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Spirits were high when we arrived back at our lodge for the night. The staff’s friendliness and attentiveness added to the enjoyment of the day, and beers were soon opened.

We had two birthday girls on the trek, and a huge cake was produced during our buffet meal (which was a western-style BBQ, with a Chinese twist!) for Ann-Marie and Ann. Candles were extinguished and wishes were made. Then it was out into the courtyard for beers, a bonfire and chat long into the night.  Read the rest of this entry »


From the Itinerary:

After breakfast we transfer to start the trekking on Gubeikou. Gubeikou has long been a town of military significance and an important passage to the capital city. The Yanshan Range winds from east to west and is cut off at Gubeikou forming a natural narrow pass here.

From ancient times, Gubeikou has served as a route of strategic importance, linking the southern and northern areas of the Yanshan Range.

Today’s trek passes through remote rural farmland, and many crumbling watch towers. We transfer back to our rustic Lodge for dinner.

large landscape photo of the great wall of china

Click for full size.

The image of the Great Wall of China snaking its way over jagged mountain peaks, softened only by autumnal trees, is iconic. This was to be world into which the fundraisers would venture for two days. A world mostly free of tourists simply for the fact that the trekking would be on unrestored, “wild” wall. Read the rest of this entry »

Arriving in Beijing, we were struck by the heat and the sunshine. A shock to our Scottish systems…

After a painless flight, an easy stroll through immigration, it was on to collect our bags before liaising with the first of our guides, the ever smiling Harry.

En route to our hotel, the grandly named “Auspicious Business Hotel”, Harry explained that we’re entering into an extended holiday period here in China. From 1st October it’s Mid-Autumn Festival where everyone takes 7 days off work. And everyone tries to either get home to see their parents. If they can’t get home, they call home. Family is very important to the Chinese.

And for most of us, that was on the agenda too, a fact witnessed later that afternoon, evidenced by the clusters of pasty Scots huddled in groups in the hotel foyer, calling home.

Harry related a Chinese joke.

How do you get an elephant into an ice box?

Three steps.

1. Open the icebox
2. Put the elephant in
3. Close the icebox

He said this reflects the Chinese mentality of getting the job done, not focusing on the problems.

And when you think of the engineering feet that is the Great Wall of china, it’s hard to argue with this sensibility.

For most of us, as we wound our way through the busy streets north of Beijing, it’s a mind set we’ll be adopting as our own as we face the physical, mental and emotional challenges of trekking the Great Wall as fund raisers for St Andrew’s Hospice.




Great Wall of China Trek – Day 1 – Flying Out

This morning it was alarms set at crazy o’clock for everyone involved in #standrewstrek. The plan was to convene at Edinburgh Airport at 8am to meet the Action Challenge reps who’ll be leading on this fundraising trip to China.

Along with the early morning alarm comes that mild pang of anxiety in the gut; have I packed enough t-shirts and pairs of socks? Where’s my passport?

Married to that is the reality that we’ll be away from family, friends, loved ones for 10 days, counter-acted by the flutter of excitement that big trips like this bring. And then off out into the dark, chilly, autumnal morning we go.

So, the team has all checked in, we’ve got boarding passes in trembling hands, rumours of sore backs and dodgy knees are already been offered, now it’s just a matter of running the clock down until we hit The Wall.

It’s not too late to be involved in #standrewstrek, you can make a donation to support the Hospice using Just Giving. Simply click this link.

Tweet your messages of encouragement on twitter to the fund raisers using hash tag #standrewstrek and follow the updates @standrewhospice.

The #standrewstrek fundraisers arrive at the Airport ahead of their departure to Beijing.

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We asked some of the fundraisers taking part in the Great Wall of China Trek for St Andrew’s Hospice (#standrewstrek) for tips and advice on how they’ve raised funds.

the group prepare for trekking the great wall of china for st andrew's hospice

In preparation for tough physical endeavours it is, of course, highly recommended that you try and prepare your body in advance.

For trekking the Great Wall of China for St Andrew’s Hospice that means pulling on the boots and getting out in the fresh air and walking. And walking. And walking. Plus a little cycling, and maybe a bit of swimming.

But on top of that, preparing yourself for spending 10 days in the company of strangers in a strange land also has to be considered! Read the rest of this entry »