It seems strange to dream of snow when we have had such warm weather lately, but Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) has just launched its trek challenge for 2023, an arctic trip to Finland.
If you want to inject a little adventure into your life and be the first to put your footprints into virgin snow, then why not sign up now, and raise money for a worthy cause at the same time.
Taking place from the 2nd to the 6th March next year, participants will be challenged to join with likeminded supporters and complete five days of snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and husky sledding: all while drinking in a silent wilderness of peaceful frozen lakes and snow-covered forests. If you are lucky, you could even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights!
As long as you are over 18, fit and mobile, the trek is open to anyone. The most challenging aspect will be the cold conditions which adds to the difficulty of the activities. Temperatures in March are typically -6°C with highs of -1°C, and the coldest part of the day is at night, when temperatures can drop to -10°C.
Highlights of the five-day trek include snowshoeing to a remote, but cosy wilderness cabin complete with a traditional lakeside sauna, exploring the ridges and frozen lakes on snowshoes, and husky sledding through snow-white forests.
Trek 2023 is part of an annual trek programme that EHAAT lays on as a more adventurous way for people to raise funds for the life-saving charity, and previous trekkers include Shelley Clark and Julie and Bryan Lewis
Julie Lewis from Rayleigh in Essex initially raised over £4,000 when she took part in The Great Wall of China Trek in 2019. Then she and her husband Bryan went onto raise another £2,000 by both taking part in the Hadrian’s Wall Trek in 2021.
Julie said: “Having nursed my dad whilst suffering cancer, one of the many conversations we had was about travel and places I’d like to visit. A main ‘to do’ was the Great Wall. My dad was a biker and regularly took part in the annual EHAAT Motorcycle Fun Run to Harwich, both as a rider and a volunteer. Being a biker, he had seen the air ambulance in action on far too many occasions, which was why he always supported them.
“After Dad passed away, I was flicking through Facebook and The EHAAT Great Wall of China challenge popped up, and it spoke to me! I work from home, so fundraising was a tough one, but I’ve made some lifelong friends and raised money for a very respectable charity, with my dad always in my mind. The whole experience was amazing and completely magical.
“Moving on during the lockdowns, both my husband and I started walking more, exploring our local area. So when the Hadrian’s Wall Trek popped up on my newsfeed we said we would do it. Fundraising is NOT easy, but we blew it out the water raising over £2,000 between us.
Shelley Clark from Rayleigh in Essex has already signed up for next year’s adventure to Finland, having raised over £4,000 by taking part in previous treks to Hadrian’s Wall and the Sahara Desert.
She said: “My sister was critically injured in December 2018, and I fundraise for EHAAT, so they can help families like mine – It’s my way of saying thank you.
“The whole booking process was really easy, and I was privileged to meet and trek with amazing people on both, but the Sahara Desert was truly incredible. I didn’t hesitate to sign up for next year’s trek; I can’t wait!”
EHAAT is acting as an agent for Discover Adventure and the flight inclusive trip is financially protected by The ATOL Scheme.
Emma Barker, Head of Income Generation at Essex & Herts Air Ambulance, added: “What I love most about our treks are the way in which they bring people together. The atmosphere is supportive – and we always send a representative from our charity to participate and to keep spirits high. The challenge element integral to all our treks is the very thing that bonds our trekkers – and many of our them form friendships for life. They are all amazing, and every year they generate much-needed funds for the charity; we are so grateful to each and every one of them. So, if you’re looking for a bit of adventure, then do come on board!
“Spaces are limited. So please join us at our information Evening on 13th September at our North Weald Airfield 6pm – 8pm.”