Tag Archive for Charity Trekking

Our Challenge Leader Penny Knight shares her experience with her Great Wall Trekkers April 2013

Before even meeting my great wall trekkers, I sensed a friendly, sociable and self motivated bunch as I approached the collection of people sprawled on the floor of Terminal 3 chatting excitedly.

As we trekked along the wall, climbing up steep ledges and clambering over broken stone steps, the real life stories started to emerge.  By the end of the trek, I realised that I had been incredibly privileged to spend such a memorable time with such an inspiring group.

Margaret, Kerri and Andy Chapman were a pleasure to spend time with, although I didn’t see much of them as they disappeared over the horizon! They had trained hard together prior to the challenge, were fit and driven, never failed to smile and effortlessly worked together as a family unit.

Edel McCaul and I walked together for much of the trek and my distraction tactics to encourage Edel up the numerous steps resulted in me discovering more and more about her astonishing story.  Edel was walking in memory of her beloved Grandfather who had died of cancer.  She had always felt a close bond with him and before he passed away she had vowed to do a challenge for him that took her out her comfort zone. After a selfless act whilst a teacher had resulted in an accident which left her in a wheelchair, Edel had worked on walking and then being able to get up a flight of steps. This challenge caused her severe pain in both knees but she remained determined throughout, conquering every step of her Great Wall Challenge.

Despite a heart condition, Marie (with her trusted colleague, Edel at her side) overcame many individual challenges, resulting often in tears which were instantly followed by laughter.  Marie had a naturally upbeat and jovial nature and nothing got her down for long.

Donna Freeman was another inspirational lady who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and had major surgery and after recovering from all of that, she was then told that it had failed and that she had only 6 months to live. Instead of giving up, she put her life and family in order, ensuring that they would be looked after in her absence and sorted all the practical aspects she could.  Out of the blue, Donna received the incredible news that there had been a mistake and that she was for now cured – she vowed to live life to the full.

Abbie Ross and James Dennis were the only couple on the trek and won everyone’s hearts in no time. They were just adorable together, always watching out for each other and showing a respect and mutual admiration to be envied in any relationship. At a colourful oriental temple perched on the side of the hill below Jinshanling, James got down on one knee and proposed to a tearful but ecstatic Abbie.

The school holidays seem to have bought an influx of teachers and nurses to this group and the pre- natal and maternity crowd from Bristol Hospital were excellent value on this trip.  Claire and Kirsty although challenged by the trek remained inseparable and their unique friendship gave them a strength as well as a much needed sense of humour in order to tackle the many hurdles. Kath, Paula, Hien and Sheena all completed the challenge even throwing in some energetic dance moves and high spirits at the top watchtower!

Emily, Michelle and Zahrah knew no-one else on the trek when they started but I feel certain that some lifelong friendships will have been made during the trip.  Emily was already well travelled and despite this being uncharacteristic of the rest of her family, she is driven by her motivation to raise money for Great Ormond Street Childrens Hospital and the bear came with us as support. The hospital has asked Emily to go up in person to have photo’s done when she donates the money.

Michelle never faltered. She was physically fit, determined and always positive bringing fun to every situation.  Her and Donna will remain strong friends after this trip, I suspect. I hope her dance students appreciate her dynamic personality.

Zahrah was such a strong character and we got to spend a great deal of time together.  Backed by her class with their notes and pictures to encourage her on, Zahrah refused to miss any part of the challenge even when she found it tough.  It seemed that the more I put her under pressure, the more she raised her game and we finished the trek below Badaling at a run.

Naomi, with her infectious laugh, was a naturally caring and giving member of the group who was often more than happy to chat at a slower pace with those at the back.  She has overcome her own health issues which no-one would ever have suspected.  Nothing Naomi did was ever about herself and she was invaluable to the team.  I understand that she and Joe will also be tying the knot before long and he is a lucky man.

I hope that this exceptional group will continue to inspire others as they have done me. It has been a pleasure and a privilege.

Penny

You can also find out more about our Great Wall Discovery by clicking here. If you have any questions on this challenge, please contact Jo, our Ops Manager on jo@charitychallenge.com. To see more information about the array of amazing challenges we have, please visit our website at www.charitychallenge.com. 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.

Christmas is over; its time to get back into shape!

Christmas is over, it’s January, I’m back at work after a long break, the weather’s cold and miserable and I feel like I’m about to explode! Every Xmas I get a bit carried away and stuff my face with pretty much anything edible, do no form of exercise and basically become a couch potato, and now I’m regretting it!

If you are like me and have indulged a bit too much this Xmas, then here are my top five tips to get you (and me) back into shape and feel much better:

1.    New Year’s Resolution – Make your New Year’s Resolution to get fit and lose weight. Most people at this point would join a gym and then find that at the end of January the frequent visits to the gym are no longer happening. Instead of joining the gym you might want to consider doing a charity challenge. Booking on a charity challenge means that you have something to focus on as you have an end goal . Climbing the highest mountain in Africa; Mt Kilimanjaro or trekking to the lost city of Machu Picchu, cycling from Vietnam to Cambodia for example. It also means that you get fit while you try to achieve this goal and you end up losing weight because you’re getting fit. So it’s a triple whammy! Actually, at the same time of achieving all of this, you’ll be raising money for charity, so really it’s a quadruple whammy! Click here to start your New Year’s Resolution and a challenge of a lifetime!

2.    Take up an active hobby or join a sports club – one of the best ways to lose weight  and get into shape without realising that you’re doing it, is to play a sport you love or do a physical activity. If you love playing football, then join your local football club or arrange a time and place on a regular basis with your friends and play some football! If dancing is more your style, then there are so many classes which you can join, there really isn’t an excuse. I personally enjoy running, so I think I’m going to make more of an effort to run.

3.    Don’t diet,  just eat healthy and in smaller proportions – I’ve personally tried this and can 100% say this works. Changing your diet, even  slightly, and eating smaller proportions will help you lose weight. Remember, you still need to exercise at the same time to get the best results!

4.    Positive thinking!  Well I’m not a psychologist ,  Indian Yogi or self help Guru but it’s amazing how easy it is to forget to be positive. Positivity is not only a way to describe an electric charge, it is a skill that you can teach yourself.  Try this little exercise that my colleague Chad recommends, repeat to yourself 3 times: ‘Negativity is a luxury I can’t afford and I’m challenging myself to make a positive difference today!’.  Once you’ve done that 3 times (don’t cheat), feel proud and  allow yourself a big hearty smile 🙂

5.    Have a massive clear out – Now this won’t help you get fit or  lose weight, but it will definitely make you feel better. Get rid of those items you have because you thought you might need them (and that was 5 years ago!), give those unwanted clothes to the charity shop and shred the household bills and junk mail that you no longer need. It’s time for a spring clean!

Well that’s it from me today. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog, it’s my first one and I hope to write many more. Please feel free to comment on this blog, I would love to read your thoughts!

Don’t forget to join our mailing list and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest news and blogs from us.

Firdous Mulla

Responsible Tourism in Ecuador

Charity Challenge would be nothing at all if it wasn’t for the natural culture and beauty of our expedition destinations. So Responsible Tourism has always been a huge priority and a topic very close to our heart. It’s for this reason that it is part of our responsible tourism policy to donate around US$500 (on average), on behalf of each of our expedition groups, to a charity organisation based locally to the challenge destination. Indeed it’s part of our Responsible Tourism policy to give as much back to the local community as we can, through employment, spending locally, engaging with locally owned businesses, and educating those that are travelling with us and leave as small a footstep as possible wherever we go.

In this series of blogs we are going to be highlighting some of the work that we do around the world so that past, present and future participants can see where their money is going to. Our Peru Project Manager Emma is particularly excited to be highlighting this part of our work.

“In the excitement of everyone fundraising for their specific charity, the good work that you are also contributing towards in the local communities where you are travelling is often forgotten. So to all of our past, present and future challengers – please take a moment to pat yourself on the back for your achievements abroad!”

This week we are focusing on Ecuador. In recent years we have taken to helping the local communities north of Quito in the municipality of Otavalo. Otavalo town itself is very popular with tourists as a day trip due to its huge local market. The market is one of the biggest and friendliest in the country and tourists get up early and drive from Quito to come and learn about traditional Ecuadorian products and handicrafts and how to haggle for them!   

However, a few hours further north of the town of Otavalo, where handicrafts are not made and tourists don’t tend to travel so much, living conditions are much tougher. Each year we try and help one of the small indigenous communities, often by contributing to building projects. This year has been the turn of the San Francisco community, 4hrs drive from Quito close to the town if Ibarra. They asked us (through our local ground agents) to help them to construct a new wall around the communities’ small local school so that the children could play safely in their breaks. We assisted them with this, and also helped build a small block of hygienic toilets the children could use, and to round it off, we helped to support the refurbishment of the kitchen which makes the children’s lunch. This is just one of many projects that we are proud to be involved with. Stay tuned to this blog series (by clicking the orange RSS button) if you want to learn more about how we give back to local communities. If you’d like to receive up-to-date news on our latest challenges, promotions and developments, please enter your name and email address into the adjacent box.

Hight Atlas Summit Trek Video

Excellent video created by Ben Foxall, a challenger on our 27/09/2011 High Atlas Summit Trek.

Some inspiration for the Charity Challenge Photo Competition -New pics fresh from Trek Transylvania!

[slickr-flickr tag=”Dracula123″]

The Charity Challenge Blog!

Here at Charity Challenge, we find ourselves always discovering good stories – of life changing journeys and remarkable feats of endurance, and handy tips on top fundraising techniques and kit you cannot make it out of the door without. And we enjoy nothing more than to talk about the latest news in the travel and charity sectors.

So the decision to launch our own official Charity Challenge blog came about very naturally. We are very pleased to announce that, after a lot of work, this post marks the first of what we hope will be many exciting blog posts. To celebrate the occasion, we are also launching our new photo competition – ‘capture your challenge’

A good photo can tell more than a million words, and we’re after the photographs that best sum up our charity challenges. We have some fantastic prizes on offer, the overall winner – who we feel has taken the very best photograph – will win a Berghaus Freeflow Pro 40 Rucsac worth £100 in addition to a voucher worth £250 that is redeemable for their next charity challenge expedition. 5 runners up will each receive a £20 high street voucher and 75% off a photobook. Also every month I will choose my personal favourite picture as “photo of the month” and the winner will receive a much coveted Charity Challenge Buff! So when you get home from your challenge, be sure to send us your best snaps.

To enter the competition, please email your chosen photographs to mai@charitychallenge.com. Please view the terms and conditions here.

Stay tuned to the Charity Challenge blog (subscibe by RSS by selecting the orange icon on the top right) to see which picture can cut the mustard to become photo of the month, and to read some informative and we hope entertaining blogs brought to you from myself, the Charity Challenge team, the diaries of our team leaders and from our expert partners at Cotswold Outdoors, The Altitude Centre’, Nomad travellers Stores, Berghaus and most importantly from our challengers themselves.

I’d love to hear all your thoughts on our new venture into the blogging sphere, so let me know in the comment box what blogs from us you be most interested to read.

If you want to keep up to date on our latest news and promotions, subscribe to our mailing list by entering your email address in the adjacent box.