Following our participation to the Sailors Society Hong Kong Challenge in the past 3 years, hiking across HK, we decided to take the challenge to the next level and  join the Sailors Society Great Wall of China Challenge for their 200th anniversary.

Two Latitude teams entered the Challenge, one from Hong Kong and one from Singapore, and we all congregated in Beijing last Friday to join the other 50 participants for a security briefing and meeting with our guides from CN Adventures and the Sailors Society team. Zakiya Dharsi and James King had been working on the event for the past 6 months, and were supported by Adam Stacey, Commercial Director and Sandra Welch, Deputy CEO of the organization.

Our programme was a two day hike on the Great Wall, 30 km in total, approximately 7 hours walk each day.

The weather conditions were fantastic on Saturday, with a sunny and dry day, offering us colorful and contrasted view of the Wall undulating on top of hills as far as the eyes could see. The Great Wall is now 6,000 km long, but we could really grasp its sheer dimension once walking on it, and everywhere around us, far away in the distance we could still see the Wall following the topography. Occasions for pictures were all too tempting, and after many photographic stops, we completed the 14 km from Jiankou to Mitianyu  . The Latitude teams had decided to compete for the most creative picture award, and were feeling pretty confident with such perfect conditions and lots of creative thinking.

Whilst waiting to reach our evening  accommodation in Gubei Water Town, we managed to catch a glimpse of the Royal Wedding, adding a touch of glamour to our weekend !

The Sunday hike from Gubeikou to Jinshanling did bring a real challenge to all teams, with some rain and fog in the morning, and gravity defying slopes in the afternoon. We had to muster all the energy, and determination we had, but also we could rely on all the participants support and encouragement to complete the challenge successfully.

The teams were coming from China, Singapore, Hong Kong and the UK, all gathered for one purpose: to support the vital work from the Sailors’ Society with Seafarers and their communities. And there is no doubt that the solidarity on the Great Wall is a true reflection of the solidarity of all the participants with the Seafarers, those too often forgotten actors of the shipping industry. Altogether USD115,000 have been raised so far by the 25 participating teams, and fundraising is ongoing until December 2018 with a total target of USD150,000, so do not hesitate to join our sponsors and donate at our Justgiving page.

We would like to extend a big thank you to our Corporate sponsors: Latitude Solutions, West of England, M Yachts, Markel, North of England, Chubb, C Solutions and the MECO Group, and also to all our generous supporters who have contributed and helped us raise USD10,528 for the Sailors Society. Fundraising is open until December !

This was a very well run challenge, the Sailors Society team worked tirelessly to ensure the event ran smoothly, at the same time as being present on the hike with all participants, a fantastic effort from their part !  More on their view of the event on their website.