From Felixstowe to the Andes – the Strolling Stevedores’ new target
Nine port workers from Felixstowe known as the ‘Strolling Stevedores’ are preparing for their latest fundraising challenge – a four-day trek over the Andes to one of the world’s greatest architectural treasures.
They are preparing to walk the Inca Trail – a four-day hike across the top of Peru finishing at the ancient city of Machu Picchu.
The group are hoping the trip will raise £6,500 for the St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich – £1 for every mile that Machu Picchu is from East Anglia.
It’s not the first time the team have taken on a challenge for charity – it all started in 2012 when they climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and since then they have taken part in the Three Peaks Challenge and trekked to the Everest Base Camp in Nepal. So far, they have raised £17,000 for the hospice.
Organiser Ian Gow said: “We’re none of us in our first flush of youth. The youngest is in the mid-40s and the oldest is 64 – but we enjoy taking on a challenge.
“This all started where else but down the pub when we thought of finding a challenge all those years ago and came up with the idea of Kilimanjaro – and it has all gone from there.”
This year’s challenge involves a four-day trek along the Inca Trail. The distance is not that great, but the terrain is a challenge at altitude – the highest part of the walk is 4,200 feet.
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Mr Gow said: “It’s not the distance so much as the terrain. There aren’t many mountains around here to practice on. We do six hours’ walking, 10 hours’ walking, and six to seven hours’ walking on the first three days.
“On the fourth day we get up at 3am to walk to get to Machu Picchu to see the dawn come up.”
There is a train to the ancient Inca citadel, and that will take them back to the city of Cusco about 80 kilometres away.
The party leaves for Peru in two weeks’ time, on May 23 and Mr Gow said they were looking forward to their first South American trek.
He will be joined by Trevor Cable, Nick Lord, Gary Newson, Andy McDonald, Dave Bennett, John Mundy, Nick Goodrum, and Brian Richardson on the trip of a lifetime.
They have not yet decided on what their next challenge will be – but hope that the hospice will get a significant boost from this trip while they are seeing one of the great sites of the ancient world.