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Believe, Achieve and Inspire in 2017

In 2016 we saw our participants scale mountains, climb ancient walls, navigate rugged landscapes and pedal through dramatic desert landscapes, all for a good cause.

Those are just a few of the many challenges you can tackle this year, and to make the most of that January enthusiasm, we’re offering 10% off your registration fee until the end of the month!

Just enter code ‘ACHIEVE10’ when you register by January 31st 2017*. Believe in yourself, achieve something amazing, and be inspired. Speaking of inspiration, take a look at our new video to get some ideas for where this year could take you.

All that’s left is to decide: what will you achieve in 2017? Click here to see our range of challenges.

*Offer may not apply to all challenge departures

2016 highlights

This year Charity Challenge has helped thousands of people trek, hike, bike and kayak around the world, all raising money for some incredibly inspiring causes. From summiting mountains in Africa to crossing glacial rivers in Iceland and beyond, each expedition has been filled with emotion and celebration.

Check out the video below for some of this year’s best highlights!

2016-youtube-still

Oliver Proudlock swaps Chelsea for Peru…

Fashion designer and Made In Chelsea star, Oliver Proudlock, is currently in Peru and about to trek to Machu Picchu in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

Oliver Proudlock, and his girlfriend, model Emma Louise-Connolly, will trek at altitude for five days, following the ancient paths of the Incas, climbing beautiful mountains and experiencing the remote villages and breathtaking scenery before reaching the world-famous Machu Picchu.

Oliver Proudlock & Emma Louise Connolly

Oliver will be joining the fight for every heartbeat once again in honour of his family, who have been plagued by cardiovascular disease. His grandmother died from a ruptured aorta, his uncle has had heart bypass surgery, and his dad was diagnosed with a weak heart muscle in 2006.

Oliver said: “I am incredibly excited about the BHF’s Machu Picchu trek – I’ve never been to this part of the world and Machu Picchu is one of the most beautiful sights. And knowing that for every mile we walk, we’ll be helping fund the BHF’s life saving research, is an absolute privilege.

“The BHF is such an important cause to me as there is a long history of cardiovascular disease in my family. My dad and uncle are just two out of seven million people living with these conditions in the UK today, which is why the BHF’s research is so important. I would urge anyone to sign up to support the BHF by taking on this incredible trek or one of the BHF’s other overseas challenges.”

Oliver and the BHF trekking team in Peru

Krystyna Grant, Events Lead at the BHF, added: “We are delighted that Oliver and Emma have chosen to become Heart Trekkers and take on the trip of a lifetime in aid of the BHF. They will be helping us to make real strides in our research.”

Oliver and Emma are hoping to raise an incredible £4,000 for our life saving research. To donate, visit their JustGiving page.

Icelandic Lava Trek by Tweets

Last month, more than fifty ‘Fabulous Challengers’ headed to Iceland to take part in the Icelandic Lava Trek for CoppaFeel! Kate Lewers was one of the participants on this amazing challenge, and she has tweeted her journey.

The traditional group photo before the flight

That’s some sky, and the weather is looking good!

A first glimpse of the incredible Icelandic landscape, which is diverse throughout the trek

Maybe we should get all participants to wear these… it’d make you easier to spot!

A sparkly trekker is a happy trekker!

There are a few river crossings along the trek

We have to agree!

A sense of humour is definitely key on a charity challenge!

Looks a lot easier than a river crossing!

Nearly there!

Well done Kate! And everyone else who took part on the CoppaFeel! Icelandic Lava Trek 2016.

A well deserved dip we think!

Feeling inspired? You could tackle the Icelandic Lava Trek yourself! Click here to take a look at our website for more details.

Fabulous Icelandic Lava Trek for CoppaFeel!

Charity Challenge teamed up with Fabulous and CoppaFeel! for the Icelandic Lava Trek in August 2016. More than 50 brave participants took to the volcanic landscape of Iceland to trek nearly 60km through the ever changing scenery. With lush green hills, snow-capped peaks, steaming lava fields and ice-cold river crossings, it really was a diverse and challenging trek.

Fancy taking part yourself? Take a look at upcoming dates for our Icelandic Lava Trek, or perhaps our brand new Iceland Glacier Trek!

Your Story: Jon Williams on the Mind Hike 2016

Back in July we worked with Mind to organise the Mind Hike 2016 – Offa’s Dyke Challenge. Here is participant Jon William’s account of the 24 hour challenge on the English/Welsh border!

A month after the event, and the memories of Mind Hike 2016 are still with me and bringing a smile to my face. During the course of the hike I met some absolutely fantastic people and despite heading into the hike with some hesitancy, I can honestly say I had a great time. Most importantly of all though, we all did a great job of raising money and awareness for such a key cause. I signed up to the Mind Hike 2016 in the December of 2015, after coming across the advert via the Mind Facebook page. I had previously completed RideLondon for Mind and was looking for something a bit different. It was with rose-tinted memories of Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and the fun of trekking that I decided a 24-hour trek sounded like just the ticket and so had no hesitation in signing up.

Offa's Dyke Mind Hike

The hike came with the added bonus that is was an event exclusively for and organised by Mind. I have long supported Mind and try to get as involved as I can. For me this is a very personal cause as I myself am in a long battle with depression and its ally, anxiety. In the course of my first degree these two took me to some very dark places and the work and support of Mind and other similar organisations meant that no matter how bad it got, I was never alone in the darkness. This is why I think the work of Mind is so, so key to progress in mental health. Until we can say that truly no one has to face a mental health issue alone we need organisations like Mind in our corner reminding us that no matter how bad it gets, it can always get better.

So I committed to the hike in December and very quickly received all sorts of fundraising tips and materials from the fantastic team at Mind. I’m sure if you ask anyone from our hike they can all tell you about how amazing Emily and Alexa (our Mind Hike 2016 event team) were, with so many supportive emails and updates (and even care packages!) coming our way in the months before the hike. There was always a friendly face at the other end of any emails or calls in the build up to the event and I really can’t speak highly enough of those two.

Offa's Dyke Mind Hike

As the hike came grew near we were given two teams, to walk from opposite ends of an 80-mile stretch of Offa’s Dyke on the English-Welsh border to meet in the middle after 24-hours of walking, Team Lion and Team Dragon. I was part of team dragon who were to walk from the North downwards, taking in a slightly hillier route. We all began to introduce ourselves via a Facebook group set up by Emily and Alexa and already there was so much support and community between us all. Helpful tips were shared, and supportive messages were sent to trekkers when they found things a bit tougher going.

Before I knew it, the weekend of the hike was upon me. Suddenly the reality of it was upon me. I was going to have to walk 40-miles in 24-hours with a group of 20 people I had never met (there had been a training day organised by Emily and Alexa, but I unfortunately hadn’t been able to attend). On the train journey there I was admittedly nervous, but part way on the journey I met Emily and Alexa and Maria (another Mind team member) and they were so lovely and welcoming and we got chatting and before I knew it the journey was over; nerves were a distant memory.

We met on the Friday at the hotel we’d have for two nights (with only one of them being spent actually in the bed) and got a chance to meet all of our teams. I have to say my nerves were completely unjustified. Everyone was so lovely and even the hotel staff were getting into the atmosphere of camaraderie. Some of us even grabbed a beer or two as we watched the Wales-Belgium quarter final of the Euros. There was an air of excitement and we couldn’t wait to get started.

Unfortunately, that didn’t quite translate to as much enthusiasm with the 6am alarm clocks the next morning. Breakfast was lovely and once we got coffee and food into our systems people started to perk up. The two teams assembled for a quick photo before parting ways and heading to our starts points for our 8am set-offs. The journey over was a chance to do some more meeting of team members and the mood just got better and better.

Start of the hike

As for the hike itself, it wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be. It’s fair to say that with a 24-hour hike there are many parts that are exactly as you might expect. There’s the highs of the amazing views and summits conquered, and the lows of being caught in a torrential downpour and the realisation at about midnight that this is far from over. But the thing that really comes out of it all is the feeling of being a team. Through all of the swings of the hike, there was a real feeling of being in it together and there would always be someone that would help out when emotions were running high. I can honestly say that I met some lovely people and that’s what will stick with me for many years to come. It sounds like a cliché, but the conversations you have at 3am on a Welsh hillside really do bring people together. I think our team left knowing more about each other than many of our friends. Unfortunately owing to an early sudden downpour, our team ended up having to split into two smaller groups for safety. However, through some cunning route alteration by the mountain leaders we were able to merge up again on the walk into the finish and so we reached the line in the same manner as we completed the hike, as one.

Happy hikers

For me, the hike was a brilliant experience, my personal highlight being the amazing views we got when crossing a welsh valley by walking across an aqueduct! To anyone thinking about signing up for Mind Hike 2017 I would say absolutely go for it. It’s an amazing experience and you will get to meet some amazing people whilst making a real difference to a crucial cause. I wouldn’t worry too much about it sounding daunting. The Mind team are so supportive, and unlike a marathon this event is more about determination and teamwork than it is about competition and being fit. A bit of practice for longer walks should be enough and the way we approached the walk was about making sure as many people as possible could enjoy the walk as much as possible. This was really helped by the girls at Mind (who even did part of the hike with us, or in Emily’s case the whole thing) who did everything they could to support us, and the mountain leaders who were an endless source of stories, smiles and most importantly food (they even had a doctor on hand to deal with any blister emergencies). All in all, it was a fantastic experience and a great way to raise money for such a crucial cause.

Offa's Dyke Mind Hike Group

Inspired? You can sign up to the Mind Hike 2017, a 24 hour trekking challenge through he beautiful Lake District! See our website to find out more.

10 Reasons to Trek to Machu Picchu for the BHF!

British Heart Foundation is inviting you to join them on their adventurous challenge to Trek to Machu Picchu.

We’ve put together 10 nuggets of inspiration that might just persuade you to sign up, get your boots on and grab those trekking poles, and raise money in the fight against heart disease:

 

1. It will be one of the most memorable things you do this year… in fact perhaps in your lifetime!

2. Meeting new people who also have a close connection to the British Heart Foundation, some of which will stay friends for life.

3. Seeing Machu Picchu for the first time is a magical experience.

4. You’ll visit remote Peruvian villages you can only access by foot.

5. Waking up among the breathtaking beauty of the Andes is exceptional!

6. To have a goal to get fit and active, this challenge is no walk in the park.

7. You’ll learn the fascinating history of the Inca Empire.

8. You’ll push your boundaries and test your comfort zone – making the entire expedition an empowering experience.

9. Seeing the amusing llamas and colourful ponchos along the remote Lares trail.

10. And of course, to save lives by raising money for The British Heart Foundation’s life saving research.

British Heart Foundation Machu Picchu

To find out more about our amazing Trek to Machu Picchu, visit our website and you could be admiring these incredible Incan ruins too!

 

8 things I learned on the Iceland Lava Trek

Last month, our Charity & Corporate Account Manager, Erika Dallimore, took part in our Iceland Lava Trek. We caught up with her to find out what her main highlights were, and to discover what she learned from the trip. Erika says…

I recently took part in the Iceland Lava Trek with 43 other keen trekkers, and during my time on the challenge I learned a lot about the country and its landscape. Whilst trekking over 58km, I found out some interesting facts about the regions’ volcanoes (and discovered I had some surprisingly determined traits when necessary)!

1)    Take an eye-mask with you.
There’s no chance of seeing the Northern Lights on this trek. It’s only dark for approximately 1-2 hours at night during the summer months. You might also appreciate some earplugs if you have any noisy/snoring tent buddies!

2)    Iceland has over 200 volcanoes.
On the trek, you get to see several volcanoes, including Hekla that last erupted in 2000, and Eyjafjallajökull that erupted in 2010 (and caused lots of flight disruptions due to the ash clouds it created). Some say that pronouncing the names of Iceland’s volcanoes is possibly as challenging as the trek itself.

Volanco: Eyjafjallajökull - last erupted in 2010

Volcano: Eyjafjallajökull – last erupted in 2010


3)    You won’t see much wildlife on the Lava trek.

Contrary to popular belief, there are no polar bears in Iceland! There are some reindeer in the east of Iceland, but they were imported in the 19th century. The only animal that is indigenous to Iceland is the Arctic Fox.

4)    Iceland’s flag represents its three main elements
The red represents its active volcanic landscape, the white represents the glaciers and snow and the blue represents its vast ocean and coastline. You’ll spot Icelandic flags at most campsites (or why not take your own for some photo opportunities).

Team photo!

Team photo!

5)    Fermented shark is a local delicacy.
Yep. Left out to dry for over four to five months, it has a very ammonia-rich smell and distinctly fishy taste. What is possibly most surprising of all is not that fermented shark is a local delicacy, but more that Icelanders CHOOSE to eat it when they could eat lots of other, tastier cuisine…

6)    Iceland is a country of Fire and Ice.
It’s truly fascinating to see the contrasting forces of fire and ice coexisting side by side. One minute you’re trekking alongside a geothermal hot spring, and the next minute you’re walking over snow (and lots of it)! Over 10% of the country is covered with glaciers and almost a third of the island is volcanic lava fields. And for the Game of Thrones fans amongst you, you will understand why they choose to film much of the show in Iceland’s beautiful wilderness. The snow-capped horizons feel eternal at times, and the lava ash makes you feel like you’re walking in a different world.

Day 1: the geothermal steam is only metres away

Day 1: the geothermal steam is only metres away

7)    You’ll start to realise that you’ve got more determination and strength of mind than you thought possible.
Sometimes the trek will challenge you and test your limits. The weather could be ferocious (or as the Icelanders call it, ‘changeable’!), the steep inclines up rocky climbs could take their toll on your legs, the river crossings may challenge you and you might be completely outside of your comfort zone as you move from one campsite to the next. But you dig deep, you find the strength, and you do it! And the sense of triumph and achievement that you’ll feel at the end is truly indescribable.

8)    The Blue Lagoon is the perfect way to end the trip!
Soak your aching muscles, enjoy a natural clay face mask and celebrate with a drink from the swim-up bar… the Blue Lagoon is the perfect place to mark your huge accomplishment!

Celebrations at the Blue Lagoon

Celebrations at the Blue Lagoon

 

My time on the Iceland Lava Trek was truly unforgettable, and I’m so proud to have accomplished such a spectacular trek with such amazing people. I’ve made friends for life, and learned so much about Iceland, its stunning landscapes and fantastic people.

Take me back to the mountains!

Take me back to the mountains!

 

If you’d like to follow in Erika’s footsteps, you can sign up to the Iceland Lava Trek from £295. For more information about departure dates, itineraries and FAQs, visit our website.

Why I’m cycling 362 miles for Barnardo’s

Holyhead to Barnardo’s Village Bike Ride

Martin Duffy will be taking part in The Big Barnardo’s Holyhead to Barnardo’s Village Bike Ride this October and raising over £2,150. He tells us a bit more about why he chose this challenge.

You’ve pledged to take part in the Big Barnardo’s Bike Ride for their 150th anniversary. Tell us more!

Ok, well after a bit of stalling, I’ve picked a fundraising challenge – and now I know there is no backing out! I will be cycling 362 miles from Holyhead to Barkingside this autumn, following the route that Thomas Barnardo took when he arrived in the UK in 1866.

Why have you chosen to raise money for Barnardo’s?

As Head of Fulfilment Operations at Barnardo’s, I have seen first-hand the difference that our services can make to children across the UK. Barnardo’s has been transforming children’s lives for 150 years, and I’m determined to ensure that continues. Last year alone, Barnardo’s worked with 240,000 children, young people and families including offering counselling, fostering and adoption services, and disability support. I feel very privileged to be able to take part in this unique challenge event.

What are you most looking forward to about the challenge?

Seeing the finish line at this stage of my training! I think that it is also the opportunity to take part in an event with like-minded individuals.

If you would like to sponsor Martin you can do so on his Justgiving page.

Feeling inspired yourself? Join Martin on what will be an historic bike ride – find out more.

Burmese New Year

Today Burmese people all around the world start their celebration of their New Year – Thingyan Water Festival. The festival is celebrated over a number of days by people being splashed with water through powerful water pipes, buckets, water guns and anything that you can throw and splash water from. Everyone is a target – except the elderly and the monkeys!

So what’s water got to do with the New Year? Well for the Burmese, water symbolises washing away last year’s bad luck and sins, meaning that the New Year beings pure and clean. Prayers are also observed in the temples, with the temples being washed too, as well as visiting friends, family and the elderly.

It’s a time to forget the past and focus on the future (with the learning of last year’s events of course!). Many make New Year’s Resolutions to better themselves, a bit like us in January (I hope you’ve stuck to yours?!).

So to celebrate Thingyan, we are giving you 16% off the deposit on all Burma challenges (Trek and Bike Ride). Simply quote THINGYAN16 at the time of booking, but hurry as the offer ends on the 18th April 2016, just when the New Years celebrations end too.