Monday, 6 August 2012

A walk with the Gurkhas

Yet again Wemoto staff have been up to something amazing... walking all day and all night to raise money for the Gurkhas!

Some of our team at Wemoto, namely: Lee, Mike the team leader,  Jake and Shane (not Wemoto staff but a friend), started training in November last year to do the Gurkhas night walk from Petersfield to Brighton - a walk which was to take them 26 hours, actually not bad going for 100k stroll...

Here's how it went for them...

Why did you choose the Gurkhas walk and what is it?

Well the money we raised gets split between Oxfam and The Gurkha Welfare Trust. The Gurkha Welfare Trust was set up to help Gurkha ex-servicemen and their families - it mainly provides water and sanitation for Gurkha families who live in very poor conditions. Gurkhas have been fighting alongside the British for 200 years so it seems fair that we should look after them when their fighting days are over and this charity is a brilliant way to help.

We also wanted to do something which, while being useful and helping people was also a personal challenge for ourselves - something that we would really need to push ourselves to do and would be a real achievement - it's a long walk!

Where did you set off from and how many were in your team?

The teams are all made up of four people - 500 teams of four in total were doing the walk and we left from Queen Elizabeth Park in Southampton at 6am on Saturday July 14th - we all came from around Brighton so we had to get up at 4am to get there for the start time, so it ended up being a very long day..

Did you stop or sleep anywhere on the way?

No the point of the walk was to copy the Gurkhas training walks which they do all night and they walk without stopping. We had two teams of Gurkhas who set off with us - they were lovely and really friendly but set off like whippets and completed the walk in 9-10 hours - well they had done it before!  So we walked all day and all night for 26 hours - just a little bit tiring - we very glad of all our training!

What did you eat to keep you going?

We took lots of snacks and drinks with us but we had a brilliant support team of 7 friends and family in a car who met us at the checkpoints - there were 10 checkpoints in all along the route - and brought food and supplies.  The highlight and lifesaver of the walk was the hot chicken stew one of our support team met us with at checkpoint 7 at about 4am in the morning- nothing had ever tasted so good! It gave us the energy for the last section in the wee small hours.

Dare I ask - what was the weather like?

Normal British summer really!  Apart from a blip at the beginning when the weather was nice and we had a sunny start - it poured with rain most of the time. It was wet and windy with lashing rain and the route across the South Downs, because so many people were walking along it, was turned into a quagmire.  It was a bit like walking through a horizontal cold shower with liquid mud underfoot - nice - all added to the challenge!

Because of the terrible, and generally miserable, walking conditions a lot of the teams couldn't make it and by the 3rd checkpoint about 160 people had already dropped out.

Ok stupid question here - did your feet hurt?

YES my feet hurt, my boots were soaked through and after a while every step felt like walking on broken glass! My feet went all wrinkly like when you stay in the bath for too long - that's how wet it was!

Did your whole team make it?

No unfortunately one team member, Mike, had problems with his knees due to the really hard boggy walking conditions and very reluctantly had to drop out at the 7th checkpoint.

How much money did you raise for your charity?

Well the count so far is about £1,300 and we are hoping that by the time all the sponsorship money comes in it will be up to £1,500 - not bad for a weekend stroll...

How do you all feel now and what's next?

We feel brilliant to have achieved it as it was no walk in the park! It feels really good to have raised so much money.  Thanks to our fantastic support team as well we couldn't have done it without them!

The next thing is yet to be decided but it might be the Firewalk - less far but more painful - who knows? Watch this space.....

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