Having previously had a strong interest in the great outdoors and hiking, it seemed like a great challenge and one that would give me a really good excuse to get back out into the hills – something that life, my family and career had gradually prevented me from doing.
The charity I am supporting is St. Oswalds Hospice in Gosforth, Newcastle – within sight of our Newcastle office and a great cause that as a practice we have had a long history of supporting. This now forms a key part of our approach to Corporate Social Responsibility and our commitments as a “One Planet Company”.
They do fantastic work and their hospice, which supports a wide range of children, young adults and adults is really unique in terms of the atmosphere they create despite the life-limiting conditions that many of their patients have.
A couple of years back, the hospice were helping a seriously ill child and, realising that there were many things that he would probably not get to experience they set out to create him a “bucket-list” of things to do. On the back of this, they started promoting the idea of others achieving their potential and doing things off their own “bucket list”. For me, some form of long distance high-altitude trek was always up there on mine.
Having signed up, I soon realised that this was not just about ticking off a challenge on a list, but also the challenge of the £5000 fundraising, training most weekends and now the challenge of preparing my forty-something body to walk at altitude for 12 days on the trot!
My family have been very supportive (very few questions about my sanity so far!) and indeed my kids have been helping out with the fundraising – bag packing, bucket shaking, cycle rides, sponsored silences, bake sales etc.
So far, my training has taken me up a vast range of hills and mountains in the UK, with regular walks in Northumberland and the Lake District and a number in Wales and Scotland. This has included all of the three peaks (Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell). To put my trek in perspective, I will be walking up the nearly combined height of all three of these mountains, but starting at 2800m above sea level!
As most people are aware, Nepal has had a horrendous time over the last few months. The devastation from the earthquakes has been awful. However, reconstruction work is well underway and one of the best ways to help Nepal is for groups like ours to get back to the country – tourism is one of the main parts of their economy and a good proportion of the costs the group has to pay ends up in the local communities. Our tour organiser The Different Travel Company has be working hard to ensure this- the worst thing we could have done would have been to cancel the trip.
In just under five months time (May 7th 2016), I will be on my way – I am counting the days down now and looking forward to doing something that I have been told will be life changing for me, but also it is great knowing that the funds I am raising will have a similar effect on many others.
Just before my trip, St. Oswalds will be celebrating their 30th birthday and given Cundall’s own “big birthday” we will be celebrating together. This makes everything so much more poignant and I am looking forward to standing at base camp behind a St. Oswalds banner and with my own Cundall flag.
I hope this has inspired you to do something on your own bucket list, or to help me to reach (and hopefully exceed my fundraising target).
Any support you can give at www.justgiving.com/iancaneverestbasecamp
Images supplied by The Different Travel Company.