On January 31st, 2024, seven courageous adventurers embarked on a journey of a lifetime, hiking across the Arctic Circle, all in aid of raising vital funds and awareness for The Joshua Tree. 

Nerys Price-Jones, Caroline Platt, Gary Cain, Phil Gray, Chris Astles, Chris Baguley and Elisabeth Vietan committed to this challenge back in March 2023. Each dedicated themselves to gruelling training regimes and months of preparation to get ready for the demanding expedition ahead. 

One of Nerys and Caroline’s training weekends included an arduous 18-mile hike in the rain and a 4-mile beach hike while pulling tyres. Phil embraced ice baths to acclimatise to the Baltic temperatures they would face, and Gary hiked 10-20miles a week to build endurance. 

Despite warnings of the risks of frostbite and the treacherous terrain they would encounter, all participants persevered through the training, knowing that their efforts were in support of a truly worthy cause. 

For Nerys, the challenge held a particularly personal and emotional significance following her son Fynle's diagnosis of a Medulloblastoma Brain Tumor in May 2019 at the age of 7. The Joshua Tree provided invaluable support to her family during their time at Alder Hey hospital. Nerys's daughter benefited immensely from the sibling support we offer, ensuring a smooth transition from primary to high school. 

The Trek: 

Beginning in Rovaniemi, Finland, the three-day trek into the Arctic Circle was not for the faint-hearted. Battling against the elements, each participant pulled their own kit in a pulk and braved below-freezing temperatures while sleeping in tents. The 40-mile route presented brutal conditions that tested every participant's mental and physical endurance. 

Lee Peyton, the trek leader, described it as, "by far the most challenging conditions we, as a guiding group, have experienced in the 25 Arctic treks we’ve led. Especially on day two, the trekkers had to battle incredibly deep snow and soft underfoot conditions, overflow on the lakes (deep enough to trap snow mobiles) and a white-out while crossing Sonkajärvie.” 

Despite the challenges, every participant proudly crossed the finish line, displaying their medals in full support of The Joshua Tree. 

Caroline Platt: "From the lowest of lows to the highest of highs, every step tested my determination and resilience." 
Chris Baguley: "It’s been emotional, amazing, horrendous and the hardest thing I have ever done in my life." 
Gary Cain: "This Arctic trek was brutal… This isn’t for the faint-hearted but with a strong will and determination, we got there." 

 

The incredible efforts of these adventurers have raised a staggering amount of funds for the charity! The substantial amount will greatly support The Joshua Tree and the families we help. 

We extend our heartfelt thanks to all the Arctic Trekkers and express immense gratitude to Lee Peyton and the entire team at Breaking Strain Events for their support. 

For more information on how you can support The Joshua Tree, click here.