Saturday, February 12, 2011

Update No.1

So its been just over a month since I started this whole thing and the training has been going pretty well. I've been trying to run at least four times a week either in the evenings or during lunch at work with a few trips to the gym in between. Overall its getting better and easier each week. I have found the distances I can go getting longer as I go and the recovery doesn't take too long. The first proper run had me crippled for a week!

On the fundraising side, its been steady enough. I had a few things in mind to raise lump sums, like pub quizzes etc, have been put on hold due to my unexpected move back to Ireland next week. Once I get back to the emerald isle I'll bang a few events out and hopefully that will break the back of the fund raising. At the minute I'm at £360, about 11% of my goal, which I'm quite happy with as a start.

I've also signed up for a number of different events and festivals as part of my training such as the North Leitrim Walking Festival, the Carlingford Walking Festival and the Limerick City Marathon. I'm only doing the half marathon though... don't want to overdo it straight away!

One last thing for this post, its been pretty chilly over here recently so I invested in a pair of these:

I was very dubious about these before until I wore a pair hillwalking over Christmas and the difference they made during the walk and the day after was amazing. So with the cold weather here I found the chill in my legs took a long time to clear and left me with sore legs during and after my run, but with these bad boys its much better. They are really warm, comfortable to run in and do make a big difference. It is amazing the amount of people who don't wear shorts over them though. A bit of common decency please!!!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Hike!

So, now for the 'fun' part!

The hike takes place over six days.

Day 1:

After an early breakfast and detailed trip briefing, we drive south through amazing scenery, dotted with the black tents of the Bedouin, to the small village of Dana where we begin trekking. The Dana nature reserve, where the village lies, is an extraordinary wilderness through which to walk, rich in plant and wild life and spectacular landscapes. Our route takes us down a twisting track that leads eventually to the desert floor and our campsite, close to the ruins of a Byzantine church, Feinan, dating back to 4000 BC.

Distance approx. 13 km
Trek approx. 7-8 hours

Day 2:

We break camp early and head off across stony desert, with jagged mountains to the east and open desert falling westwards towards the Dead Sea. We hike around several small hills before striking out across open desert towards Wadi Barwaz, at the foot of the mountains. After lunch and a brief rest we head into the desert, gently descending, until we enter the small sand-dunes of Wadi Araba. The stillness here is colossal, and gives a true sense of the desert landscape. We camp again under clear, starry night skies.

Distance approx. 18 km
Trek approx. 8-9 hours

Day 3:

Today we trek back into the mountains and a more challenging route! After a gradual ascent across the desert to Abu Sakakin, we face a climb across small boulders and rocks to the foot of a steep and winding track. This is quite a tough section, and takes us high up into a remote, beautiful mountain region with spectacular views west into the desert. After lunch we continue up to the high saddle (720m), to rest and enjoy the view into the heart of these mountains, before our steep descent on small winding tracks to the river valley. We walk through the beautiful Sakakin canyon to our camp above the river at Ras Feid.

Distance approx. 14 km
Trek approx. 8-9 hours

Day 4:

We start with a pleasant walk back through the Sakakin canyon, before we gradually climb up into the mountains for another challenging day. This trail is used by the Bedouin people as they move with their animals from the desert to the higher and cooler regions for the summer. The track is tough with some steep climbs and rocky descents, and eventually leads up to a pass with tremendous views. From here we descend to the river valley and Shkaret Msei’d, where we make camp.

Distance approx. 18 km
Trek approx. 8-9 hours

Day 5:

Today we head inland, away from the mountains and desert, towards the ancient site of Little Petra. Our route follows an undulating track through low-lying hills and a couple of small settlements before we suddenly arrive among the simple rock-hewn temples and strange sandstone formations of Little Petra. These ruins are some of the oldest in the Middle East, dating back 9000 years. After touring the site, we continue weaving our way through the valleys to our campsite set amid the rock formations.

Distance approx. 16 km
Trek approx. 8 hours

Day 6:

Today is the culmination of our trip - the trek into the ‘lost city’ of Petra. Our route takes us first to the Monastery, an extraordinary, immense structure carved into the rock at the mountain-top. From there we weave down through a narrow canyon to the heart of the city. The huge tombs and buildings of Petra, many hewn from the rock itself, are testament to the one-time wealth of the capital of the Nabataeans. Our guided tour continues around Jebel al-Khubtha and its extraordinary rock features to Wadi Mataha, and then through the As-Siq canyon to experience the famous arrival at the Treasury, the most breathtaking of Petra’s sites. We return through the Siq to our waiting transport and the comfort of a hotel and our celebration meal.

Distance approx. 18 km
Trek approx. 8 hours

So, that's what I'm in for! Any help is greatly appreciated in getting me to my goal amount!!

Who are Macmillan Cancer Support?

Macmillan Cancer Support are a UK based charity that offer a range of support and care services to those affected by cancer. This not only includes patients but also, family, carers, healthcare professionals and communities.

Macmillan provide support services that guide patients and their families through the system supporting them every step of the way. They look after people in their homes by offering carers, covering the cost of heating bills etc and even a lift to the hospital. They provide support through their team of cancer support specialists.

Macmillan Cancer Support started 100 years ago in 1911 when Douglas Macmillan witnessed his father die of cancer. This moved him to found the 'Society for the Prevention and Relief of Cancer'. Douglas wanted advice and information to be provided to all people with cancer, homes for patients at low or no cost, and voluntary nurses to attend to patients in their own homes.

Over the next 100 years, Macmillan Cancer Support has evolved into one of the largest cancer support services in the UK with more than 3,500 nurses, doctors, radiographers, dietitians, occupational therapists and many other specialisms doing work for the organisation.

What's this all about...

As of today I am commandeering this blog. The regular programming of general waffle (although there hasn't been much in the past few months) will be replaced with my ongoing fundraising and training for what will probably be one of the most arduous challenges of my life so far.

Watch this space for regular updates on my efforts to raise £3,200 and train for the Macmillan Cancer Support 2011 Jordan Hike. Six days of hiking and climbing through the Jordanian desert and mountains in aid of cancer support and care in the UK.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We begin our broadcast!!!

Well i've been in Dubai now for almost two and a half weeks now and this is my first post to date! Very poor standards!

Things are going well so far. I've acclimatised and settled in to some degree. I'm still trying to get my head around the size of some of the buildings and the sheer gaudiness of some of them, seeing how the tallest building I saw on a regular basis was Liberty Hall in Dublin which is far from impressive.

Its a bit of a strange place though. Its is what I expected in some ways, but not in others. I was aware of the immigrant workers and the poor conditions they work and live in and the complete contrast to the local Emiraties who only come out at night in their Ferraris. I wasn't aware of the ridiculous infrastructure in terms of road layout or the lack of a decent postal service. To get to my office, we have to drive past it, drive for another 10 minutes till you can hardly see it in the distance, then turn around, drive past it again, and find you're way through a glorified building site. It seems buildings are built first, then they figure out how to get people to it afterward. So you have monstrosities of office and apartment buildings, but no direct road or offramp to access them. It takes another year or so to get that in place.

Having said that, it is a nice enough place to live. I'm currently staying in the Marina which has proper footpaths, grocery stores, shops, restaurants, bars etc all in walking distance, as well as the beach. And if I do need to get somewhere outside of that area, there are a steady supply of taxis to solve that problem, for a small price. From that point of view its great. Eating out is cheap (5 main courses, 3 naan breds, 2 bowls of rice and 6 soft drinks for €19 in a nearby Pakistani restaurant) and groceries aren't that bad either. Booze is available but can be pricey but unlike Ireland, they have happy hour here so you can get some good deals.

Overall, its nice. Strange in places, but nice. I was fascinated with the place before I arrived, even more so when I did, and I can see it getting stronger as the weeks go by. I promise to be better at posting now that i'm all set up, so watch this space. Also, you can see the pictures i've taken so far here. There's some good ones and i'll be updating it fairly regularly.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Pure Gold!

This is one of my favourite Monty Python sketches ever!

Nice base you got ere Colonel

Friday, September 25, 2009

World Premiere!

I've been waiting to blog about this band for a long time and finally I have the chance!

Ana Gog are a fantastic up and coming Irish band with an incredible sound. Their new single, Doves and Fishes is below, and there are many more exciting songs to follow. But for now, have a watch of this, visit their MySpace page and keep an eye out for their many gigs coming up in October (especially the Dingle gig on the 9th!).

Manna from Heaven