Twenty-nine fundraisers have raised over £58,000 for The Forever Friends Appeal by completing one of the world’s most iconic trekking trails, the awe-inspiring Inca Trail in Peru.
The group signed up to the Appeal’s Inca Trail challenge months in advance of departure, with the goal to trek up to 52km at high altitude to the lost city of Incas to earn every bit of their sponsorship.
As well as training to take on the tough physical challenge, they have spent a lot of their spare time fundraising by holding cake sales, car boots, quiz nights, and bucket collections.
The total amount raised will go towards the Appeal’s major campaigns; the Cancer Centre and the RNHRD and Therapies Centre, which will both be built near the front of the Royal United Hospitals, (RUH) Bath.
The charity challenge began in the Inca Capital Cusco, with an acclimatisation trek at an altitude of 3,200m. The next day, they set off to conquer the one and only Inca Trail that leads to Machu Picchu – the world’s most important archaeological find and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
As well as enduring six to eight hours per day of walking across tough terrain, the group camped under the stars each night, and climbed from 3,000m to 4,200m reaching iconic features such as the ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’, passing through cloud forests, and reaching a glacier.
On the third day they conquered two remaining mountain passes and reached the Sun Gate on day four with the view of Machu Picchu, which they then explored.
Daniela Weate, from Frome said: “I wanted to do the Inca Trail trek because my sister Jules and I had Machu Picchu on our ‘bucket list’. But sadly she died of cancer before we got to do it together.
“So, when I heard about The Forever Friends Appeal were going to trek the Inca Trail, I thought it was a great opportunity to do ‘our trek’ and raise money for the RUH’s new Cancer Centre.
“My favourite memory was on the route up to Dead Woman’s Pass. Four of us struggled with the altitude but we looked after each other, and were helped by our two amazing guides Elias and Yammie.
“We called ourselves the Musketeers, and laughed and cried our way along the route. The whole team became an amazing supportive family.”
Chris Scott, from Neston said: “I’m so glad I achieved the trek. It was far more challenging than I expected but the scenery and wildlife were amazing – I loved seeing humming birds and wild orchids, it was something I will never forget along with the emotional feeling I had (a few tears were shed) when we passed through the Sun Gate at the entrance of Machu Picchu.
“My favourite memory though (and I think for a few others in the group) was getting a ‘piggy back’ on one of the Porters on the way down, as it was getting dark.
“The speed he ran down the path was insane, but fun. I had no fear he would drop me as they are so sure footed and strong.”
With the success of the Inca Trail Trek, The Forever Friends Appeal are now looking for another group of adventurous fundraisers to take part in their 2018 Grand Canyon trek.
As well as taking on this natural wonder, the trek also includes hiking the trails of two other National Parks in South West USA, Zion Canyon and Bryce Canyon.
An information evening will be held at the RUH on Tuesday 23rd January 2018 with talks from the trek leader of Global Adventure Challenge who work with The Forever Friends Appeal team, and there’ll be an opportunity to hear some of the experiences from the Peru trekkers.
To book your place call Laura, Events and Community Officer on 01225 821535 or visit: www.foreverfriendsappeal.co.uk.