The saddle of the exercise bike and my royal back side became acquainted just over a month ago. I cannot say it was a bumpy ride or in fact a ride anywhere far as it is difficult to explore the country roads when your bike has no wheels and only moves inches when you hit a high tempo. Nonetheless, it became a daily routine and there’s nothing I would enjoy doing more. On the other hand, to be quite frank, it is not like Dhaka has too many sport activities to offer either, unless you want to count the fierce darts clashes that I reserved my Tuesday nights for. Although, I do not wish to underestimate the importance of the concentration that is so essential in this noble pub game, but that alone will not take me up on any mountain.
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Riding is great for strength and stamina. After a month being an ‘easy rider’ I upped the tempo and now write circles with my ankles for an hour flat, doing just under 40 kilometres. To give you a perspective on this, it is roughly 900 calories burnt which is no less than three pints of Guinness in a lovely Welsh pub, a much loved exercise that you cannot enjoy in semi-alcohol-free Dhaka. After a gentle first 10 minutes, I settle on a 40 km/h tempo, keeping a watchful eye on the display making sure I do not wander off too deep in my thoughts. Continuity is just as important as overall strength and stamina. There is another component of my training: Balance and flexibility.

Tai Chi could be an excellent trek preparation exercise as it focuses not only on strengthening the legs’ quads muscles but also on well-balanced weightless stepping techniques. It was recommended to me and I recommend it to you, but if you want to design a perfect training plan in Dhaka do not have high hopes. Somehow, leisure and recreation is not a big thing in Bangladesh but how could it be a priority in a country with 60 million people living right under the poverty line and the rest working 12-14 hours a day.
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In my search for good replacement I found hatha yoga. I left the first session with the bitter impression that yoga and I will not be best friends. I simply had no idea how inflexible I was. Pyramid and then snake position. So far so good. And then more twisting and stretching of the unstretchable parts. Don’t forget to inhale and exhale. Everything happens in slow motion and half way through I just want the pain to go away. Pain is a great way of training the mind but it is tormenting my body. The instructor shakes his head in disbelief, I cannot be that bad, I look up again, try to shadow the flow of his moves and am certain in time I will get there…a long long time though but I will get there. 

My partner does everything with ease and an annoying smile on her face. She is 14 years of jazz and classic ballet ahead of me in terms of flexibility but her enthusiasm for our newly found hobby will be my motivation. So hatha yoga, here I come again.

* I am off to yoga with my lovely purple yoga mat..


For more on adam's adventures... click here!

 

So, you're going for a stroll? 

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Sir Ranulph Feinnes OBE, arguably the world's greatest living explorers, was once asked what kept him going during his Everest expedition. He replied; 

"I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep trudging forward, thinking there is no end point to the journey" 

A simple and profound piece of advice from a man who has experienced life in a way very few of us ever will. But what is interesting is his use of the word 'trudging'. A quick flutter on Google will provide several definitions; 'to walk in a laborious, heavy-footed way', 'a long, tedious walk' or 'to walk slowly with heavy steps, usually as a result of exhaustion or harsh conditions'. 

These are all perfectly valid offerings but I feel that there is an aspect of the verb 'to trudge' missing from it's definition. Although an abstract aspect of meaning, I'm of the opinion that it is a very important omission, one in which may even create a new meaning of the word entirely. 

Fiennes has been admired for his fierce determination which has been said to come from his ability to live in the moment rather than fixate on an end goal. It is in this spirit I believe trudging should be viewed. Rather than trudging being the end product of immense effort and an inevitable period of any challenge, it should be viewed as the necessary mindset in which to attempt a intensely demanding challenge. To trudge should be the ability to focus on the moment whilst continuously progressing forward, regardless of external factors, whether physically drained or otherwise.   

This idea of trudging, living in the moment and simply putting one foot in front of the other offers us the perfect psychology to adopt when taking on our challenge.

Ladies and gentlemen... without further ado...

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With the mental grit of Sir Ranulph and our bold re-definition of a verb to inspire us, we are pleased (and somewhat terrified) to announce our route. 

Now this is not set in stone neither do we have major commitments in each area. This intimidating itinerary is the best route we can muster that gives us a good chance of completing the challenge. 

We do have the added advantage of amazingly kind friends and family offering resupplies on each weekend of the challenge. So at max we will only have to carry 7 days gear and food at one time. This was, as you can imagine, great news and has given us both a confidence boost and made planning that much easier.


DAY START

Chester
Towyn
Penmaenmawr
Red Wharf Bay
Cemaes Bay
Penrhos Feilw
Malltraeth 
Caernarfon
Nefyn
Rhiw
Llanystumdwy
Harlech
Tywyn
Brynowen 
New Quay
Poppit Sands
Fishguard
Whitesands
Marloes
Pembroke Dock
Bosherston
Amroth
Camarthen
Llanelli
Llangennith
Swansea
Ogmore by Sea
Barry
Nash

+ 1 day in the bank

DAY END

Towyn
Penmaenmawr 
Red Wharf Bay
Cemmaes Bay
Penrhos Feilw
Malltraeth
Caernarfon
Nefyn
Rhiw
Llanystumdwy
Harlech
Tywyn 
Brynowen
New Quay
Poppit Sands
Fishguard
Whitesands 
Marloes
Pembroke Dock
Bosherston
Amroth
Camarthen 
Llanelli 
Llangennith
Swansea
Ogmore by Sea
Barry
Nash
Chepstow

In case of emergency 

MILEAGE/TOTAL

30/30
27/57
34/91
25/125
32/157
30/187
30/217
26/243
30/273
31/304
30/334
32/366
30/396
30/426
30/456
30/486
29/515
34/549
30/579
32/612
25/637
31/668
30/698
30/728
30/758
30/788
30/818
30/848
24/862

These aren't 100% accurate but are as close as possible for the time being. 
||| IF ANYONE WANTS TO JOIN US FOR A SECTION, A MILE OR EVEN A SECOND, YOU ARE MORE THAN WELCOME. ||||
WE PLAN ON INVITING SCHOOLS TO WALK WITH US TOO! 
BY WALKING WITH US YOU ARE SHOWING YOUR SUPPORT FOR ACTION TO IMPROVE CHILDREN'S HEALTH IN THE U.K.
YOU CAN LEAVE US A COMMENT AT THE BOTTOM IF YOU'RE INTERESTED OR EMAIL adamrob01@gmail.com. 

If that wasn't challenging enough.

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FUEL
We've still got to figure out the best way to fuel ourselves through the mammoth task. With a calorie consumption thus far worked out at 5000-7000 calories per day, fueling the well-oiled bio-mechanical machines we will definitely be is proving difficult. 

We've learnt that a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein must be adhered to and products like Cytomax can help this. Avoiding sugary products that will give fast highs but dramatic drops in energy is also important. 

Expedition Foods have kindly offered us some support, who coincidentally provided Feinnes with his sustenance, offers lightweight, high calorie meals solving some of our problems. Cost is proving to be an issue. 

The reassuring thing is that breakfast is sorted. Ziplock bags filled with protein porridge (available from supplement stores), brown sugar, dried milk powder and raisins provide a delicious base to which we can evolve. Adding things like Omega-3 rich milled linseed and other powdered supplements such as whey protein can create a 'super-food' like porridge giving us a great start to every day. Besides, we LOVE porridge. 
 

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Ultra-Light Gear: Infinite Trade-Offs
If I had to tell someone one thing about the world of Ultra-Light backpacking it would be this. NO ONE WINS. There seems to be always someone offering more and more expensive options for lightening your load or on the other hand, home-made innovations provide light weight packing for a shoe-string budget.
The constant cost to weight trade-offs are literally unbearable and for a group of guys who are inexperienced, underfunded and have little time to offer the ultra-light Gods, we are in a very tricky place indeed. 
Some very kind people have offered their help but with a self-funded budget of very little and so many decisions to make, there are only so many emails we can send and to be honest, so many emails people have the patience to reply to. 
We understand that every little helps and any horsing around (apologies TESCOS fans) with regards to callas weight decisions can be costly. We will tread lightly but confidently in this area and let you know how we're getting on, once we start to spend. 


Anything else?

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Apart from the immense amount of training taking up 4-6 hours a day, 6 days and week, the never ending amount of promoting that needs to be done and not forgetting the main reason we're all here, encouraging people to donate to our cause.... I think we're doing OK. 
When it comes to the challenge I like to think we have a tight grasp on small aspects of a mammoth task. The magnitude of the challenge dictates that having anything more than this could lead to us simply going insane. 

So, we must 'trudge', in it's newest sense and live in the moment  NOT thinking about the sheer volume of steps that will get us to the finish. 
Fuel is key and so is our gear. However, with little money sacrifices must be made, accepted and understood. 
I think we're all happy with what stands in front of us and are simply concentrating on what we can accomplish, not afraid of what people think is impossible. I think Feinnes surmises very well; 

“With fear, you must prevent not cure. Fear must not be allowed to take hold in the first place. If you are in a canoe never listen to the roar of the rapid ahead before you let go of the river bank. Just do it!” - Sir Ranulph Feinnes. 

You can donate directly to our causes via paypal using the link below. We thank you for your continuous support. 

 

The morning after the night before...

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You wake up in a panic. The alarm sounds the beginning of your routine. It's 7.30am and you're picking up exactly where you left off. Thoughts and ideas reforming in your head, those emails that need a response and the time-consuming training that needs to be done, all instantly gripping you practically predicting your every movement for the next 24 hours. As you sip on your coffee you quickly and begrudgingly realise that once again, there simply will not be enough time to squeeze it all in today. 

Every job on that list you made last night becomes less important as the new day brings another job that takes top priority, even though you thought last night's list would be 'the final list'. Your regular porridge brings some comfort as you evaluate your options. "Today I'll train hard, hopefully get those emails sent and head to work, if it's quiet I'll get that blog sorted and price up my gear, if I'm lucky I can get home and work on my core then sleep." When you finally crawl into bed, after completing what you think were the most pressing matters of the day, you're asleep in minutes. Although in those minutes, you're very much aware that today, tomorrow and every day after will always be a little too short. 

THE INFINITE TO-DO LIST

Since first thinking up 'The Wales Coast Challenge' back in March 2012, my days have increasingly become consumed by everything that goes a long with a charity challenge. You've got your;

  • Training - A time consuming yet vital part of any big challenge. There is no use in publicising a challenge that you physically are not ready for. For us, we train 6 times a week. Training sessions can range anywhere from 1 - 7 hours long depending on the day. 3 days strength/endurance weight training, HIIT training 4 days a week, Hill walking, endurance walking, aerobic training, cardio-circuits, Pilates, flexibility + balance training, running, swimming and boxing. Typing that was a work out! 
  • Emailing - Something you wouldn't expect taking up a lot of time but when approaching the press, sponsors, the experts and whoever else will make your life just a little easier, each email must be crafted. Must be fine-tuned so that each opportunity is utilised. A template email will get you nothing but misery but a well worked, thoughtful email to a potential partner or supporter can move you great leaps in the right direction
  •  Promoting - Everything from creating posters to building your social media presence, driving people to your donation page is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. You can train and email to your hearts content but if people don't donate, you've missed the point completely. Not only because you don't raise money, but a donation signifies that your message is getting through. People not only understand why but believe in what you're doing. 
  • Earning - In a perfect world, this would be my job. But it's not and working to be able to pay for all of this and to live takes time. 40 hours a week to be exact. 
  • Eating - Some say nutrition is 80% of your training. If you put unleaded in a diesel car... it's gonna blow. It's the same for us. If you put the wrong foods into your body then the mechanisms that allow you to progress won't function well, if at all. Finding the right stuff to eat would be easy as pie if you had all the money in the world, but since earning take up our time then it's clear to see we don't have that money. So you have to be smart, and being smart takes time. 
  • Planning - I don't think many people have tried to walk 860 miles in 30 days. Neither does the knowledge on how to come naturally or is it easily found on the net. What to eat? What to take or more importantly, what to leave? How heavy is it all? How much does it cost? If I can't afford that then how do I get the best weight to price ratio? How long is all this going to take? Where do I stay? Will camping be of detriment to my over night recovery? Will hotels be too expensive or not in the spirit of the challenge?  Questions that do not answer themselves... let me tell you. 
  • Sleeping - A training athlete needs 8-10 hours of sleep to recover properly. A normal human being needs 6-8 hours sleep to allow their bodies to repair and re-cooperate ready for the next day. When 8-10 hours of sleeping leaves you with 14 - 16 hours to Train, Email, Promote, Earn, Eat and Plan... then things start to get a little frantic.

Is that all you're going to do? 

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Yup, I'm aware that it sounds like all this blog wants to do is complain. I assure you this is not the case. I want to show you what goes on behind the scenes of those big fundraisers that come into your life as quickly as they leave it. They are a flash in the pan and it is the end result that we see and brings in the donations. Which I feel is a pity if people knew what went into getting the fundraiser to the start line. 

At the moment, making this challenge a success does feel like a never ending circle of things to do, with never enough time to do what we want and always wishing we could do more. 

There are times when I doubt the ideas we have, we argue amongst ourselves and I even question why we even started in the first place. 

Then I open my laptop and read an article on the BBC website. The title reads; 

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CENSUS 2011: SOUTH WALES VALLEYS RANK BOTTOM FOR HEALTH.

CLICK HER TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE

I take another sip of my coffee. A strange relief washes over me. 

That's right. After reading this headline, I was not shocked or surprised, nor instantly moved or concerned. I was simply, relieved. 
Relieved because there is a reason why we do this. Why we spend all of our time trying to make this challenge a success. Any way we can. 
Whether it be though a financial partnership, linking up with schools or completing a challenge that hasn't been done before (that is all 860 miles in 30 days, the Wales Coast Path has been completed by 8 people in various time frames).

All of what we do, everything we work towards, is to give children the opportunities and the chances to prosper in their lives. It could be through re-connecting with nature. It could be through learning to fundraise. It could even be by simply knowing that there are children around the world less fortunate than themselves. Everything we've done will have been worth it. 

This is Help Us Learn saying, we're doing everything we can to raise money and awareness for issues that affect children worldwide. We hope you take the time to check that out... and put a cheeky donation down too! We'd also like to put a request in for some more hours in the day. That would be great. 

ALL DONATIONS GO DIRECTLY TOWARDs the JVF-Nepal 'PRIMAry school extension' project/funding projects that re-connect children with nature. 

We prefer paypal for speedy and safe donations. 

 
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Win the experience 
The GORE-TEX Experience Tours give outdoor enthusiasts the chance to tackle some of the best outdoor challenges under the priceless supervision of seasoned pros. 
From mountaineering to outdoor photography, their experience gives lucky participants unique opportunities to master the unexpected and utilise what our great natural spaces has to offer. 
By putting in an application for each tour, possible candidates must post answers to questions like 'What is your motivation?' and 'How would you describe your personality?' onto the experience tour applicants page. 
They hope that people vote on their application and help build some awareness through their social media channels. Participants are then picked based on their online votes, a judges vote and an athletes vote. 
We are trying to be one of those lucky participants. 

We have applied to be a part of their latest experience tour that takes place on March 17th, just two weeks before we are due to set off on our 860 mile walk,

The 14 Peaks of Snowdonia 
The Fourteen Peaks Challenge will see three winners attempt to climb all fourteen of Snowdonia National Park's 3000ft+ peaks in 5 days. With this challenge being right on our door step and the Wales Coast Challenge just two weeks later, we pounced on the chance to be a part of this unique training opportunity. 
The benefits of taking on this challenge are both numerous and priceless. 

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Priceless Preparation

Physical - Starting with the most obvious, tackling 14 3000ft+ peaks in 5 days is amazing training for the body. Although we could go and tackle them ourselves, being part of a group will allow us to really push ourselves. 


Mental - Training for the Wales Coast Challenge has been great for our mental health, just being outdoors more often and having a more balanced lifestyle. But as our jobs and other commitments constantly move our focus away from the task at hand, taking part in the GORE TEX challenge will give us that mental focus we need 2 weeks before walking a country's entire coast line. 


Gear - By March 17th, we'll hopefully have all the gear we need. Whether or not we'll be well versed in the use of all this gear, which to be honest will be pretty new to us, will be another thing. So this will be a great chance for us to get used to all of our gear and perhaps discover things we'll need we never would have thought of. The benefits of being around experienced pros. 


Experience - And finally, experience. The reason why the Gore Tex Experience Tours exist. To give people like us the chance to learn from people who have spent their lives utilizing the outdoors. What we could learn from the tour experts will be invaluable, this experience could even mean the difference between completing and not completing the challenge. A bold statement but you never know!

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So that's it for now, we're still training hard after the festive season lull! 
Between amazing meetings with the guys at JVF-Nepal, the seemingly endless amounts of training and general awareness building activities, we'll try and find some time to keep getting this blog out and keeping you up to date on how our projects are benefiting from your involvement.  

Don't forget to check out the rest of the website for all the info and links you need about Help Us Learn and our projects!
For our next blog, we'll be discussing the issue of 'Natural Childhood' and how re-connecting children with nature will benefit the country in so many positive ways. 

To read 'Natural Childhood' by Stephen Moss; 
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk//servlet/file/store5/item823323/version1/Natural%20Childhood%20Brochure.pdf

For a full low down on the GORE TEX fourteen peaks challenge itinerary;  
http://www.experience-tour.com/tour/fourteen-peaks-challenge/

We'd like to quickly thank Lynne Allbutt (@LynneAllbutt) for the article in the Western Mail and Dave Cornthwaite (@DaveCorn), adventurer and author best known for his Expedition1000 project, for the advice.  
 
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Due to a shortage of teachers one day at the Jhumlawang Primary School, this little guy stepped up and volunteered to teach a classroom of his younger peers. JVF-Nepal are the community based foundation that are working to improve the conditions of this school and all other aspects of key sustainable infrastructure that the village of Jhumlawang needs to be self sufficient. One of it's members describes the story whilst on a visit to the village; 

"One day during my visit last year in December, I was just passing by our primary school. I heard a bit of an unusual voice in a class, and other kids were repeating what he was saying! So, I walked towards that class and there he was. A little boy acting as a teacher and teaching his Juniors! The confidence I saw on him at that very moment re-affirmed my belief that our community certainly has a better future!!" 

- Buddha Kush - JVF International Coordinator
 
Now at the time, this simple act may have been only looked upon as an act of great kindness.  However, if you look at the situation of the village you'll begin to understand that this act exemplifies the attitude and spirit of the people of Jhumlawang. 
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The village, and surrounding villages, are in desperate need of electricity, not only as it is an obvious necessity of modernity but it will speed up progress of other building projects including the extension of the Jhumlawang Primary School. 

The school that is producing confident and intelligent children such as the child mentioned above.  

They have been lucky to some extent in the sense that the Alternative Energy Department of Nepal have initiated the Kyangsi Khola River Micro-Hydro project that will provide electricity to Jhumlawang and it's neighbouring village of Kyangsi. 

This project isn't a gift. To make it work, both communities must contribute at least 40% of the total budget allowed. In this case, €96,000 worth of physical labour must be put forward. This is done through a contractual and moral obligation that one member of every family must work on the 'Micro-Hydro' project.

This is the case with all progression in Jhumlawang. All projects, from the Primary School to the Community Health Centre, are subsidized, as much as they can be, by human resources that are locally available. The villagers show that they are doing everything they can do make their village a more sustainable place to live. Their attitude very much reflects a famous, yet religious, quote 'God helps those who help themselves.' In doing all of this, their aims are to try and inspire neighboring villages to follow this way of life. 
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Although, as a result of their hard work and commitment to a better, more sustainable future, human resources are spread too thin over their current projects. The Primary School Extension, that the 'Help Us Learn: Wales Coast Challenge' is raising funds for, has had to be delayed to allow more time and resources to be spent on the 'Micro-Hydro' project. Which in itself needs to be finished before monsoon season, July 2013.

As you can see, our work is more important now than it's ever been. The phrase 'our work' doesn't just mean Help Us Learn and JVF-Nepal, it's all of us working together and gaining understanding for a better future, just like the people of Jhumlawang.  

We're taking on this challenge in the hope that you can be aware of these issues and others like it around the world. The funds we raise will go to making all their work worthwhile. 

You can find out about the great work being done by JVF-Nepal and the people of Jhumlawang to create a sustainable way of life here; www.jvf-nepal.org or follow the links below. 
 
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I have never really understood blogging. That is until I had something to blog about. Yet, after reading several articles with names such as '100 tips a blogger should always know' and 'You're not a blogger unless...', I still felt that my most important questions had been left unanswered.

"Why would people read this blog? Why would they care? or even, What would they get out of it, if they were to both read and care about this blog?"

So we thought we would explain our reasons for this blog with the aim of helping you understand why it exists, the difference it can make and hopefully allow us to answer some of those questions. 

Why this blog exists

Throughout this blog, which will end in May 2013, we'll be learning about the best ways to get outdoors, how to make it accessible and how today's society can find more reasons to be outside.
From hiking tips to gear tips, the projects we help and those we plan on helping, we hope that you can learn with us and discover the benefits our natural spaces can offer us. 

We're utilising the Wales Coast Path, a path with many plaudits, to create a fundraiser that will get people interested and raise much needed funds for sustainable education, but for those who have not got the time, reconnecting with nature can offer so many physical, mental and emotional benefits that to ignore the current decline in outdoor child activity would be counter-productive to say the least.
If along the way we can all collaborate on these issues then we will hopefully create a blog that will help fund sustainable education, create awareness of our need to reconnect with nature and become a platform that will allow us all to learn together.

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The Difference It Can Make

We're not trying to say this blog is going to change the world. The way this blog is going to make a difference is in affecting how far we will walk in April 2013. 
There's a chance, with the help of your input, for our ideas to evolve for an optimum output. Your comments on how we could choose a better hiking route or different style of training will be priceless. Which in more appropriate terms means that your information, your advice, your feedback could mean the difference between walking 700 miles and raising, let's say, £20,000, and us walking 860 miles which would raise £30,000. 

Your input could honestly be that valuable to us.   

The Answers To Our Questions

Why would people read this blog? 
Well hopefully they would like to learn how to make the outdoors work for them. Maybe they want to get fit for low cost and mountain walking is perfect for them. Maybe they are dealing with depression or other mental problems, hiking and outdoor activity has actually been proven to help in the healing  and dealing with processes. The main point we're trying to make is; we're learning about the outdoors, you can learn with us.

Why would people care?
The further we walk, the more money we raise. The more money we raise means the more we can spend on sustainable education systems in Nepal and Peru and the more projects we can fund that get kids active, outdoors and knowledgeable about global issues and fundraising. Reconnecting children with the outdoors is more important now than it ever was.
How are we going to walk further? With all of your help, all of your comments and feedback, all of your advice and wisdom. It is all of these things that will allow of to walk as far as we can, raise as much as we can and generate as much positive, sustainable change as we can.  
That is hopefully why people will care. 

What would people get if they were to both read and care about this blog?
They would get the satisfaction of making this challenge a SUCCESS.
A successful challenge results in a lot of good things happening and we can all be a part of it. Just by doing what we do every day. Logging onto the internet and reading about each others lives, we all do it, every single day, sometimes for hours. We want to learn with you, collaborate and enjoy what the coming months has to hold because we believe it has something to offer everyone. 

COLLABORATION. EVOLUTION. SUCCESS. 

We believe this will work. We hope you do to. We look forward to sharing the coming months with you,

The Help Us Learn: Wales Coast Challenge Team. 
 
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Zambleran 313 VIOZ LITE GT
What you see are a once-worn but almost brand new pair of Zamberlan boots. Purchased them from a great store called Up & Under in Cardiff. Great service and they know a thing or two about boots!

Anyways, after much deliberation, several pairs of boots  and one very patient employee, I was fully confident that I had found the boots for me. 

All sounds great. However, during the testing of the boots I had a bit of an anatomical revelation. The patient employee took the measurements of my feet and duly informed the group that my left foot was longer than my right, and in keeping with Murphy's Law that seems to apply to every thing we have done recently, my right foot is broader than my left. 

After following the advice that was given, I wore the boots for an evening around the house to search for those niggling problems that can only become apparent after the foot becomes warmer. I then made the next step knowing that any outdoor use and I would be unable to return these very expensive boots. I took them onto a long, uphill street and strode very carefully to the top. Again no problems. 

I was still able to take these boots back but at that point, had no reason to. It was then I put the boots on and tackled my favourite mountain, Pen y Fan, to continue my training. The terrain on the route I take is uneven which I though would be perfect for putting the boots through the final paces.

Almost to the top, and after the boots taking some very minor, aesthetic scuffs to the front I felt the rubbing. Of course, no prizes for guessing how I felt... besides from the sore heel. I quickly turned back and got down the mountain, which is when I felt the minor pressure on my right foot. 


THE PROBLEM: Whilst on flat, slight up hills and most terrain the boots are near perfect, prolonged, uneven up and down hill walks pose the following problems;


  • Uphills - The left (longer) foot presses into the heel of the boot causing a painful rub. 
  • Downhills - The right (broader) foot is pushed forward and creates too much pressure on the inside edge of the ball of the foot, which isn't particularly painful at the moment but can imagine will become more so after prolonged pressure. 

THE QUESTION: Understandably the main problem is anatomical. The financial problems are less of a worry cause I can always sell the boots at a slight loss (which isn't great considering at the moment we are funding ourselves but isn't a disaster either). 


Do I sell the boots and hunt for a new pair? Bearing in mind that the anatomical problem may always be there and the time and effort spent in this endeavor may be wasted.


or Do I try to customise the boots? If so, how? 


or Is there a third option? 


So this is our dilemma at the moment. Any help would be appreciated and if the humorous yet quite serious story has missed anything, I'll be on hand to fill in the blanks.


Cheers!


The Help Us Learn: Wales Coast Challenge Team 


 
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The community, despite all their members have been working hard for generations, is still far away from meeting the basic needs that are essential in order to lead a prosperous life. Realizing that waiting for the government to cater for their basic needs such as essential health care provisions, primary education, and clean drinking water - that may take several years if not decades to be materialised - a village meeting took place on December 20th, 2008, asking the following questions:

How can natural resources be used in the most sustainable way?

How can the community mobilize human resources and live up to its true potentials so that the living standards of the community are improved?

What will the community leave behind for future generations?

The answer to these questions grew into their ambition: we work together to make this village a 'Role Model Village' in order to improve our living standards and to inspire other village communities in Nepal!

And the key to success is education. And this is where Help Us Learn and the Island Peak Expedition comes into the picture.

http://help-us-learn.org.uk/

http://www.facebook.com/IslandPeakExpedition

Our long term vision:

We are going to establish a Vocational and Technical College in our community by 2025. It may sound too ambitious of a project for some, which is understandable as the primary school building does not meet even the basic standards of school infrastructure at the moment. But we know that without any ambition as well as a well-thought-out plan, decades could pass by and we could still be where we are today. That is an unacceptable state that we will not leave behind for future generations.

Where do we stand?

Our first focus is to improve our primary school building infrastructures, increase the number of teachers, and run adult education programmes in our community. According to a recent survey 65% of the community members cannot read and write!

Therefore, once the community centre is completed by the end of this year, we will have a community hall where we will run adult education programmes every evening for those who never had a chance to go to school. Our goal is to make our village hundred per cent literate within 5 years.

The Island Peak Charity Challenge and the Wales Coast Charity Challenge are part of the final push to provide the essential support that will enable the community to realise their Primary School Extension Project and send two young graduates to Kathmandu to complete a degree in Animal Science and Plant Science.

http://www.walescoastchallenge.weebly.com/

http://www.facebook.com/walescoastchallenge


 
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This April, we'll be attempting to walk the 860 mile Wales Coast Path in under 30 days. This huge expedition is part of a fundraising effort to support sustainable educational projects in Nepal, Peru, and our local community and beyond. 
Help Us Learn aims to raise the money our partner's projects need to continue their work. We then plan on continuing our work with schools through giving talks and running workshops that are designed to teach children about global education issues, fundraising and the importance of getting active and outdoors.

In Nepal we have partnered up with JVF-Nepal. They are a community based non governmental foundation that run projects that cover a range of fields including education, health care and sustainable agricultural development. With sustainability at the core of everything they do, Help Us Learn share these beliefs and goals that aim to create sustainable education systems. We are trying to raise an initial £7,500 to help extend their primary school which will improve the quality of the education they receive but also allow them to receive further schooling. One of the major problems is that they are not able to receive levels 6,7 and 8 of schooling and at the moment are forced to choose between a treacherous 2 hour trip in monsoon season to get this education or STOP their education all together. 

In Peru, Academia Latinoamericana de Espanol is a well established Spanish language academy based in South America with facilities in Bolivia,Ecuador and Peru. The organisation runs volunteer programs which include work in areas such as kindergarten, youth rehabilitation centres, babies and young children, nursery and primary school, medicine, disabled children and adults, children’s homes, wildlife park and community outreach.
The projects and programs have seen the lives of many children and adults alike changed for the better by providing a safer place in which to live and study.

In our local community we want to teach children about the projects we work to fund and the wider issues that affect children in similar positions around the world. Teaching children at an earlier age gives them a chance to experience these issues and we hope that as they grow older and have the capacity to fully understand them, they will be more inclined to act on the knowledge they have. 
We want to raise money to fund our school projects and allow ourselves the chance to give talks and run workshops designed to teach children about global issues, fundraising and the importance of being active. 
A big part of the talk is trying to get them thinking about unique, interesting ways to fundraise. Hopefully their ideas take them outdoors and beyond, this is important for several reasons. Fundraising teaches vital leadership, organisational qualities and ignites creative skills whilst getting them outdoors combats child inactivity. As mentioned, child inactivity is something we have been concerned with since the beginning and with a plethora of new research being published recently it's time to really start finding ways to combat it. 

What we aim to achieve is simple. Raise enough money to support sustainable education systems abroad and tell children in the UK about our efforts. We want children to be aware of these issues and inspire them to think of creative ways to help fund more educational projects around the world. Children can be the most creative people in the world because they are not afraid to be wrong. By working to fund our partners projects and inspiring children to carry out similar work hopefully we'll inspire a new generation of 'sustainable fundraisers'. People who are aware of the issues, aware of how to fundraise and when the opportunity comes in their lives to contribute to the global effort, these people will embrace it. As opposed to never knowing the opportunity was there for them to utilize. 

We're inviting you to follow our blog and learn about the projects, organisations and the people trying to solve some of the above problems. 

Wishing you good times during the festive season, 

The Help Us Learn Team.