10th November – 17th November 2018
Our team of 20 marvellous trekkers took on the challenge of a lifetime by trekking across the Sahara desert against a stunning backdrop of sand dunes, the occasional oasis and with only camels for company! After completing the 50km trek they spent two days helping out at a local community project in Marrakech.
If you're feeling inspired by this year's challenge, why not sign up for our 2019 trek, where we'll be heading to India!
Find out more about Trek India 2019
You can read and watch the latest updates on what they got up to in the desert...
"Every sandy step of the way we carried our loved ones in our hearts" - Thank You Trekkers!
We salute our fantastic team of trekkers as they return following the challenge of a lifetime. We hope that everyone has enjoyed reading and sharing their journey, and thank you for supporting and donating along the way!
We sign off with a few final words from some of the trekkers, plus a lovely poem written by trekker Nikki...
Taxis to Stansted in the deep dark of the night
Making new friends whilst we boarded the flight
Breathtaking views from the windows of the van
A bready roadside picnic served by a smiling Moroccan man
A stopover at a Riad to rest our weary heads
Soaking up the last of the WiFi, showers and beds
Breakfast chapattis so early it was dark
Confusion with the time difference for absent Simon, Chris and Mark
An obligatory bag faff then back on our way
A stop for head scarf demonstrations to keep the sun at bay
Arrival at base camp to load up the gear
Sun cream on, boots laced up, we’re walking from here
Into the vast expanse of sand we marched as a pack
Our main man Rudy keeping an eye out for those at the back
A work out of for the calves we climbed the highest dune
We soaked up the surroundings told our camels would be arriving soon
The berbers worked their magic, setting up camp for the first night
The first of many mystery soups served by candlelight
The beat of the Moroccan drum and the warmth of the crackling fire
Mind blowing stars for us to lay back and admire
Awake before sunrise, step out to sand galore
First task of the morning; decipher who was guilty of the snore
Double bread for breakfast, fig jam and cream cheese
Not a chair in site, crossed legs or bent knees
Sun cream on and camel packs ready
20 hikers set off including Chantelle the teddy
After a hot morning hike we had lunch in the shade of the trees
Fresh salad for lunch with a side of poo stories
An awesome first day, 10 solid miles in the heat
Spirits still high despite the blisters on our feet
Tents were set up with the snorers far away
Noise still came as the wind battered our tents as we lay
We awoke to a sand storm but battled on without fear
A powerful pause for reflection to remember the reasons we were here
Conditions got worse and we were forced to stop for the day
Rudy’s memory game in the tent whiled the time away
New memories and giggles about tantalising tarts
Every sandy step of the way we carried our loved ones in our hearts
As the trek and community project draws to a close, it's a good opportunity to take a moment and remember why some of our trekkers took on this challenge.
Each trekker has their own personal reasons and you can view everyone's fundraising pages towards the bottom of this page, but we wanted to mention a story that features in the Hospice's Light Up a Life this year.
Two of our trekkers, Rebecca and Tan, are walking in memory of Rebecca's husband Matt, who was cared for by the Hospice - You can read Matt's story here.
Without the support of people like our fantastic trekkers, and those who have sponsored them, we wouldn't be able to help local people to live their precious lives well. #WeLoveYourSupport
Day 6 (update) - First day of the project!
First day of the project complete!
We decorated a corridor and planted a new garden at a home for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and a residential care home for elderly people.
Day 6 - Last day of trekking
After surviving the sandstorm we completed our last day of trekking alongside our Berber guides - now to head off to start the community project!
That was after finding time for a quick camel ride! Surprisingly comfy!
Day 5 - Sand absolutely everywhere! (...well it is the desert after all)
A desert storm hit all last night and today! We had to abandon at lunchtime - it was really hard going, but still managed 10 miles this morning. Sand absolutely everywhere!
We've been hunkered-down in a tent playing games to pass the time and stay safe. The wind is so strong and makes the landscape look like a wasteland.
Will have to make up the distance tomorrow but spirits have been high, especially thanks to video messages from the Hospice!
Day 4 - How would you describe the desert?
Our fantastic trekkers share their opinion of the desert so far!
Day 3 - 24,000 steps...
11 miles, 24,000 steps into the beautiful sand dunes. We survived our first night in the desert and our camel friends and local guides are doing a fab job of keeping us fed and watered!
Mixed terrain of dunes, rocky sand beds and crunchy clay - roll on day 4!
Day 2 - "...like something from another planet!"
Started the day with a long drive over the Atlas Mountains. Stunning scenery! Heading further into the desert to start our walk today. Breakfast of chapatis was delicious. Everyone in high spirits (including the team mascot Chantelle - named after the injured trekker who was unable to join us. You can read here about Chantelle's amazing wing-walk which she did after finding out she couldn't make the Trek)
Finished our first day in the desert. A gentle 4 miles to get us in the swing of things; it's hot! The scenery is fabulous, like something from another planet! We're waiting for our camel friends to bring the camp gear, whilst enjoying the sunset from the top of a dune!
Day 1 - And they're off!!
After a (very!) early start at Stansted the team are on they're way to Morocco and the Sahara desert... sand dunes, camels and a 50km challenge of a lifetime await.
Good luck guys!
So far the trekkers have collectively raised over £60,000 for The Hospice of St Francis! They've had a summer full of fundraising and training...
You can still show your support for their incredible challenge and donate using their Just Giving Pages below. Every penny goes towards helping patients and their families to live their precious lives well.
Jennifer Nikki and Catherine Kath and Geoff Gill D Erin and Sam H Simon Sam L Angela Ellen Chris Rose Rebecca Ingerlise Tan Mark Gill W
If this has inspired you please come and trek with us in 2019 when we will heading off to India!
Find out more about our next trek