AFTER two days and 56 miles of trekking through the desert, five friends raised more than £4,000 for a much-loved charity.
Against the dramatic backdrop of the Sahara Desert, Alistair Gibson, Patrick McCall, Jeremy Grant, Adrian Faure and Louise Carver took on the challenge of trekking two marathons in two days.
Alistair, owner of Hermitage Cellars in Emsworth, organised the challenge to raise funds and awareness for the Rosemary Foundation, a Petersfield-based charity providing a hospice at home service, after his wife Becky received wonderful care in her last few months following a long battle with cancer.
The journey to undertake the hardest challenge they had faced started with a flight to Marrakech in Morocco, before leading the group through the Draa Valley which Alistair described as a place of ‘haunting beauty and almost alien intensity’.
‘The weather had been kind to us, there was some cloud cover and the early morning temperatures were not quite as high as we had been expecting,’ said Alistair.
‘During the day the temperature did climb but never became too uncomfortable as we passed mud villages, palm trees and date plantations, with mountain peaks rising above us over mainly rocky terrain and dusty trails.
‘Almost 8 hours and over 42km later we arrived back at our Bedouin Camp – tired and a little footsore, but we knew the next day we would have to get up and do it all again.’
Day two proved even more challenging, following steep slopes and rocky terrain, even accompanied by a herd of camels as they reached the finish line before swapping stories about their experiences.
Alistair said: ‘This was a truly amazing adventure for a great cause but it was also a very humbling experience trekking through such an unfamiliar and hostile environment over two days.
‘It is difficult not to feel a little overwhelmed when surrounded by such staggering scenery and a natural environment that was so alien to us all.’
As well as having an unforgettable experience, the team had managed to raise around £4,000 for the Rosemary Foundation which they called a ‘wonderful achievement’.
To donate, visit virginmoneygiving.com/AlistairGibson4.