Is a charity challenge on your bucket list for 2013?

Is a charity challenge on your bucket list for 2013?

On Christmas Day this year, my dad and I joined nearly 500 other mentalists to take part in the ‘Christmas Day Dip’ in the freezing North Sea, to raise money for St Elizabeth Hospice, a local charity that is very close to a lot of people’s hearts in this neck of the woods.

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Whilst it wasn’t the epic charity challenge of dreams and we only raised about £120, it re-ignited that desire in me to ‘do something different’ and got me thinking about what life-changing charity challenge I could get involved in during 2013…

I’ve done plenty of adventurous stuff in my life – i’ve done a bungee jump, travelled by bus to Australia, bought a bar in Spain at the age of 24, eaten bugs in Thailand, walked the Great Wall of China and most recently ran a 10K just for the heck of it… but all of these have been for my benefit alone and I can’t help but think that the best adventures would not only benefit me, but other people less fortunate than me!

Combining my love of adventure travel and fitness, following the likes of Gary Barlow and Cheryl Cole up Kilimanjaro would be right up my street, but the problem is finding someone else to do something like this with! I have so many ideas for charity challenges I would just LOVE to take part in, but none of my friends appear to be on the same wavelength or have the same desire as me. One way to get round this of course (and if you’re the type of person who likes company and encouragement!) is to book a challenge through an specialist operator or through the charity of your choice.

According to specialist Global Adventure Challenges, bookings of this kind are set to peak in January 2013 as people see these challenges as motivation to kick start fitness training and work towards a clear goal.

Peter Robinson, managing director, Global Adventure Challenges, said: “More individual travellers are completing adventurous treks and epic cycle rides around the world to push themselves out of their comfort zone. Many of the UK’s charities use challenges as a way to fundraise, but we’re seeing more individuals signing up for the adventures and funding the trips themselves and this is a growing trend.”

Last year, an estimated 50,000 Britons completed charity challenges, from white water rafting in the Zambezi to husky sledding in Lapland and Grand Canyon hikes to trekking in the Brecon Beacon National Park, and I can certainly understand why. You can’t beat that feeling of pride and satisfaction you get when you manage to achieve something that so few people ever manage to achieve – particularly if it’s something that has challenged you mentally and physically.

Experiences like this most certainly change you, for the better. So if you’ve got the urge to do something different in 2013 and want to see the world and push your physical limits at the same time, here are a few suggestions to get the juices flowing…

Unite and bike against Cancer

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In October 2013 men and women of all backgrounds will unite to start one of the best rides of their life – the Unite & Bike Against Cancer. This spectacular 400km cycling challenge takes participants through the lower slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro, through both Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks, through Maasai villages to eventually finish at the jaw-dropping UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Ngorongoro Crater Reserve.

For more details and to book call 01244 676 454 or visit

TrekFest in the Brecon Beacons National Park

Closer to home, TrekFest is a new series of charity walks and challenges taking place nationwide. Taking place in the Brecon Beacons National Park, training ground to the SAS, the event is open to both individuals and teams. The TrekFest charity challenge is simple – each walker must make their way around the 54 mile route within 24 hours. For those of who want a slightly less taxing route there is a 27 mile route with a target time of 12 hours.

The challenge is taking place over the weekend of 8 and 9 June 2013 and payment options incude a £50 registration fee and £50 per person for the self-funding option.

Cycle the Land of Kings

Covering a total distance of 400km over 6 consecutive days, experience India at it’s best on this charity bike ride. Explore the amazing painted “havelis” (mansions) of Shekawati – a remote area where rich merchants once aimed to outdo each other by painting their homes in ever more exuberant styles. Time has largely stood still since this extravagant heyday, making this a fascinating area in which to hold this charity challenge.

The 3 Peaks Challenge

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One that is on my bucket list for 2013 is The 3 Peaks Challenge, taking place on the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales all within 24 hours of trekking time. The trek covers 42kms and involves 2,984m of ascent and descent – the most highly regarded trekking challenge within the UK!

The 3 peaks challenge can be organised independently with a bit of planning, or you can go with one of the many operators organising this trip all over the UK.

Pretty much any adventure you can think of can be used as a way of raising money for charity at the same time. For example, I mentioned above that I had already walked the Great Wall, however I only did this for a day and you could easily extend this to a week, strap on a backpack and camp out in the wilderness to add an extra element of challenge, or even give yourself a deadline to reach certain sections of the wall – raising money for achieving these deadlines… just a couple of ideas!

Have you already completed a charity challenge? What was it and what was it like? We’d love to share your experiences with those who are considering doing the same.

Whether you organised and took part in a challenge independently, or booked through a specialist tour operator, we’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below, Facebook us or email us to tell us more!!

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Write a comment
  1. Carly
    Carly 21 January, 2013, 15:54

    I did Kili in Feb 2011 for a charity called Climb Your Mountain, they’re a small charity based in Milton Keynes.. I;ve just signed up to do Everest Base Camp in October this year with the same charity!

    I love a challenge 🙂

    They do some great challenges and with a fantastic group of people too, check out there website:

  2. Aisleen
    Aisleen Author 14 January, 2013, 23:45

    Hi Martin,

    Good advice to check out how the money is divided when looking into challenges like these! As you say, it’s great if the charity gets as much as possible and also if you can ensure that people aren’t simply ‘paying for you to go off on an adventure’! However, saying that, depending on the complexity of the challenge, specialist operators can come in very handy and by placing the organisation into someone else’s hands, you can concentrate on fundraising! – it’s just a case of scoping out the more reputable operators! I’d encourage anyone thinking of doing a charity challenge to look at all of their options – there is something very satisfying about achieving something you have planned all by yourself too! 🙂

    Thanks for your comment 🙂

  3. Martin
    Martin 14 January, 2013, 22:03

    I did Kili on my own. Went with Adventure Company who do organised trips & are very good. Tbh you’ll be travelling with like-minded people so not really on your own at all.

    Re. doing charity challenges with specialist operators, check how much they keep & how much actually goes to the charity. When we cycled London to Paris, the operator required us to raise about £1,200 pp but were then going to take about half that! In the end, we did it all ourselves – booked ferries, hotels & got friends to drive the support vehicles. Probably cost us more but meant that all £13k we raised went to Royal Marsden Hospital.

    Best of luck with whatever you decide to do!

  4. Aisleen
    Aisleen Author 29 December, 2012, 21:25

    Great! And no problem…. there are SOOO many options for charity events and challenges it’s hard to narrow them down! 🙂

  5. Annette | Bucket List Journey
    Annette | Bucket List Journey 29 December, 2012, 19:26

    Every year charity has a place on my bucket list. Thanks for the wonderful suggestions for 2013!

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