23 trekkers have completed their challenge to Walk the Great Wall
On Saturday 12th October, a group of fundraisers met at London Heathrow Airport to begin their journey to China. They spent five days trekking along one of the new wonders of the world, walking around 36km in total. As part of the adventure they were able to help repair part of the wall, toboggan down part of the wall and climb the 1,000 steps of the ‘Heavenly Ladder’ at Mutianyu.
So far their combined fundraising efforts have raised a massive £45,000 – this is expected to rise as their last of their friends, family and colleagues donate to their online giving pages.
Patient Liaison Manager/Critical Care Paramedic – Tony Stone took part in the trek. We caught up with him to find out about his highlights from the trip, his reasons for taking part, and what he would say to anyone thinking about taking part in our next challenge.
Why did you do it?
The Great Wall is phenomenal, it’s one of those things that is on many people’s to do lists, but it is also something most of us will never get a chance to do. When the opportunity arose I grabbed it with both hands.
Did the trip live up to your expectations?
The Wall was amazing. It was everything I’d hoped for and more. To go as the Charity representative was a brilliant opportunity. The 23 people involved had fundraised a phenomenal amount for EHAAT. It really was a privilege to go with them and to spend time talking about what EHAAT does and letting them know how the money they have raised will be spent.
My hopes were that everyone would turn up at the airport, that all the luggage would make it to China and that we would all start and finish. That’s exactly what happened. During the course of the week there were a few issues like blisters and aches and pains but nothing that couldn’t be dealt with. The whole thing was really well organised. The food we had was different to the Chinese food we get here, but we were well fed and it was tasty.
What were the highlights?
The Great Wall is incredibly impressive, vast and simply amazing. I remember getting onto it at the start of the first day and the views were just phenomenal. You could see the Wall following the line of the mountains for miles and miles in the distance. It was at then that I realised what a brilliant week were going to have.
There was a day when we got take a toboggan ride down from the mountain to finish the day. That was quite a way to end the day. That was lots of fun!
How hard was the trekking?
It was hard going. We covered 36km, but that’s not a fair representation of what we actually did, because there were many ups and downs. There were points where we had to use our hands to climb up steep sections.
On day two we walked along an unrestored section and that was particularly tough going. We were walking along a rough trail and could only see remnants of the wall. It was physically hard on the heart and lungs but also on the knees and joints.
What were your fellow trekkers like?
The group bonded really well and some really special friendships were made during the week, which was brilliant. Day two was a long hot day, and everyone worked together to help each other through. On the last day we all finished together, which was a really special moment.
Did you do much training before you went?
Going as the charity representative, I didn’t want to be the one that was finding it hard. I did an awful lot of training on the stair climber in the gym. I would do a hundred floors on that, which really helped. I do a lot of walking anyway and belong to a walking group so I did quite a few walks beforehand.
Would you do another trek?
Yes, it was amazing for many reasons, but I love the fact that a group of people came together and helped each other, some really special friendships were formed. That was almost as much of a driver to do this kind of thing again as the amazing places we went to. I’d love to do something like this again.
What would you say to anyone thinking about taking part in next year’s Sahara Trek for EHAAT?
It’s going to be another amazing and memorable challenge. It will be hard but you will have a fabulous time and meet some wonderful people. It will be a great experience and you’ll also be raising money for the life-saving work of an incredible charity.
A massive well done to all those who took on the challenge. We can’t fly without you.
Take a look this video to see the trekkers in action!
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