Tag Archive for Trekking

Trekking the old Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with Charity Challenge

Photographer and blogger extraordinaire, Philipp Ammon, recently completed the Trek to Machu Picchu challenge. He joined the first Charity Challenge expedition to trek the Ancascocha Trail. Read on to find out about this off-the-beaten-track hike through the incredible Andes mountains, on parts of the original Inca trail.   

Imagination is a funny thing – It can take us to the highest heights and wildest places; but if we really put our minds to it, we are also exceptionally creative at forming reasons why we can’t or shouldn’t live our dreams. The excuses become boundless.

Trekking Ancascocha trail to Machu Picchu Peru for Charity Challenge

You certainly don’t have to twist my arm to get me on an adventure trek. Add a far-away destination into the mix and I’ll practically be rearing to go. I love the feel of the trail under my feet; the humbling size of mountains all around; the wonder of zipping open my tent door to crisp morning air and another day of adventure. We all have our demons, however, and for me one of those is planning trips… Let’s just say that logistics aren’t my strong hand, and often, the daunting prospect of organisation can put my dreams on hold indefinitely. Coordinating an adventure trek on another continent, away from it all takes a lot of time and energy. Along with trying to run a photography business, those are ingredients that seem to be all too scarce these days.

When Charity Challenge approached me with an offer to partner up on one of their adventure treks to Peru as a photographer, I was immediately on board. Catching the last evening rays illuminating the old ruins of Machu Picchu has long been on my bucket list, and I was being offered the opportunity to make that dream a reality. The best part: every last bit of the trek was already organised. All I had to do was show up (and carry lots of heavy camera equipment across some pretty demanding terrain – no big deal…).

The Ancascocha Trail

Trekking Ancascocha trail to Machu Picchu Peru for Charity Challenge

I’m not one for mass-tourism. Show me where the crowds are, and I will walk well out of my way to avoid them. I get enough of that living in London… I’d heard that the Inca trail to Machu Picchu could be quite crowded in April and May with many eager tourists making the trip to experience the beauty of the Andes. I can’t blame them really, but that doesn’t exactly go along with the peaceful mountain experience in a small group I had in mind. Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong!

In response to the sharp increase in tourism on the Inca trail, Charity Challenge recently changed their Machu Picchu trek itinerary to take you down a road-less-traveled. So much so, in fact, that the only other people we saw throughout our trip were local farmers, and even they were far and few between. Sheep on the other hand? Well, they were countless.

Trekking on the Ancascocha Trail

Trek leader George on Ancascocha trail to Machu Picchu Peru for Charity Challenge

There is something special about knowing the road you are hiking on was once used by Incan messengers some six-hundred years ago. Not much indicates their rich history, sunken in the river of time, but ever so often, you will spot the old cut stones that marked their way. Our guides, George and Wilson were incredibly knowledgable about the geography and history of the region. I might also add that I admire their patience: I must have asked a hundred questions a day about what we were seeing and experiencing.

Not a single day offers the same views. Lush and colourful flora sweep the lower-laying terrain, with fresh streams and rushing rivers running alongside your route throughout. For those of you into learning more about local herbs, the guides are very knowledgeable and will even help you use some of the plants to remedy the less pleasant effects of high altitude. From higher up, we spotted the jagged and snow capped mountains, believed by the Incas to be Earth’s connection with the Gods.

Trekking Ancascocha trail to Machu Picchu Peru for Charity Challenge

The hiking itself will be extremely challenging at times. The highest point along the trail reaches the Pampaqasa mountain pass at an oxygen-depriving 4550m. Fret not – we had people from all different ability levels in our group, and we paced ourselves accordingly. Nobody was ever left behind, and to my own relief, I was able to keep up, even with a backpack full of lenses and a tripod… We were constantly rewarded for our efforts by what we saw. As we ascended, it was as if the top of the mountain pass dropped like a curtain, revealing an incredibly beautiful view into the lush green valley below.

Medical Staff

I’d arrived in Peru a few days after the rest of the Charity Challenge group, which meant I didn’t have enough time to acclimatise in Cusco. After reaching the pass, I began to feel a sharp headache and nausea that would linger for the rest of the day. Thankfully, we had Dr. Carlos with us, who was appointed to join us for the duration of the trek. He kept a close eye on me, and made sure I was looked after throughout our well-earned descent back into the valley. I was really grateful for his professionalism. It helps to know somebody’s got your back when things aren’t going well. After a few minutes on oxygen and a good night’s sleep, I was back up and running by the next morning. All part of the adventure…right?

Camping in the Andes

Camping in Andes on Trek to Machu Picchu with Charity Challenge

Once the sun sets in the Andes, you really begin to realise how far away from it all you are. The dark night sky is perforated with the undiluted light of a million stars, opening up to views of southern constellations. Every evening, after everybody else had gone to bed, I would wrap up in my warmest clothes, and watch the Milkyway slowly drift over our tents, the jagged black silhouettes of mountain ridges lining the foreground.

I’ve never found it particularly comfortable sleeping in a tent, but after a long and strenuous day of hiking, any bed feels like a godsend. It’s a really nice touch that by the time you arrive at your campsite every evening, the porters have already pitched your tent. All you have to do is roll out your sleeping bag and crawl in. When your legs are tired and your belly rumbling, it’s a delightful sight to spot them neatly lined up beyond the next ridge, like a welcoming finish line for the day’s challenge.

Camping Andes on Trek to Machu Picchu with Charity Challenge

Not only is your “bed” ready to go, but the team will have set up a dining tent equipped with hot drinks and a snack to tide you over until supper time. The enticing smells of a hot meal fill the campsite and there usually will be a little time to enjoy whats left of daylight, reflect on a hard day, catch up with everybody or to take a quick nap. Three hot meals a day keep you going on even the most difficult of days, and I couldn’t believe the quality of delicious meals we were receiving. One might even say it upgraded this trek from a mere camping trip to a superior glamping trip.

Machu Picchu

Trek to Machu Picchu with Charity Challenge

After several days of hiking, hopping on an old, glass roofed train from Ollantaytambo towards Aguas Calientes feels like a downright luxury. The tracks run through yet another stunning valley and offer a couple hours of jaw-dropping views alongside a hot meal. But it’s definitely not time to get too comfortable yet. The train makes what seems to be a random stop at kilometre 106, dropping you off in the middle of the Peruvian jungle.

Inca Trail on Trek to Machu Picchu with Charity Challenge

The climb towards the sun gate is long and hot, but the reward is well worth the effort. Every time we looked back on our progress through a clearing in the underbrush, we seemed to have climbed impossibly higher. The river we started at was but a thin silver vein in the jungle below. Our guide, George knew exactly how to time our arrival, because we reached the sun gate just as the last of the low, warm rays divinely shone down upon the ruins of Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu

Beautiful stone walls shape the side of the mountain, and all around, the iconic Peruvian llamas snack on vibrantly green grass. The sheer beauty of this place feels like a solid reward for the several days of intense work you will have behind you. You will return the following morning for a fascinating history lesson on the lost city, but not before a well deserved dinner, a cold beer and (hopefully) a good nights sleep in a real bed.

A Journey Well Worth It

Camp fire on Trek to Machu Picchu with Charity Challenge

I particularly enjoyed celebrating our effort with my new found friends from the Charity Challenge group. You find a sense of camaraderie with the people you overcome a big hurdle with, and celebrating your achievement is an experience best shared with others who lived through it with you. I can look back with pride on an extremely memorable adventure trekking to Machu Picchu. To know I was able to raise funds for a charity I truly believe in as I struck another major item from my bucket list made it all the more worthwhile. Who’s to say you can’t do good for others while doing good for yourself?

Book your place on Trek to Machu Picchu today. 


Philipp is a London-based travel, documentary and commercial photographer. His career started as an international school teacher working in Canada, England and Japan before he moved back to the UK to make his passion for photography official with a masters in photojournalism. He loves writing about his adventures and  is always looking for new experiences he can use to help other people learn to live theirs. You can follow Philipp’s adventures via his blog or Instagram

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.

Train
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.

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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).

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Hydrate
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.

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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

5 Great British Challenges To Tackle In 2017

Snowdon Triple Challenge
This multi-activity challenge sees you take to the dramatic scenery of Snowdonia National Park by bike, kayak and on foot. This mix of physical challenges is made more diverse by the changing landscape of this Welsh region, including a summit of Wales’ highest mountain, Mount Snowdon.

Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge
This famous cycling route see you pedal from one side of England to the other, tipping your tyres in both the Irish and North Seas. Over the course of 2 days and 140 miles you will see the rolling green hills of the Lake District, quintessential British villages, and ancient remains of Hadrian’s Wall before crossing the finish line at Whitley Bay.

Lake District 5 Peaks Challenge
Five peaks in one day is no easy feat, luckily this challenge is set in the heart of the stunning Lake District, with each peak offering you a stunning view of the surrounding landscape. Climbing over 3,000ft, which includes England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, this challenge is one to really be proud of.

Lake District 5 Peaks

Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge
Three peaks in 12 hours might sound easier than five, but this is no walk in the park. Ascending a total of 1,532m, which is higher than the UK’s tallest mountain, the Yorkshire Dales will push you to your limits. Get ready for plenty of ups and downs across some rugged, varied terrain.

National Three Peaks Challenge
The toughest challenge on our list, the legendary National Three Peaks pits you against Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in just 24 hours. Starting in the early hours, you will be among the first trekkers of the day to tackle Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles, before hitting the road and heading to your next summit, Scafell Pike in the Lake District. After a good night’s sleep it’s time to finish this hat-trick of heady heights with Mount Snowdon. With spectacular views, it’s surely an emotional and thoroughly fulfilling finish.

National 3 Peaks

Think you’re up for the challenge? Visit our website and choose your challenge today.

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.

The Legend of Lombok

Operations Manager Phili Newell headed to Indonesia earlier this month to tackle Mount Rinjani, on our Lombok Lava Trek. Here is her account of the 10-day adventure.

As I touch down in Lombok Praya International airport; I am unsure what to expect of this challenge but as I breeze through immigration and see the smiling face of our local leader Brice, all feelings of apprehension are alleviated; and even more so as within the hour I find myself beachside for a delicious local fish dish in the small town of Sengiggi.

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I am pioneering and on recce trip of one of our newest challenges, the summit of Mount Rinjani.  We journey along the coastline and at some point I wake up from my jet lagged slumber to find we’ve turned inland and towards the mountain. Finally we reach our destination and I see for the first time the top of the “hill” peeking out through the clouds. Dusk falls, clouds part and the sun sets bathing the formidable Mount Rinjani in a mystical light and I realise that my initial assessment of this “hill climb” could be wrong. Rinjani stands at an impressive height of 3,726m the tallest volcano on Lombok and as I will find out one of the toughest to summit.

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Next on the agenda is to meet with our local Sasak guides and porters, the team that will be our support for the whole trek. They are friendly from the offset, their knowledge, passion and physical abilities on and about the mountain are second to none; and the chef makes a bloody good chicken curry. After briefs from Brice and the local guide to the rest of the support team and learning about the legend of Princess Anjani (Putri Anjani), after which the mountain is named; I am glad to roll into my bed.

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A day of exploration and planning lies ahead. Brice and I meet with Sar and he shows us the sights of Sembulan, a traditional village surrounded with fertile agricultural lands that sit in the foot hills of the now green lava fields. We visit the volcanologist’s centre to reassure ourselves this thing isn’t going to blow any time soon – it’s not by the way, only the small one inside might, it’s in the risk assessment.

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The group have arrived and it’s only taken us a few hours and decent meal to know that we are going to be a tight team and this challenge is going to epic.

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Briefs done, kit checked, bags packed, sun screen applied, water dispensed and that’s us ready to hit the “hill”. An early start is in order to beat the midday sun on the savannah in the foot hills of the Mount Rinjani. The undulating terrain is pleasant and the views spectacular, but the heat and humidity is stifling. I can see the glistening brilliant blue of the Bali Sea, the Lombok and the Alas Straits and across the way the silhouette of Gunung Agung in Bali. It’s these views that keep my mind off the task at hand, I also stop to take a lot of photos/catch my breath.

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Luckily after lunch and for the steepest climb of the day (actually it’s been up hill all the way) the clouds have rolled in providing us with some much needed coolness. Finally the rim is in sight and we arrive into camp as the sun sets over the crater lake.  A slap up meal and early to bed for all of us, we’ll need all our strength for the summit.

We’ve all read the trip advisor reviews and reckoned that the people who wrote the review must have been a bit wet – I mean really how hard can this summit be?!

01:30am, it sounds like a gale is blowing outside and I’m pretty cosy in my sleeping bag, I don’t really want to move but I tentatively poke my head out of the tent door to be greeted by Eric (one of our chefs) holding out a cup of coffee and the best jam sandwich I’ve tasted in a while. I imagine the rest of the team are going through a similar thought process as I’ve just been through, but when we set off morale is high.  It’s time to tackle this summit. The first section isn’t actually as bad as I thought it would be, it is dark and cold but I seem to have covered some ground. 2 hours into the climb, I’m thanking our amazing porter team for the light breakfast they provided before we started.

3 hours later, 1 step forwards, 3 slides back. I’m talking to myself, cursing ever so slightly under my breath. Walking up this ash and loose rock is beginning to feel like a reoccurring nightmare, and I have no idea if I’ve made any progress. I’ve lost all sense of time, but it is still dark and it is still cold. This is a mental game to reach the top and sure enough before you know it, I’m there, gratefully high fiving some of the more speedy of our team. We’ve made it for sunrise and as we marvel at the scenery all around, tea and biscuits appear. I love these guides!

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The way down from the summit is easier for the most part and once again we are greeted by our support team for a second and bigger breakfast. Around about 10:00am it’s onwards and downwards to our camp by the lake, Segara Anak. Although its downhill, it’s pretty steep and our legs are feeling the burn so we are all looking forward to a much needed soak in the hot springs.

That evening we sit around the campfire and reflect on the day’s achievement, yep made it to the summit of a volcano, trekked for another 9 hours, bathed in a natural hot spring, eaten delicious meals; seen several shooting stars and the milky way – does life get better than this?

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The next couple of days see us venturing into nature’s “spa resorts”. The natural hot springs have carved out caves which become steam rooms; caves that have magical healing powers that can make your wish come true but only if your return to honour it otherwise be damned forever.  It is our last night under the stars so we have a full team dinner with our guides and porters and do some short speeches to say thank you – as let’s be honest here – none of us were getting through this challenge without them to help us along the way.

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The final day of the trek, the route we take is little known to many groups, so it feels as if we are truly alone in the wilderness and this route is only for us.  The views are stunning, waterfalls, river crossings and ladders largely sum up this section of the trek. Some vertigo inducing heights, but always with a solid team to support you and at your side, there is nothing that we can’t achieve together.

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This has been an amazing trip not only for the vistas and the challenge, but for all the people I met along the way, the inspiring stories from our guides and porters. We all had our own reasons for taking part in this challenge but we all did it together.

Have you been inspired to summit one of Indonesia’s highest peaks? Visit our website and sign up today!

7 exciting European challenges to KICK OFF your summer…

Did you know that there are some beautifully picturesque challenges on our very own doorstep? Whether you want to TACKLE some of the UK’s highest mountains or cycle your way around Europe, Charity Challenge has the perfect expedition for you. Check out these breath-taking challenges, and KICK OFF your summer with your next adventure…


1. COAST TO COAST, UK

September 2016
Reg fee: £95

Be inspired by some of the most dramatic scenery England has to offer on this bike ride from west to east. Departing from the Cumbrian coast, you’ll need all your pedal power to tackle big ascents and descents as this challenging itinerary stretches for 140 miles to the North Sea.

Coast to Coast, UK

Coast to Coast, UK

 

2. BORDEAUX TO BARCELONA, FRANCE/SPAIN
May 2017
Reg fee: £325

The cycle from Bordeaux to Barcelona is a truly classic ride that takes you from southern France, across the Pyrenees and eventually arriving in Spain. Prepare for a superb variety of scenery and sights along the way including vineyards, famous Tour de France cols, gorges and fabulous rock formations.

Cycling the Alps

Cycling the Alps

 

3. LAVA TREK, ICELAND
July 2017
Reg fee: £295

Host to some of Europe’s most incredible wilderness, this Icelandic itinerary takes in thundering waterfalls, steaming lava fields, plunging fjords and spouting geysers. The trip is relatively short, but days are long and the terrain is challenging. Your hard work will be rewarded with an indulgent visit to Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon.

Iceland Lava Trek

Iceland Lava Trek

4. LAKES 8 PEAKS, UK
September 2016
Reg fee: £50

Not one, not two, but eight peaks – and in just one day! This is one of the toughest challenges in the UK, testing your strength, endurance and determination. You will tackle some of England’s most rugged and demanding mountains over a matter of hours, including Scafell Pike.

Scafell Pike, Lake District

Scafell Pike, Lake District

5. TREK TRANSYLVANIA, ROMANIA
August 2017
Reg fee: £195

This unusual experience crosses the Transylvanian Alps, taking in huge mountains, rugged wilderness and small villages. We also visit King’s Rock National Park, home to the Carpathian Large Carnivore Project which shelters wolves, lynx and bears. Meanwhile no trip to Transylvania would be complete without a stop at Dracula’s castle.

Dracula's Castle, Transylvania

Dracula’s Castle, Transylvania

6. DOG SLEDDING, SWEDEN
February 2017
Reg fee: £475

A team of loyal huskies leads the way through the snow-covered forests and mountains of Swedish Lapland, across 200kms of beautiful, frozen landscape. Experience the silence of nature while gliding through this winter wonderland, taking the opportunity to spot elk and reindeer and even see the spectacular Northern Lights.

Dog sledding, Sweden

Dog sledding, Sweden

7. NATIONAL 3 PEAKS, UK
September 2016
Reg fee: £79

Brace yourself for a fast-paced and physically challenging adventure, as you take on the three highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales in 48 hours. Considered one of Britain’s toughest outdoor challenges, the National 3 Peaks Challenge takes in Ben Nevis (1,344m), Scafell Pike (978m) and Snowdon (1,085m).

Mount Snowdon, Wales

Mount Snowdon, Wales

 

Set yourself a GOAL and TACKLE one of these exciting expeditions with Charity Challenge. Sign up before 10th July 2016 and you will also receive 16% off your registration fee! Enter code EURO16 when signing up.

Experience the Great Wall

After speaking to a friend who recently travelled to and toured China, I asked what was the most spectacular part of their trip was. Almost instantly, without any hesitation or dithering, I was met with the answer; ‘it just had to be The Great Wall!’ This synonymous answer is one that I repeated by all those who have had the opportunity to walk along and visit the astounding site creation.

Great Wall 1

 

So what exactly is it that makes the Great Wall so iconic, making it stand out amongst all else in what is the fourth largest country in the world?

Well contrary to popular belief, you cannot actually see it from space. However, this disappointing realisation should not denigrate and belittle the phenomenon that is The Great Wall of China. The official length of the wall is 8,850 kilometres long, an absolutely incredible distance. Yet, when you account for the entire wall, with all its branches, the total distance amounts to 21,196 kilometres in length, which is remarkably over half the distance of the circumference of the equator. Such an incredible structure has been built on repeatedly since work was first constructed back in the 6th century, in order to protect Chinese states and empires from the raids and invasions of nomadic groups. The series of fortifications is made up of a whole range of materials such as stone, brick, tamped earth and wood, and is generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern border of China.

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Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China has been quoted as saying “Who never climbed The Great Wall, cannot be deemed a man”. Such a statement provides one with a real insight into the might of The Great Wall and the noteworthy associations that are roused by it. This architectural prize is the most recognizable landmark throughout China and perhaps throughout the entirety of the Far East. Stretching over eight provinces, one can expect to see exquisite views throughout, providing you with a real opportunity of walking through centuries of China’s culture and history, an experience that can be described as nothing short of mesmerising. Trekking along the stony, steep and at times slippery paths that twist and wind their way along, often being interspersed with ancient crumbling watchtowers. Whilst trekking can be demanding, it is most certainly rewarding, especially when you are able to look at vast and beautiful mountain ranges on a clear day. Its legendary status, much like the structure itself, will hold up as you experience the immense construction that truly has the ability to leave even the well-seasoned traveller in a state of awe.

To be part of the adventure, click here to join an exhilarating Charity Challenge trip experiencing The Great Wall of China.

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Charity Challenge is turning 16 and offering a 16% discount off deposits!

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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?

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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….

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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!

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Here’s to another 16 years!

*Terms and conditions apply

Spring Fling! Get 10% off our Open UK Challenges* for a limited time only!!

SF1Flowers? Check. Sunshine? Check. A strange thawing feeling in your bones?! Yes! Its official, the Great British Springtime has begun! 

The mornings are getting brighter, the days are getting longer and spring is in the air! To celebrate the beautiful British countryside coming back to life, we are offering a sprightly 10% off ALL of our Open Great British Challenge deposits until the 31/03/15. So, if you want to cycle from Coast to Coast or trek through the night to see the sunrise, we have the perfect UK challenge for you. With options for every ability, from trekking to cycling, there has never been a better reason to end your hibernation and get fit in time for Summer!

To see all our incredible UK Challenges click here and explore the best the UK has to offer, whilst raising money for your favourite charity.

Click here for Terms and Conditions* 

Yorkshire 3 Peaks – HURRY only a few places left!   

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Put your cuppa down because Yorkshire just called, we need you to take on not 1, not 2 but 3 of its famous peaks, part of the Pennine Range. This challenge should not be entered into lightly, it will push you through steep ascents and descents and varied terrain, in total walking for 12 hours and covering 24 miles. The scenery more than makes up for those aching limbs whilst showcasing the best of the Yorkshire Dales as you encircle the head of the River Ribble valley before reaching the finish line, tired but immensely proud! Just click here!

Snowdon Under the Stars 

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It’s time to start munching those carrots as you’ll need your night vision (and headtorch) to trek through the night. This is the ultimate way to tackle Snowdon – under the stars. Challenge yourself mentally and physically against some of the most testing landscapes in Britain, as you attempt to summit the highest mountain in Wales…in a single night! Beginning as the last rays of the setting sun cast their glow across the spectacular landscapes of Snowdonia National Park, you’ll then follow the classic route of the Llanberis track into the enveloping darkness. Tackling one of the most testing trails in the park, the plan is to arrive at the top in time to welcome in the new dawn, to enjoy some of the most extensive views in the British Isles, before completing the route back down to the start, where a celebratory breakfast awaits! Just click here!

Coast to Coast Cycling Challenge 

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Like Big Ben, queuing and fish and chips, this trip is quintessentially British, showcasing our beautiful coastline and everything in between on a challenging 226kms cycle across England You’ll tackle northern England’s most rugged and spectacular scenery from the west to the east coast. Start by dipping your wheels in the Irish Sea at Whitehaven before crossing the northern edge of the Lake District and the North Pennines, heading towards Northumberland and the route of Hadrian’s Wall. The ride ends with you dipping your wheels into the North Sea. Although only 2 days, do not be fooled, this is a tough challenge taking on some very difficult climbs and descents! Just click here!

Snowdon Multi Activity Weekend

So you love trekking, and cycling AND canoeing, that’s alright, it’s okay to be greedy, why not indulge on our Multi Activity Snowdon Challenge, because variety is the spice of life. This exciting and tough challenge will see you summit Mount Snowdon in the middle of a varied, activity-packed day. Set in Snowdonia National Park, this tough but beautiful environment provides the perfect location for such a varied challenge, however this should not be taken into lightly as it involves some steep ascents and descents over diverse terrain on both bike and foot! Just click here!

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