After many weeks of gruelling training and relentless fundraising, the Parkeray Challenge Team departed for Jersey on Friday 18 September. Satisfied that our original target of £10,000 for St Raphael’s Hospice had been smashed and with a new target of £12,000 to achieve, put us all in great spirits knowing that our hard work would pay off, with only the easy task of 48.5 miles of Jersey Coastline in 48 hours ahead of us!
After a hearty meal and a few liquid refreshments on Friday evening watching the opening game of the Rugby World Cup. We engaged in some jovial team building activities including Human Pyramids, a whistle-stop tour of St Helier and a dip in the hotel pool, before most of the group had an early night in readiness for the hike the next day.
We set off shortly after 8:00am on Saturday, enjoying the early morning sunshine and a relatively flat walk anti-clockwise from St Helier on the south coast. We passed Le Hocq and La Roque before an early lunch at Gorey on the east coast beneath the stunning Gorey Castle, where we regrouped for some team photographs.
The first-morning walk spoiled us, as after lunch, we soon realised the seriousness of this challenge. The coastline from the east point became a stunning but relentless series of climbs and descents pass beautiful clear water bays and treacherous cliffs. The challenge was on and we all encouraged each other to reach our destination at Devils Hole on the north coast, where most completed the final hour or so under the cover of darkness and starlight. Day 1 was exhausting but so rewarding, from the amazing scenery, great comradery and the warm feeling knowing that our revised fundraising target was also about to be achieved.
On Sunday, we all woke with great enthusiasm and one or two blisters. The sun was shining again with a few wispy clouds in the blue sky. We made a slight change to our plans by heading back to Devils Hole on the north coast, where we set out anti-clockwise again leaving a number of locals in awe of our challenge who contributed to the fundraising. The north-west coast shared the continuing theme of stunning scenery cliffs and bays, before hitting the west coast where we walked the beautiful 5-mile beach to La Pulente on the south-west coast and stopped for a refreshing lunch.
The flat 5-mile beach was soon a distant memory as we went back to a challenging series of climbing cliff tops, descending into bays with a few wooded areas and historical sites, before reaching the resort of St Brelade’s Bay with tempting hotels and bars. But there was no stopping us. We ventured on around Noirmont Point on the south coast, where we could see St Helier in the distance on the other side of St Aubin’s Bay. St Aubin’s Bay, although relatively flat, was deceivingly huge and once again night was falling with the final few miles still ahead of us.
However, our soon to reach destination spurred us all on in the knowledge that the fundraising was ever increasing and a traditional Jersey curry was waiting for us. We reached St Helier in the moonlight, exhausted but elated that the challenge was complete. We celebrated our achievement in style, swapping walking boots with slippers and flip-flops, energy bars for onion bhaji’s and water for beer, before most of the group headed off to bed for a well-earned rest.
We had sore feet, aching limbs but big smiles, warm hearts and a huge sense of achievement in realisation of what this year’s Parkeray Challenge is all about – St Raphael’s Hospice.
48.5 miles…48 hours…only a few blisters…£14,515.00!..AMAZING!
Thank you so much for your support.
As told by Rob Cafferty