More than a decade ago Sir Marcus Setchell, Wellbeing of Women’s Hon President, and renowned prostate surgeon Roger Kirby embarked on Hike for Hope in order to raise funds for both gynaecological and urological charities.
Since then they have completed five treks across Jordan, Kenya, the Sinai desert, India and the Atlas Mountains to raise a total of £1.3million for charity.
Ahead of their 6th trek across the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia from 17 – 28 November 2018, Marcus recounts the journey so far.
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More than a decade ago, we met up with Ann Frampton, Dream Challenges (then Action for Charity) and plans were made for our first Hike for Hope in Jordan across the desert to Petra. What an adventure that was! A tough but unforgettable trek across the desert, sweating beneath a hot sun, camping out beneath the stars, finally reaching our apotheosis: the unique archaeological wonder that is Petra, reaching its amazing temples and palaces carved into the pink rock via the “ledge of death.”
We have decided to embark on yet another adventure to raise money for Wellbeing of women and the urology foundation
Rift Valley, Kenya
As a result of the spectacular success (more than £600,000 raised) of the first Hike for Hope adventure, a second trek was organised, this one across the Rift Valley in Kenya. Once again we found ourselves walking 20 or so miles a day, often sleeping outside our tents beneath a cloudless sky, only occasionally disturbed by the distant sounds of African wildlife.
Our third trek found us back in a desert clime, this time the Sinai desert (now out of bounds because of terrorist threat). Starting with a climb to the top of Mount Sinai, we set off across the desert, accompanied by Bedouin tribesman with their camels transporting our provisions, passing amazing rock foundations, struggling up sand dunes and traversing dried up river valleys, all the way to the Red Sea.
Subsequently, our intrepid band of hikers travelled to India to hike in the hills of Kerala, through tropical jungle and spectacular tea plantations. We marched on, undeterred by leeches, which attached themselves to our legs and swelled alarmingly after feasting on our blood and had to be carefully detached at the end of every day.
The fifth Hike for Hope took us to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and, because of the inclement weather, turned out to be the most difficult of all. The mountains themselves were challenging enough, but a Westerly weather system brought us freezing wind and rain which penetrated our clothes, rucksacks and bedding and had us sheltering in shepherd’s cottages and goat huts because the deluge precluded the use of tents.
Having neglected to pack a waterproof jacket, we were reduced to wearing a plastic bin liner.
Now, after a six-year respite, we have decided to embark on yet another adventure to raise money for Wellbeing of Women and The Urology Foundation.
This tough seven-day trek will take us along the Simien Mountain chain to its highest peak at Ras Dashen, which sits at a whopping 4,533m above sea level. Along the way we will be surrounded by stunning vistas of lush green valleys and dramatic ridges. We will look out for the elusive and endangered Simien Wolf, the Lammergeyer (a bearded vulture), the famous Galia Baboons and the Walia Ibex (a large mountain goat). Do come along with us.