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.

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.

IMG_1093

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.

IMG_1073

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.

IMG_1233

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.

IMG_1156

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.

IMG_1251

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.

IMG_1295

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!

IMG_1313

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?

IMG_1316

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.

IMG_1436

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.

IMG_1651

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.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough…

This time last year, over 20 ambitious fundraisers trekked the Welsh 3000s for Mind, the mental health charity. Captained by TV Presenter, Matt Johnson, and with actor Nicholas Pinnock (most recently in ITV drama, Marcella), 28-year-old support worker Ceri Parker took on the 24 hour endurance challenge, and shares his story…

Ceri, with fellow trekker, Nicholas Pinnock in Snowdonia

Ceri, with fellow trekker, Nicholas Pinnock in Snowdonia

Why did you sign up to the challenge, Ceri?

I signed up to the challenge in memory of my cousin, who committed suicide in 2014. The anniversary was the week after the challenge, so it felt poignant.

Who did you raise money for?

I raised money for MIND because I wanted to save lives of people who felt there was no future due to their mental health, like my cousin felt.

Had you ever taken part in a challenge event like this before?

I’ve done a few 10k runs, and am generally fit, but nothing as big as the 3000s challenge! It’s definitely the biggest physical challenge I have ever undertaken.

How did you go about training for the event?

I joined a local walking group and did some long walks once a week, and continued to play sports on the weekend. Plus lots of gym sessions to get my legs used to those mountains!

How did you fundraise for the challenge?

I created a page on Facebook and encouraged all of my friends and family to like it. I would post updates about my training, and upcoming fundraising events. I also used it to give facts about mental health in men, and linked to articles in newspapers. I did some face-to-face collections at work, and the local football club – everyone was so generous with their donations.

What was your biggest highlight during the challenge?

I think the biggest highlight had to be finishing the trek after 24 hours, with a group of AMAZING people who all had smiles on their faces! Plus, raising over £70,000 for MIND was also a rather special highlight.

What advice would you give anyone who was thinking of taking on a similar challenge for charity?

The best advice I could give would just be: GO FOR IT! No challenge is too daunting, Charity Challenge were brilliant throughout so you’re in safe hands. And don’t forget to enjoy it – you’ve earned it!

Where is your dream challenge destination, and why?

I would love to do a cycling challenge next. Maybe across Europe or around the UK. Tour De France is an inspiring event where millions of people line the streets and cheer on the cyclists. Maybe taking part in a London to Paris event and finishing along the Champs Elysees would be pretty special…

If you are interested in following in Ceri’s footsteps and would like to take part in a challenge for Mind, there are still places left on their Kilimanjaro Summit Climb (7-18th October 2016). Visit the event page to 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andy Baker
UK Operations Manager

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

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

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

Amazon Jungle Survivor Challenge

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

Cycle Burma

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

Kilimanjaro Trek: October 2016 a sell out!

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

Want something slightly close to home?

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

More challenges

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

Follow us on Instagram

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

LEAP ahead this year…

It’s not only the Olympics or World Cup that happens once every four years… Let your adventurous streak get the better of you, and sign up to a new challenge event this 29th February. For one day only Charity Challenge is offering you 20% off your challenge deposit!

Enter code LEAP16 during registration and you will get 20% off your trip deposit.

Sign up to trek the beautiful Great Wall of China for £300 (instead of the usual £375), or register for the classic London to Paris bike ride this September for only £125 (instead of the usual £155).

But be quick, offer is valid on 29th February 2016 only.

Get 20% off your trip deposit this Leap Year!

Get 20% off your trip deposit this Leap Year!

*excludes North Pole challenge, DeutscheBank Autistic China challenge and Memusi Kilimanjaro challenge.

Responsible Gambling Trust summit Kilimanjaro

A team of ambitious fundraisers from the Responsible Gambling Trust have climbed their way to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. All thirty trekkers scaled the mountain and reached the summit, raising funds to help minimise gambling-related harm in the UK.

Fundraisers from William Hill, Coral, Genting UK, Praesepe, SG Gaming, The Bingo Association and Inspired Gaming were all represented on the challenge, and the Responsible Gambling Trust are already underway with organising their next challenge; a trek to Machu Picchu.

Congratulations everyone!

RGTKILI

Happy Chinese New Year

Monday 8th February marks the celebration of the Chinese New Year, and we’re offering 20% off ALL China challenge deposits, for a limited time only.

Sign up to trek the Great Wall with Charity Challenge between now and 9th February 2016, and you will get £75 off your deposit. Simply enter MONKEY16 at the time of registering.

 

Chinese New Year Special Offer-2