If trekking up to 70km in temperatures as low as -30℃ degrees, dragging your equipment behind you in a pulk, and sleeping in tents in the Arctic Circle sounds ‘cool’, the Children’s Hospices Across Scotland – better known as CHAS – have the perfect challenge for thrill-seeking fundraisers who would like to pledge support to their two hospices and CHAS at Home service.
Taking place from 5th – 10th March 2020, participants will head to Rovaniemi in Finland before beginning their three-day adventure. Although not for the faint-hearted, the Arctic trek is consistently considered “the best challenge ever” where friends for life and priceless memories are made, taking part in a unique experience that few will encounter in their lifetime.
The personal achievement when you cross the ‘Finnish line’ is not the only thing to celebrate, but your efforts will ensure that the charity you chose from Scotland’s Hospices Together partnership can continue to provide free, person-centric, palliative and end-of-life care and support to hundreds of patients and families.
In addition to the tougher side of the challenge, there will be the opportunity to tick off a few popular bucket list items; see some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery and glistening snowdrifts, spend a night in the world famous Arctic Snow Hotel and potentially catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. However, there is no guarantee that you will get to meet Santa Claus when you visit Rovaniemi – his official hometown that celebrates Christmas every day of the year.
Sarah Ivory, a 39-year-old university lecturer and mother of two from Edinburgh who participated for CHAS last year, said:
“I signed up to help raise money for this incredible charity, for the families and the kids who need it. But I also wanted to do something that pushed me to the limits – both physically and psychologically. And it certainly did.”
“The first day of trekking was by far the best. We were well rested, highly caffeinated, excited, and enthusiastic. We started the trek walking two or three abreast, down a frozen river, chatting away, and simply enjoying the thrill of what we were doing. The view was completely magical. Not a breath of wind. Snow clinging to trees like they’d been carefully dusted by an artist.
“We left the river and trekked through a picture postcard town with houses painted perfect Nordic colours, and snow covering everything. It got a bit harder trekking later, including a slight hill which made negotiating the pulk downhill a little interesting… but still all happy, all positive and all lovely. At the bottom of the hill we emerged onto an enormous frozen lake, and as the twilight twinkled its last and darkness enshrouded us we trekked down towards the welcome row of tents already erected for us by the ‘logistics’ team, and a roaring fire.”
Beyond CHAS, other hospice services involved in the trek to sign up with and fundraise for include ACCORD Hospice, Ardgowan Hospice, Ayrshire Hospice, Highland Hospice, The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice and Columba’s Hospice.
Participants pay a non-refundable deposit of £350 at the time of booking and can choose between a self-funded or minimum fundraising option. To sign up, visit www.scotlandshospices.org