ring of fire’ this exhilarating trek offers towering peaks reflecting in ethereal lakes. Taking on Mount Rijani volcano, one of Indonesia’s tallest peaks standing at 3,726m is worth every metre you climb as you stand triumphant at the top overlooking breath-taking views from the natural colours of the forest to the surrounding turquoise bays. This challenge is not for the feint hearted and involves very long days and high altitude. If you think you could take on this sensational landscape then click here to find out how…

A massive thank you from all of us here at Charity Challenge!

Charity challenge, Trekking, Cycling, Adventure travel, charity challenges

Here’s to another 16 years!

*Terms and conditions apply

Vote now and help us raise an additional £50m for our charity partners!

Rich-Pics-1

Charity Challenge have been entered into the high profile ‘Pitch to Rich’ Awards, run by Virgin Media!

Winning will enable us to raise an additional £50m for our charity partners!!

If you would like to help us be in with a chance of winning, please click here to vote now, it will take no more than 10 seconds, but hurry, voting closes this coming Tue 05 May!

If you want some inspiration as to why we deserve your vote, please read on:

Charity Challenge has helped thousands of people step outside their comfort zones, get fit and push themselves to their limits on incredible challenges worldwide, while raising over £47,000,000 for charity! But we want to do more!

We have supported over 1,700 UK, Irish and Canadian registered charities, facilitated challenges for scores of corporates, as well as multiple high profRich-Pics-2ile celebrity events.

The funds raised have helped to provide protection for vulnerable children, shelter for the homeless and funding for cancer research.

Our work involves helping incredible people to find the courage to overcome their fears, achieve amazing personal goals and inspire their friends and family with theiraccomplishments, all while supporting causes they care about.

We have an enthusiastic and motivated team, an inspiring range of challenges and a great vision for the future.

Rich-Pics-3

We have been honoured and recognised by the British Citizens Awards for Business, the Institute of Fundraising Partners in Fundraising Awards (for two years running), the Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development, Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards, the Queen and numerous foreign governments.

We hope to be recognised by these awards for 16 years of hard work, inspiring others, and making a real and positive difference to the world!

Rich-Pics-4Many thanks for your support!

Best Regards,

Simon Albert

Director

Nepal Earthquake

To all of you who have been to Nepal and met our incredible team, we have now managed to speak with Kamal who has single-handedly led many of you to Everest Base Camp, and to Iswari who manages the ground operations team in-country. Both are safe after the earthquake, but the landlines have been down and we are yet to get any more detail. Clearly this is a devastating earthquake and our thoughts and prayers go to all concerned in Nepal. We will be donating the bulk this year’s Charity Challenge Community Support Fund to the disaster relief effort. If anyone would like to further support the UK’s efforts to help the people of Nepal, please visit one of the following websites:

UNICEF

Save the Children

ActionAid

As we have more details, we will keep you updated.

Many thanks.

Simon

‘Kung Hei Fat Choy!!!’ Happy New Year!!

China NY 1

Ni Hao!! It’s nearly February 19th which means only one thing, it’s Chinese New Year! In 2015 Chinese people all over the world will welcome in the year of the Sheep, however you don’t have to head all the way to China to join in the festivities! London’s Chinatown celebrations are the largest outside of Asia, so why not head down there and wish ‘Kung Hei Fat Choy’ (Happy New Year) to everyone!

 To celebrate we are offering a whopping £75.00 off any China challenge deposit when booked between no and the 15th March, simply quote SHEEP at the time of booking! So, if you’ve ever dreamed of walking, cycling, running or doing all 3 on and around the Great Wall of China, then what are you waiting for…?! Click here to see all the challenges and dates available.

China NY 2Officially the biggest celebration in the Chinese calendar, the New Year’s festivities (also referred to as the Spring Festival) are a spectacular 15 day affair, beginning this year on February 19th. Unlike our New Year’s Eve, the dates are based on the movement of the lunar calendar and vary annually between January and February depending on the New Moon. At midnight, firecrackers and fireworks will light the sky as China welcomes the New Year!

With 12 signs in the zodiac each representing a different animal, this year China welcomes the year of the Sheep. However, if you happen to be born in this year or any previous ‘Sheep year’ i.e. 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015 then you shouldn’t be celebrating. In China superstition deems that when it is your zodiac year, you should be wary, keeping a particular eye on your health, diet and be especially giving to avoid bad luck.

ChinaNy7

In China there are many well-entrenched superstitions originating from numerology, these state that the number 4 and 13 are unlucky with many buildings forgoing a 13th floor and many phone numbers avoiding 4 as a result.  Black and white represent funeral colours and are worth avoiding particularly during the festivities, with people favouring red as the dominant colour of good luck and good fortune.

To celebrate one of the world’s largest holidays we’ve conjured up some of the brilliant and bizarre things that make China one of the most quirky, diverse and beautiful countries in the world.

CNY4

Why YOU should go!

There are many reasons why China should be near the top of your bucket list, its stark contrasts offer futuristic cities, ancient monuments, stunning landscapes, a ruddy Great Wall, some curious snack options and the world’s cutest bears. It is also the world’s fastest growing economy overtaking the USA in January this year!

With a population totaling an astounding 1.39 BILLION, 1 in 5 people worldwide are Chinese, it’s therefore hardly surprising that China hosts some of the most extraordinary customs, inventions and landscapes worldwide, with vast ghost cities abandoned in favour of further expansion and 30 million people living in caves!

Below are some facts you might not have known about the country that invented paper, ketchup, football and allegedly ice-cream…..

  • The Great Wall  is truly one of man’s greatest architectural accomplishments and no visit to China would be complete without marveling at this phenomenal structure. Snaking 13,171 miles across the country, the majesty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site really does need to be seen to be believed!

CNY3

  • Despite its HUGE size, the whole of China is on just one time zone!
  • In answer to the vast pollution problems in big cities, ‘Fresh Air’ can be purchased in cans for just five yuan a can, available in a variety of flavours including ‘Pristine Tibet’ this is partly a campaign by creator Chen Guangbaio to raise awareness of China’s continually growing pollution problem, which in some areas is so bad that it can be seen from space.
  • Supermarkets are an eye opening experience with everything from frozen crocodiles to sharks available on the shelves. Bored of shark? Well why not try a whole turtle, pick up a couple of live frogs or go for the ‘mixed meat’ section where it really is a surprise every time. And we thought the horse meat scandal was… controversial.
  • If you thought the M25 was bad news at Friday rush hour, then China’s traffic jams would really wind you up with some of them lasting not hours, but WEEKS! I spy anyone…?
  • Bored of the average chocolate and crisp collections in the vending machines we know and love? Well in China they’ve thought a little outside the box, bringing live crabs to a vending machine near you and best of all they won’t break the bank at the reasonable price of just $2.

CNY5

  • Now we all know us Brits love a cuppa, but how do you feel about Panda Poo Tea? Officially the most expensive tea in the world 1 dried kilo can set you back nearly $80,000 USD! So why on earth would you part with that kind of cash for essentially brewed panda poo? Well because it is believed to aid with weight loss and fight/prevent cancer.

So, if you’re intrigued by the bizarre offerings of one of the world’s most historically and culturally interesting civilizations then take a look at the link below to our Great Wall Challenges: Great Wall

From all of us at Charity Challenge – Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Happy New Year!!!

CNY6

Many thanks to my lovely sources:

Our January Gadget Giveaway is back. 4 Gadget, 4 Weeks, 4 Winners!

January-Gadget-Give-Away

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

It’s cold, it’s dark and we’re only just getting over Christmas, but to shake those January blues we’ve got our Annual Gadget Giveaway!! 4 amazing gadgets, 4 weeks, 4 lucky winners! All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is book on a Charity Challenge in January 2015*!

Prizes up for grabs include:
•    SAMSUNG Galaxy TabPRO 10.1″ Tablet – 16 GB – SRP £449
•    CANON EOS 1200D DSLR Camera Digital SLR Camera  – SRP £299
•    Sony CX330 Full HD Camcorder – SRP £229.99
•    GoPro Hero 3+ Camera – SRP £279.99

The New Year is the perfect time to look for something new and exciting to do in 2015! With your resolutions still (just about) intact, there’s never a better time to set your mind to a new challenge, whether it’s getting fit, ticking something off your bucket list, going somewhere new or just challenging yourself to do something a little out of the ordinary. Booking a Charity Challenge is a great way to stay committed to your goal whilst doing something amazing for your favourite charity. Whether you fancy climbing Kilimanjaro, cycling through the High Atlas Mountains or rafting the Zambezi, the options really are endless.

How does it work?

From Monday 5th January 2015, anyone that books on a challenge until the end of the week (Sunday) will be put into a prize draw to win one of the above fantastic prizes. The winner will be announced on the following Monday on our Facebook and Twitterpages. The next prize draw will commence the following week and so on until the 31st (Saturday), and the last luck winner will be announced on the 2nd February. Just think you could be photographing orangutans in the Sumatran jungle, taking selfies with llamas at Machu Picchu, capturing the sunrise over a sea of clouds at the summit of Kilimanjaro or Skyping from the crumbling watchtowers of the Great Wall of China!

Good luck and remember you’ve got to be #InItToWinIt!

Charity Challenge

*Terms and conditions apply.

Diwali, the festival of lights

shutterstock_151123712

October 23rd 2014

Perhaps the best known Hindu festival, Diwali is an ancient and joyful celebration of the triumph of light over dark, knowledge over ignorance and good over evil. Diwali is a festival of peace and hope and in certain parts of India, signifies the New Year. The festival is also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains.

Legend has it, that Diwali began after the great battle between the Evil King of Sri Lanka -Ravana – the 10 headed, 10 armed demon and the good King Rama. Ravana, kidnapped Sita, the beautiful wife of King Rama, after 14 years in exile and a long and terrifying battle, Rama killed Ravana, rescuing his wife and returning to Ayodhya for his coronation. On the dark night of their return, the King and Queen could not find their way and so to help them, the people lit their path with candles and diyas, beginning the festival of lights.

Traditionally, Diwali falls on the New Moon between the Hindu months of Asvina and Kartika. On the darkest night of Autumn, usually around late October, the night sky comes alive with candles, lanterns and diyas – (small oil lamps), as people decorate their homes to welcome in Lakshmi the Goddess of Wealth. Whilst the origins of Diwali vary slightly depending on the region, across India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, it is a major celebration that sees people coming together to share gifts and food.

The festival is typically a 5 day affair and begins with:

Dhanteras, day 1: traditionally people clean, renovate and decorate their homes in preparation, with internal and external decorations. Today signifies the birthdays of Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth and Dhanvantari, Goddess of Health, diyas are kept burning all night in their honor.

Naraka Chaturdasi, day 2: beautiful Rangoli (typically lotus flowers) are drawn on the floors of homes, Henna is drawn on hands and homemade sweets are prepared for the main day of Diwali.

Diwali, day 3: this is the main day of the festival, people dress in new clothes and meet with relatives to exchange gifts and sweets. Lakshmi is rumoured to wander the earth on Diwali night, people often leave their windows and doors open and help light her way with diyas and perform pujas (prayer rituals) to gain her blessing for the coming year. As night falls, fireworks light the sky to chase away evil spirits, and people celebrate with food and festivities.

Padwa Balipratipada, day 4: today celebrates the return of the demon King Bali to earth, people celebrate the love and devotion between husbands and wives and gifts are often exchanged.

Bhai Duj, day 5: According to legend, the God of Death, Yamraj visited Yami, his sister on this day, she fed him special dishes and garlanded him. Today, women and girls perform pujas for the goodwill of their brothers to emphasize the love and lifelong bond between siblings.

India is a land of fabulous festivals, from the decorating of camels at the bizarre Bikaner Camel Festival to Holi, the world’s largest festival of colours. Why not head over there on one of our incredible Charity Challenges, cycle or run through Rajasthan, trek Little TibetSummit Stok Kangri or Hike the Himalaya…

blog 2

A new generation of inspiration

We receive lots of enquiries on a daily basis, but this one stood out. It was from Faye Vanstone, a 9 year old who wanted to do something for charity. We don’t ordinarily take under 16s, so the answer was unfortunately (initially at least) “no”.

But having three sons of my own, and knowing how much they go on about when they will be able to do a Charity Challenge, it started me thinking.
Here’s what happened…

SNOWDON CHALLENGE (written by Faye Vanstone, aged 9)

My family and some of my friends have been affected by cancer. So I felt I wanted to do something for a cancer charity to help them find more ways of curing the disease.

In Year 4 at school one of our topics was Mountains and rivers. I decided I wanted to climb a Mountain and thought it would be a good idea to use this as a challenge and a way of trying to raise money for Cancer Research.

GroupI got in-touch with several charity organisations by myself and eventually one responded. That was Charity Challenge. Simon, the director of Charity Challenge, kindly said he would look at the possibility of helping me to achieve what I wanted to do to raise money for Cancer Research. Simon was so inspired by my email he planned and booked the event to climb up Snowdon! He even joined us with his two oldest sons, Benji (aged 10) and Gadi (aged 8) and their friend Jake (aged 10), and they raised money for Wateraid.

Simon also organised a professional guide, Dan, who came with two other “young people” Chloe and Ethan. My mum, step dad and Dad came with me for support while walking, with my Granny and Grandad waiting at the bottom of the mountain to congratulate us all on our return.

The Challenge walking up was the steepest parts as there was so much fog and it was so hard to see anything in front of you! In parts you couldn’t see more than a few meters in front of you. We all had a trip or a fall and wondered how long it would take (and kept askingFaye, “how much further?”) but we persisted and were all so pleased when we got to the top and had a rest and realised what we had achieved. Then the challenge of getting back down again started!!

It was hard work but all of the training paid off and we accomplished our goal. I set out to raise £400 and so far have managed to raise over £660.

Any further donations for Cancer Research can be given through my just giving page. I have been so grateful for all the money raised so far for this exceptional charity. http://www.justgiving.com/Faye-Vanstone1

Thank you so much Charity Challenge!

Faye Vanstone

Benji, Gadi and Jake were raising money for Wateraid. Here’s what they said on their fundraising page:

748 million people – roughly one in ten of the world’s population – have no choice but to get water from wherever they can, whether it’s a dirty pond or an expensive water vendor.

2.5 billion people – one in three of the world’s population – don’t have access to adequate toilet facilities.

Over 500,000 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. That’s over 1,400 children a day.

We (Jake Lowy, Benji Albert and Gadi Albert) don’t think that’s right and we want to try and help change that. So we are going to climb Mount Snowdon in Wales and are trying to raise as much money as we can to help WaterAid, who help provide clean water solutions for rural communities around the world.  

Please help us to help them. Thank you.  https://www.justgiving.com/snowdonforwateraid

Simon Albert

If Faye, Benji, Gadi and Jake have inspired you to do a challenge and raise money for charity, then please click here.