Archive for Trekking Tips and Tricks

Dave’s 11 Top Mountain Tips



Resident mountain expert Dave Sculthorpe has seen a peak or two in his time, having climbed to the heights of Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp and Oman. We asked him to come up with his top mountain tips to help you prepare for your next challenge.



Choose the right mountain, be realistic!
If you have never tried on a pair of walking boots, then Stok Kangri may not be the one for you. Here at Charity Challenge we’re all about being inspired, but we also want you to achieve that goal. It may be best to start with a UK challenge like our Snowdon Triple Challenge. Once you have the mountain bug then you can look at going farther and higher. Most of the best UK mountaineers cut their teeth in Scotland or Snowdonia and still keep coming back!

Choose your route and plan
Some of our challenges have different routes or seasons that you can ascend them in. Your first job is to do some research and see what will be best for you. Once signed up its time to start learning! Look at the history of the region, flora and fauna, myths, legends, language. This will heighten the experience when you get there. For me, reading about the mountaineering history of the Khumbu region made my trek to Everest Base Camp that bit more atmospheric.

This is universal for any challenge. If you do not have the physical ability then the challenge will be much harder than it really needs to be! This is not to say you need to be an Olympian and everyone will still struggle at certain points. All it means is that you will not need to suffer unnecessary discomfort and you will really be able to enjoy what is all around you! We provide full training plans and advice for how best to maximise this.


Let people know where you are going
More applicable to going out alone in the UK than one of our overseas challenges, but we have all seen 127 Hours…

Gear up
Along with training this is the one thing that can make or break a challenge. Most leaders will have seen waterproofs that aren’t water proof, soles falling off boots in the first 45 minutes, horrible blisters or just generally unusable junk. Firstly, do your homework, Don’t worry if you don’t know your boots from your Berghaus, there are plenty of reviews online, or go into a shop like Cotswold and ask the staff. Here are a few key things to look for in kit:

  1. Fit for purpose – do you need warmth, waterproof, sun protection, breathability?
  2. Good quality – Does it do what it needs to?
  3. Lightweight – You are going to carry it, so make sure you aren’t loaded more than the pack mule.
  4. Inexpensive – Kit can be expensive, but don’t always go for the most expensive kit. You can get good bargains when you know what to look for!
  5. Worn in – Try before you buy, then wear it whilst training so that you have worked out any problems. The last thing you want is for you to discover something catastrophic when you get to the mountain.

Dealing with altitude! Pace yourself
Altitude can affect anyone! It does not discriminate between how fit you are, how good your kit is or how old you are! No matter which mountain you are attempting you can bet the local guide will have a phrase that roughly translates to ‘slow down’. ‘Pole Pole’, which means ‘slowly slowly’ in Swahili, often becomes a mantra when climbing Kilimanjaro. And for good reason, the slower you go the better chance you have to let your body adjust or acclimatise. This will ultimately make the whole experience more pleasant and avoid the worst symptoms of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness).


Sounds simple, but staying well hydrated will solve so many problems it is a wonder to think it’s so underrated. Whether you are in the desert and mountains of Oman, the Cairngorms or the Andes, it is so important. Being hydrated makes our body’s performance better and ultimately the challenge easier, but it also helps prevent heat illness and aids acclimatisation to altitude.
Top Tip: If you really hate drinking water try and take concentrated squash or isotonic powders to make it more interesting, or mask the taste of your water purification tablets.

Prevention and protection
You only have yourself to blame…
Mountains can be harsh environments despite the amazing scenery. UV levels are much stronger at altitude due to the sun’s rays passing through less atmosphere. This can really surprise people so you should wear high factor sun cream and lip balm with SPF protection. Similarly the weather can be tough and very changeable, so the correct kit, hydration and attitude will help you prevent everything from hypothermia to heat exhaustion depending on the environment. Don’t be scared – all of this is easily avoidable!

Enjoy the journey
This sounds simple but is important. Often, if people aren’t used to walking on uneven terrain with walking poles and with a backpack on, they spend a lot of time hunched over looking at the floor. Remember to pick your head up and take in everything that is around you. Chat to the guides and your fellow trekkers, play games and take lots of photos and videos. Remember this is what you have been building up to for months so make the most of it.

Bring a treat
Sometimes it is incredible the morale boost a little home comfort can bring. Whether this is a sachet of cuppa soup or hot chocolate, your iPod or a comfy pair of shoes for around camp. It can make the difference in reminding why you signed up and why you are pushing yourself to the limits.


Be ready to adapt
This is true of all expeditions but especially mountain treks. Things will change, plans will go out the window and the heavens will open when you really wanted that bucket list photo. This is just what happens and if you can take this in your stride or even learn to enjoy this inevitability of expeditions, then your time will be all the better for it.


Now that you’ve got the tips, we bet you’re ready to bag yourself a peak! Head over and choose your challenge today.

choose your challenge

Top Tips for Looking after your Tootsies

Some helpful advice from our friends at Outdoor Hire


Make sure the boots you have fit well and are comfortable.

Celebrities Leave for Denise and Fearne's Charity Trek for Breast CancerTry them out on a slope with the socks you intend to wear (good quality trekking socks), you should make sure that your toe doesn’t touch the front of the boot on decent, your heel doesn’t rise from the footbed and you get good ankle support.

Once you’ve got your boots, get out there and wear them in well.


Use moisture wicking socks designed for the purpose, with built in cushioning and support.

You will need to keep your feet warm and dry, so take several pairs.



Get out on some training walks, this will wear in your boots but it is just as important to condition your feet.

It’s important that the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your feet are strong enough to support you properly for long stretches of time without becoming painful.

General Footcare

Clip you toenails and once you’ve clipped them smooth the nail down with a file to remove rough edges.

Use talc on your feet in the morning before you put your socks on and also in the evening when you’ve stopped walking, this helps to keep your feet dry and comfortable.

Damp feet increase the risk of blisters and even trench foot.

Resting your Feet

When you stop for a break and when you’ve finished walking for the day, take your socks & boots off and give your feet time to rest and breathe.

Wear a pair of flip-flops or sandals in camp, take time to chill out and elevate your feet for a while, which will help to reduce swelling.

Blister Prevention

In addition to making sure your boots and socks are right for you, prepare for the worst by making sure your personal first aid kit is stocked with blister plasters such as Compeed and carry a roll of Zinc tape.

Be aware of any discomfort and sort it out as soon as you feel it.  If you feel a blister coming on stop and treat it as soon as possible, otherwise walking on with blisters can be extremely painful and can even reach the stage where you feel as if you can walk no further.

When Walking

Try to focus on your foot placement especially over rocky ground to prevent twisting your foot and placing unnecessary stress on your ankle.

By Steve Wilson



What to look for when buying a sleeping bag

What does it all mean?

In Europe, the EN 13537 standard normalizes the temperatures at which a sleeping bag can be used. Tests provide four temperatures:

Upper limit is the highest temperature at which a ‘standard’ adult man is able to have a comfortable night’s sleep without excess sweating.  This rating is not normally used by sleeping bag manufacturers.

The three key rating to look at are:

Comfort rating is based on a ‘standard’ adult woman having a comfortable night’s sleep.

Lower limit is based on the lowest temperature at which a ‘standard’ adult man is deemed to be able to have a comfortable night’s sleep.

Extreme rating is a survival only rating for a ‘standard’ adult man. This is an extreme survival rating only and it is not advisable to rely on this rating for general use.

So when you’re selecting a sleeping bag for your trip look at the temperatures you are likely to experience and pick a sleeping bag with a COMFORT RATING which matches the lower temperature you will find.

Getting a good night’s sleep!

When in your sleeping bag you lose more heat through the ground than the air, so it’s important to insulate yourself by using a good sleeping mat, we recommend an inflatable mat with built in insulation such as the Thermarest NeoAir or Exped Synmat (see: ), which both have built in insulation. While in your bag it’s also a good idea to tighten the shoulder collar and hood drawstrings in order to trap your body warmth inside the bag.

If you feel the cold, it may be a good idea to add a fleece liner to your kit list which will add extra warmth to your sleeping bag.  Also getting up in the middle of the night for a pee is an easy way to get cold, so consider taking a pee bottle, to save getting up. For Outdoorhire’s selection of sleeping bags and liners which have been tested for their selected environment see:


Special thanks to for writing this blog for Charity Challenge.


5 reasons why doing a Charity Challenge is good for your health!

As the name implies, charity challenges are all about taking on huge personal challenges in the name of raising money for charity. But another great thing about charity challenges are that due to the immense physical nature of the challenge, you really have to dedicate some time to training and getting your body fit and healthy and up to the task, and there’s little else out there that gives you better motivation to get into shape than the thought that in a couple of month’s time you’ll be summiting Mt Kilimanjaro, scaling to Everest base camp, or trekking along the great wall of China!

And being fitter doesn’t just mean you’ll get out of breath less often, it also gives you a whole host of other life enhancing benefits!

1. Slows down the aging process

The more we use them, the stronger and healthier muscles and bones get and the more delayed the natural process of muscle and bone loss becomes. So a massive benefit of getting fit and healthy is that it helps stave off the effects of osteoporosis. But don’t just take our word for it; read an interview at New Scientist with a man who is still running marathons in his 80s! So you don’t need no Philosophers Stone or fountain of youth to stay young at heart – it’s all about maintaining a fit and active life-style!

2. Lowers blood pressure

When you run, stretch and exercise your arteries get flexed, in effect giving them as much of a workout as you are giving the rest of your body. So by keeping your arteries flexed and wide, you’ll be lowering your risk and developing high blood pressure.

3. Boosts your brain power

Regular exercise doesn’t just make you stronger, it makes you smarter too! Studies have shown that runners and those who spent a minimum of 25 minutes a day on aerobic exercise have significantly improved mental skills as they get older, and are less at risk from dementia than those who indulge in a more sedate lifestyle.

4. Improves your mood

It’s true, one of the best ways to handle a stressful day at work, or a hectic home-life is to pound it all away with run, or an exercise DVD or some aerobic sessions. When you exercise, endorphins are released and start coursing through your system, releasing a wave of positive vibes, which makes everything seem just that bit more manageable!

5. Helps you lose weight

This is rather an obvious one, but it’s such a massive benefit of getting fit that we had to include it in the list! Fast paced interval training is the best for fat burning, whilst jogging and regular exercise sessions are great at building your metabolism.

So there you have it, 5 extra reasons (as if you needed them!) to take on a Charity Challenge this year. If you want to know more about getting fit for your challenge, we do have a preparing for your challenge – fitness training page on our website which offers some great practical advice for your fitness training, so definitely check it out.

For more top tips, and to learn more about all our charity challenges, please visit our website at, and, to keep up to date on all our challenge news, subscribe to this blog by clicking on the orange RSS button, you can also enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list.

Ops Manager Jo’s Rajasthan Cycle Diary, Day 1

The Rajasthan Tiger Challenge December 2012 Cyclists have touched down safe and sound here in India! After a quick turnaround we hit the bustling streets of Delhi, swarmed with the preparations of wedding season. As we jump aboard a cycle rickshaw we are soon swept into the hustle and bustle of Old Delhi following trailers full of what at first looks like old English Dictionaries – the pages are so think! – but we soon realise that they are actually truckloads of wedding invites on their way to the invitees!

Since the jet lag from the sleepless night on the flight was kicking in, most of the group put themselves to bed early, but only to be serenaded by the sound of a brass band! Those of us who had the front rooms peeped our heads over the balcony, in time to see the magnificent bridegroom parade by on a white horse. Looks like wedding season runs day and night in Delhi!

After a couple of hours sleep, we are awakened by a VERY early morning wake up call at 3,30, turns out we’ve been woken up an almost an hour early! So we lie in until 4.15 before we head out and walk through the deserted streets of Delhi to the central station to Agra, where we arrive to the announcement of ‘we are sorry the train to Agra is delayed by ……6…..hours!!’ and not even a bat of an eye lid from those around us…Thank God we had prebooked tickets on the fast train,  which arrived for us exactly on time!

To hear more updates from Jo in India, stay tuned to this blog! Whilst she’s out in country, you can get in touch and follow Jo via her twitter feed at @jojowarren82

you can also find out more about the challenge she is embarking on – The Rajasthan Tiger Challenge! – by clicking here. To see more information about the array of amazing challenges we have, please visit our website at To keep up to date on all our challenge news, please subscribe to this blog. You can also enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list.mailing list.

Top trekking advice from trekkers past to trekkers future!

Once our Charity Challengers are safely back home and resting their feet, we send them our charity challenge survey, and one question we are always sure to ask is;

“If you could give any advice to future participants taking part in this challenge, what would it be?”

We ask this as it’s really important for us to know -particularly from a participants eyes view! –  What people could have done with knowing more about, or what they could have been better prepared for, so that our next group of trekkers can boldly head out onto their challenge being that much more confident and better prepared.

So check out the below to see some of the messages that our previous trekkers want to pass on to the next generation of charity challengers!

Good idea to set up a forum with the others going on your challenge…great to be able to encourage each other and get tips on training and fundraising!Hilary Banks, Sumatra Jungle Trekker

Definitely train and if you think you’ve forgotten something don’t panic someone else is sure to have remembered and you will have stuff others have forgotten so be prepared to share your kit as well as your experiences and most of all enjoy.” Sarah Hollies, Sahara Desert Trek challenger

“Look after your feet, make sure you’ve got good socks/liner socks, break in boots.  Boots need good soles to protect from the very rocky day.  Tuck your laces in so you don’t trip up (like I did!).  Take a very warm sleeping bag.  There aren’t many bugs – so don’t be put off.  There are some bushes – so don’t worry too much about no loo in the day!” Sahara Desert Trek challenger

“Make sure you take lots of photos, I wish I had stopped sometimes to take more.Hellen Vaughan-Williams, Cuban Revolution Cyclist

Enjoy!”. Kevin Moore, Cuban Revolution Cyclist

My advise would be to embrace every aspect of the challenge, the organisers and in my case the other challengers were the best people I could have ever met, dont let that pass you by.” Amy Harbone, Trek to Machu Picchu

“Just to go for it, push your boundaries and enjoy the challenge. Take the time to read all the info sent out by Charity Challenge and in particular the kit list. Do the training and it will be a breeze” Adrienne Booth, Great Wall Discovery Trekker

“Don’t underestimate the challenge, altitude and sustained camping are tough. You have to have a strong will, maybe be a bit stubborn to succeed! Take your training seriously but it’s as much a mental challenge as a physical one…Most of all, enjoy (and respect) the mountain, the whole experience even the difficult bits, and stay positive. It will be over too soon! Grace Breathe, Kilimanjaro Trekker

Do the training!!  I was gald of the different terrain that we had trained in and the numerouse climbs that we had undertaken – it made our trek very manageable. It is also key to train with the equipment that you are going to be using as you are then comfortable with it all and have sorted out any ‘niggles’.” Joy Mitchell, African Bush Trek

“Make sure you have all of the correct kit and are prepared for every season of weather! Poles are essential!!” Brooke Kinsella, Trek to Machu Picchu

For more top tips, and to learn more about all our charity challenges, please visit our website at, and, to keep up to date on all our challenge news, subscribe to this blog by clicking on the orange RSS button, you can also enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list!

Top 5 tips for getting fit for your challenge!

Some of the questions we get asked most frequently at the Charity Challenge office are “how fit do I need to be to take on this challenge?” and “do you have any advice to help me with my fitness training?” These can be difficult questions for us to answer, as different people have different levels of fitness and varying physical conditions.

We do have a preparing for your challenge – fitness training page on our website which offers some great practical advice for your fitness training, so definitely check it out.

But we do understand that the best kind of advice you can get is from people who have been there, done that and have literally got the charity challenge T-shirt. So check out below for the top 5 tried and tested tips from our charity challengers on how to get fit and ready your charity challenge!

Mix it up – Getting fit isn’t just about going to the gym, the more interesting you can make it for yourself, the more likely you are to stick with it! Join a sports team, take up a new hobby or start power-walking to work.  Recent Kilimanjaro conqueror Hanna mixed up her regime by doing a bit of running, swimming and cycling. Previous Charity Challenger Ken Menconi made his time at the gym interesting by keeping it varied – “Before the trek I worked out 6 days/week combining spinning with overall body work out, treadmill, stairclimber and yoga (for balance and centering myself).” The more varied you can make your training, the more parts of your body gets a workout and the more prepared you are to meet whatever your challenge throws at you!

Train with your kit – One if the best ways you can prepare yourself for your charity challenge is by getting used to and training with your kit. Recent Etna Challenger Neil Berridge strongly recommends spending some time in your walking boots “I was able to walk to and from work and broke them in really well…Result for me was that I had no blisters during the trek.” Fellow Etna challenger Becki Lake also can’t recommend training with your kit enough, – “Training with the actual rucksack you will be using is a must! And training with the weight you will be carrying as well!” You can do lots of walking and trekking preparation, but if you don’t get yourself used to carrying the weight of your rucksack on your back it can be a real shock to you when you begin your challenge.

Focus on the leg muscles – whether you’re cycling, trekking or sledging, you are going to be really working your leg muscles on your charity challenge, so strengthening them up is a must! Hill-walking is a great way of working your leg muscles, building up your endurance and getting used to navigating uneven terrains, as Kilimanjaro trekker Phillip Brown testifies of hill trekking, “what better way to train for climbing a mountain!”

This principle works for Cyclists as well, as Great Wall challenge cyclist Chris Hibbins says, “get lots of big steep hills practice. I say if you can cycle most the cycle routes in the lakes you will be fine”. If you don’t have the time to disappear into the hillside, there are still lots of other things a little closer to home you can do to work up your leg muscles. If you work/live a couple of floors up, forgo the lift and start taking the stairs, get off a tube/bus stop early and walk the rest of the way home. Exercise Bikes, Elliptical Cross trainers and treadmills are also great gym equipment for working the leg muscles.

Make your exercise regime work for you – As I hinted at above, not everybody has the time or inclination to put in hours and hours at the gym or take a couple of days off to walk/cycle around the countryside. If you’re one of these people, then exercise equipment hire might just be your charity challenge salvation!

We have teamed up with Hire Fitness who are the UK’s leading fitness equipment hire company.  You can hire all popular types of equipment from Hire Fitness for 4 weeks or more, which will be delivered and installed into your home or office. This way, you can get a 20 minute session on a cross trainer done before you head out to work without having to leave your home, or you can get an exercise bike installed in front of the TV and watch Charity Challenge Veteran Denise Van Outen on Strictly Come Dancing whilst pumping away. When training for her ‘Essex2India’ cycle challenge with us, having a Hire Fitness exercise bike installed in her living room was a massive part of Denise’s own training preparationss! You can visit the Hire Fitness website here, Hire Fitness offers 15% discount on all hire of 16 weeks or more for Charity challenge participants! Visit your members’ area for more details.

Sign up for a training weekend – For those who want to make sure they are on track with their training, we work with Expedition Wise to offer superb tailored training weekends for all charity treks from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. They offer both cycling and trek preparation training weekends. Sumatra Jungle Trek challenger Elizabeth Woodcroft went along to one of these weekends and found it really useful “I got to know which level I was at and what more I needed to do”.  Kilimanjaro challenger Lauren Lloyd likewise found her weekend training invaluable.

This weekend was worth every penny…The leaders are obviously made for this kind of job and their knowledge and passion for expedition life was shared endlessly. No question was seen to be too petty and every answer was given in depth. I would thoroughly recommend that anyone intending on going on expedition should attend an Expedition Wise training weekend”

To find out more about training weekends, you can visit our website page here or go to the expedition wise website directly here.

So there you have it! Take note of these 5 rules and should be well on your way to conquering your charity challenge and having the time of your life! For more top tips, and to learn more about all our charity challenges, please visit our website at, and, to keep up to date on all our challenge news, subscribe to this blog by clicking on the orange RSS button, you can also enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list.

Top 5 Trekking Heroes for your Charity Challenges! As voted for by You!

To pack the extra pair of trainers or not to pack?

It’s not always easy to know what you’re going to need and what is worth investing in on your charity challenge! So we’ve teamed up with some our previous trekking champs to put together the below top 5 list of trekking must haves that we will make your challenge experience that little bit more special!

1)      A good Rucksack.

The importance of buying and breaking-in a solid pair of trekking boots is no secret these days, but you should never overlook the impact that your day backpack has on your trekking experience as well, especially if you’re on one of our long haul, camping-based challenges. If your rucksack is too small or your belongings bulge out making it sit awkwardly on your back, if it’s not fitted properly (too loose or too tight), the straps can dig into your back and cause you severe discomfort. In short, a bad backpack can make a 9 hour trek feel a 100 times longer! And it’s hard to appreciate where you are and what you’re doing if all you can think of about is backpack pain!

The answer? Choose a good rucksack. It need not be expensive, Cotswold Outdoors have a great selection and if you’re signed up to one our challenges, you’re entitled to 15% off the whole Cotswold Outdoors range and 20% if your a repeat booker! Check your members’ area for more details.

Next, wear your rucksack in, and get use to carrying weight in it – maybe use it to carry your supermarket shopping home!

Make sure it’s fitted correctly; you can check out Cotswold Outdoors super helpful “how best to fit your rucksack” video here. When you’re on the challenge itself our team leaders and guides will be more than happy to advise you on this. The best rucksacks are the ones you forget you’re wearing, so follow the above advice, and the only thoughts on your mind will be “what an amazing view!”, “what a fantastic group of people !” and “when’s the next tea break?!”

2)      Toiletry essentials! – Tiger Balm/Vaseline, Anti-bacterial gel and Wet wipes.

From something big to something little, but just as important! Figuring out what items from your morning routine you can or absolutely can’t be separated from can be a massive brain ache.

But help is at hand! In the form of recommendations from our intrepid Charity Challengers on their can’t-live-without trekking toiletries!   

First up, Super-Trekker Rachel Walker recommends multi-functional Tiger Balm – “wouldn’t have survived Everest Base Camp, Kilimanjaro and Machu Picchu without it!” India trekker Sue Rutherford likewise found it a trekking hero! “Vaseline for feet and between toes every morning, no blisters on the Dalai Lama Trek”.

Second up, veteran trekker Ian Butler champions wet wipes for wiping sweat off brows and those “discreet in-sleeping bag washing moments” when showers and bathtubs are but distant dreams.

Likewise, and up at number 3, there aren’t toilets or sinks out there in the wilderness, so anti-bacterial handwash is a 100% must for any Charity Challenger.

3)      Comfy clothes

It’s all about comfort over style when it comes to trekking. When you’re camping in the Kilimanjaro night-time at minus 10 degrees, shivering in your silk pyjamas or novelty boxer shorts, it’s very little consolation that you look fabulous!

“I took my favourite jumper that has never been worn out of the house before and never will again,” says Veteran Charity Challenger Jo Berridge, “but it’s sooooo comfy and cosy that I knew I would want it for the cold nights. It was so nice to put on when the temperature dropped and kept me snug at night!”.

Jo also makes the good point that you don’t want spend the whole trek worrying about your attire, “i’d also say take stuff that doesn’t matter if it gets ripped, muddy or left behind. I left loads of kit behind and it made the trip from Heathrow to home so much easier”.

So what do our trekkers recommend? Well, it really depends on the type and duration of your trek. But staple items for any trek include a warm jumper or fleece for chilly nights, your trekking specific gear (trousers, boots,  etc), comfy T-shirts, vest top, light weight shoes to wear in the evenings, and something a little bit smart for your celebration meal. Trek to Machu Picchu trekker Hannah Bradshaw also puts in a special recommendation for leggings, – “sooo comfy to trek in AND you can get waterproof trousers over them easily!”. Peru Trekker Louise Gale, points out that “leggings can also be dressed up for gala night as well and don’t take up much room”.  Truly they are a multi-tasking must-have!

4)      Sweets! – energy boosting trekking snacks

One massive perk of trekking is that, since you are burning through hundreds of calories a day, you actually need to consume lots of sweets and trekking snacks to give you energy for the goodness of your health. Guilt-free sweets! How often in life does that happen?! The brave trekkers who took on our North Pole challenge earlier this year had to consume several bars of chocolates and packets of sweets as part of their actual diet whilst on the expedition!

Worthers Originals and energy bars are among our top recommendations. Tried and tested favourites from our Charity Challengers include the below;

Tracker bars, the best snack ever whilst trekking. I wouldn’t have survived my last 4 treks without them!” – Thailand Jungle Trekker, Lesley Lewis

Have to say the two bags of Haribo I took to Peru were life savers, yum, felt like a little kid again!”  – Trek to Machu Picchu, Sam Coleman

Ginger biscuits: they last forever, give you energy and are great if you feel sick.” –  Trek to the Home of the Dalai Lama Challenger, Jennifer Clemo

Jelly babies are a good energy boost.” Peru Trekker, Rob Lewis

5)      A little luxury

There’s nothing like having a little something to look forward to at the end of a long hard trek. Jo Berridge recommends “hot chocolate, foot cream…and a spiky massage ball that was a lifesaver in Peru – it ended up going home with someone else and I’ve bought a new one – was great for achy calves from walking and shoulders from carrying the backpack.”

She also recommends Barocca/dioralyte/anything that makes water taste good – “You end up drinking so much and it gets so boring! It’s amazing what a difference having a drink that tastes slightly different can make”. Water flavouring turned out to be a surprisingly popular luxury add-on for lots of our Charity Challengers, with Louise Gale adding that “Zero electrolyte tablets…makes the water taste nicer and also puts the electrolytes in your body before you walk rather than having to put them back in after your walk”. Our trekking friends from Safe At Last recommend “a book and a pillow for some me time”.  There is nothing like a charity challenge to make you appreciate the small comforts in life!

So there you have it! Take note of these 5 rules and there should be nothing to get in the way of you having the time of your life! For more top tips, and to learn more about all our charity challenges, please visit our website at, and, to keep up to date on all our challenge news, subscribe to this blog by clicking on the orange RSS button, you can also enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list.

Top Fundraising Tips – from Charity Challengers past, present and future!

For a surprisingly large number of our challengers, it is not the thought of cycling for days on end, or trekking for over 8 hours a day or even summiting a volcano that makes them quake in their boots. Instead, it’s the rather terrifying notion of fundraising enough money to meet their sponsorship target!

To provide a helping hand, we have a page on our website dedicated to fundraising, and also an ‘A-Z of Fundraising Ideas’ document. But we understand that the very best fundraising tips are ones that come first hand, and tried and tested by someone walking the same footsteps as you. So, with help from some of our Charity Challenger Facebook friends, we’ve put together a list of 10 top ways to fundraise big money for your charity.

1)      Get in touch with your Charity

It is as much in their interest as yours that you do well with your fundraising, so your charity will be more than happy to give you advice and ideas about how to go about your fundraising, and provide you with any necessary or official documentation you may need to get started.

2)      Set up a fundraising page online:

The first real step of your fundraising campaign is to set up a means whereby money can donated to your charity in reference to your cause. For many the simplest way to do this is to set up an online fundraising page at sites such as JustgivingEveryclick and Virgin Money Giving. Using this page, your friends, family and well wishers can donate to your cause with minimum hassle.

3)      Get the word out

Now that your fundraising page is set up, make sure people know about it. Email your page’s link around to everyone you know, put up a link as your Facebook status, tweet about, etc. Don’t be shy with this, taking on a challenge of a lifetime and raising money and awareness for a deserving charity is about the most interesting thing you could be doing and people will want to hear about it, and more than likely will want to donate as well! Don’t stop at friends and family, get in touch with your local paper and publications as well, your challenge will make an excellent story for them and get your cause some great publicity.

4)       Get Family and friends involved

According to our recent Dog Sledding challenger Siân Gillham the key is ‎”Delegate, delegate, delegate! Get your friends and family to help you, its hard work on your own.” And she’s quite right, raising sponsorship money can be a daunting prospect, so get your friends and family involved in braining storming fundraising ideas and helping you out with the groundwork. After all, charity and fundraising is all about putting time and money aside to help people out. Escambray Encounter Challenger Susan Carroll was even able to combine fundraising with socialising – “When I was fundraising for a challenge, I held a dinner party called wine, dine and donate, everybody who came brought a dish and donated a tenner”.

5)      Approach Local businesses

This is an aspect of fundraising that unnerves quite a lot of people, but it really is worth conquering those nerves and remembering that the worse they can do is say no! Charity challenger Kate Jones recommends visiting the all your local shops, “my sisters and I go around our local shops asking if they’d like to donate anything for our fundraising night for st davids hospice. We usually get quite bit!” As it will help give them a good reputation and a bit of publicity, businesses will likely be willing to do something to help you with your fundraising campaign, such as give you items to use to raffle prizes, or let you rent out a space for an event free of charge etc. Getting in touch with local organisation worked really well for upcoming Trek to The Home of the Dalai Lama Challenger Shauna Mullan – “I sent out letters requesting bag packs to all the usual stores & got a lot of support from smaller branches of M&S/tesco.”

6)      Sell stuff

Sometimes you don’t need to look further than your own attic to find a way to raise your minimum sponsorship. So why not do a bit of spring cleaning and put aside some items that you wouldn’t mind parting with. It’s surprising just how much money you can bring in by selling your stuff on ebay or by spending a couple of early mornings at your local Car boot sale.

7)      Organise an event

A great way to fundraise a substantial amount of money is to set up a special event, and the sky’s the limit with what you can do! Challenger Shauna Mullan arranged a Teddy Bears picnic and got her daughters school involved.  Veteran Charity Challenger Jo Buckett organised Race nights (an evening watching video of horse racing, plus betting), pub quizzes are a classic and ‘Zumbathons’ are apparently all the range right now, challenger Marion Baker Was Dance even had the creative idea of setting up and selling tickets for a paranormal ghost hunt! Organising events such as these can be hard work, but they are great fun and can help you raise lots of money and awareness for your charity!

8)      Every little helps

For those of you who just don’t have the time to arrange big events, there are lots of lower key everyday things you do. For challenge veteran Jo Berridge cake baking worked a treat; “I made cakes and took them to work and then conveniently left a sponsorship form next to them. I didn’t ask for donations/sponsorship in exchange for cake but everyone just assumed that was the deal and I raised almost £200! No effort involved other than baking the cakes”. You won’t always raise big money, but it all helps and takes you that one step closer to your fundraising target.

9)      Think big

Don’t be afraid to be think big with regards to your fundraising, Etna Volcanic Adventure  Challenger Rob Sharp wrote to big corporations and a couple of celebrities in his quest for sponsorship, which paid off with a very exciting and mysterious £500 anonymous donation. Don’t be shy of thinking outside the box either. Great Wall Discovery challenger Emma Stanford  had an inspired idea. “We put together a special Cook book! We collected recipes from family, friends,Gary Rhodes and phil vickery. Had our local craft centre for adults with disabilities do the art work. Found a local printer who printed 300 books for free. Sold them all for £3.95 each. Even got some signed by phil and Gary!”

10)  Embrace it

Fundraising as much as you can for your charity is as much part of the charity challenge experience as the challenge itself. So embrace and enjoy it! You may have to take yourself out of your comfort zone and do things you never thought you would or could do, but going above and beyond and achieving something that will not only change your life, but also the doubtless hundreds of lives that your charity effects, is what charity challenge is all about! So work hard for your fundraising and be proud of what you raise.

We hope you found this article useful! To learn more about all our charity challenges,  Please visit our website at  and to keep up to date on all our challenge news, subscribe to this blog by clicking on the orange RSS button, you can also enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list.