We want to say a huge thank you to Fields of Life Supporter Allan Gower who took on the Fjord Challenge at the start of September to raise funds for Project 25 to help bring clean water to communities in East Africa! This was not an easy challenge and we are so grateful to Allan for his incredible determination and his passion to change lives! Read on to see more from Allan about this amazing experience…
“As soon as we arrived in Norway (via 2 planes, 2 buses and a ferry) it was clear that the challenge ahead was going to be extremely tough. Stranda is a small ski resort on the west coast of Norway on the Fjords and is absolutely stunning (from a distance!!!!).
I met the group which was made up of 20 participants ranging in age from low-20’s to mid-60’s, with people from all over the world travelling to Norway for the challenge. This included mountain marathon runners, endurance athletes….. and me!
We had a group leader and Doctor from Action Challenge and 2 local guides who we met for the briefing on the first night – this reinforced how tough the next couple of days was going to be. The original route had been modified to allow for some steep climbs. Difficult terrain and to allow time for us to reach the less accessible areas.
The first day started at 04:30, then a quick breakfast and we were walking along a farm trail at a nice steady pace before we knew it (this was alright I thought……) then we turned left into the mountain and spent the next 3 hours heading upwards, which at times felt vertical. Lots of loose rock and an no paths after the first 600ft vertical or so (of the 3300ft for the first summit). None of us were prepared for the boulder fields or slippery descent but were reminded of the amazing views every time we remembered to look up. Our group were strewn across the mountain with the first coming off after 6 hours and the last after 11 hours – the guides really earnt their wages!!! We had a further 12km to trek in the afternoon as we worked back to the hotel, the fittest and keenest of the group, climbed a second summit of the day before tea!
Day 2 started with 17 of the original group and we headed upwards again to reach the 2400ft summit of a new group of mountains with even more stunning views than the previous ones. We continued our trek around the valley to a rest stop beside the river where we sat for lunch before taking the 10km trek back to the hotel, less climbing and more time to take in the views, although plenty tough enough for a second day in a row.
We were met with a champagne reception on our return and had our final meal as a group that evening before returning home the following day.
This really was an incredible experience and I am so happy to have helped raise the money for Fields of Life.
One of the hardest but most rewarding things I have ever done.
I have met an amazing group of people who I hope to see again on future challenges.
Next up is Kilimanjaro next October – only 19,300ft (?!)”
Debbie Cameron, Head of Development and Fundraising at Fields of Life, said: “We are very grateful to Allan and the team at Sinclair & Rush for the tremendous support. Thank you to all those who have donated. The funds raised will help us in our mission to bring clean safe drinking water to remote communities in East Africa. We have an ambitious strategy which seeks to invest in young people, promoting health and wellbeing, creating opportunities and growing the Fields of Life family. It is our ambition that by 2020, we would have positively impacted 500,000 of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in East Africa and to see their lives transformed. We are so grateful for the support we’ve received and look forward to continuing our work together for many more years to come.”