Ever wanted to lose two stone in a matter of weeks, eating and drinking absolutely anything that takes your fancy? Well it’s not only possible; it’s exactly what local business owner Jim Trevor did this summer.
For most of us, the early summer was much the same as any other. Disappointing British weather, an even more disappointing English football team, Wimbledon, Glastonbury or maybe even the blissful hiatus of a week in the sun.
For restaurateur Jim and his 22-year-old son James, a student, this summer turned out a little differently. The pair decided to embark on a mammoth challenge in the name of charity. They planned to walk across the French Pyrenees on a route called the GR10, from the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean Sea. The route was roughly 600 miles long and contained the same elevation and descent as climbing from sea level to the summit of Everest five times (more ups and downs than a Saturday afternoon at London Road).
Their chosen charity was the Make-A-Wish Foundation, who grant life altering wishes to children with life threatening illness across the UK and around the globe. The charity is one that is close to their hearts and they successfully raised over £10,000 thanks to the generosity of friends and family, along with customers at Peterborough’s The Beehive in Albert Place and The Six Bells at Witham-on-the-Hill.
The pair departed from the town of Hendaye on the Atlantic coast of France on June 6, fully laden with 20kg packs. Of course there were some hairy moments along the way and the tent almost being trampled by a herd of wild horses on night one, set the tone for the rest of the expedition.
The pair battled the elements, from freezing blizzards and snow capped peaks to blazing heat and stifling humidity, to cross one of the most aggressive landscapes on the planet.
They finished the expedition in the Mediterranean seaside town of Banyuls-Sur-Mer.
Not to disappoint the fans at home, who waited with baited breath to see who pushed who off the edge of a mountain, the pair kept a blog along the way - posting whenever technology and civilisation allowed.
The highlight for James was probably around the halfway point when his boxer shorts saw a washing machine for the first time in four weeks. The blog, which can be read in its entirety at trevorspyreneanadventure.wordpress.com turned out to be quite a comedic hit and allowed those who had sponsored to follow the expedition in real time, warts and all.
Jim and James walked across a continent and the highlight for chef Jim, 50, - apart from growing a full beard - was experiencing the fantastic traditional cuisine of the different regions.
Despite the breath-taking scenery, wholesome local food and plenty of red wine, the trek came at the cost of huge physical burden and Big Jim walked in to the Mediterranean Sea almost three stone lighter than he had waded out of the Atlantic Ocean just six weeks previously. The final day alone was a 50-kilometre march in 36ºc heat, up hill and down dale.
After a few close encounters with several large bulls and even a couple of brown bear scares, the lads limped across the finish line in emphatic style – completing the 600 mile trek, which usually takes around 55 days, in a mere 42.
They departed as complete novices, but returned as seasoned mountaineers.