A daring duo of Welsh Ambulance Service staff are taking the high road and walking the length of Wales — all for charity.
Paramedic Kevin O’Connor and his Emergency Medical Technician wife Cath, based in Bargoed, are aiming to complete the epic 298-mile Cambrian Way challenge in three weeks, and have even used up their annual leave to do so.
Setting off from Cardiff Castle on 01 September they hope to reach Conwy Castle on the North Wales coast by 21 September, raising plenty of awareness and a bit of cash along the way for The Ambulance Staff Charity (TASC).
Kevin said: “We want to highlight the struggle all ambulance services have been going through the last four months, and support colleagues who may need help, especially on the mental health side through the months that lie ahead in this, the worst pandemic in living memory.”
Already well into a training routine of regular 15 mile walks the pair are aiming to complete between 14 and 23 miles a day depending on terrain during the challenge.
“For us, this test really starts once we get past Abergavenny and the big mountains begin,” said Kevin.
“We’re confident we’ll make the 300 miles but the middle and North are tougher — but that’s where we like to be.
“We’ll be camping most nights but will take a B&B every third or fourth night.”
Expecting to burn around 5,000 calories each a day they will be taking packets of dehydrated vegetables and plenty of pasta for their camping stove.
A loyal network of friends and colleagues will be meeting them at key points along the way to help fuel them up and provide other essential supplies.
Both coming from military backgrounds, the pair are no strangers to tough physical challenges, and on previous smaller treks in Scotland and the Alps, have carried up to 50lbs in weight each in their rucksacks.
This time they plan to travel a bit lighter and with the help of kind sponsor CC Accountants Ltd have been able to purchase some modern lightweight kit and a GoPro camera to help document the Mammoth trip.
“We’ll be navigating with a map and compass but we do have a GPS system as well.
“We really can’t wait to get going,” said Cath.
Kevin and Cath have set themselves a £5,000 total to reach for TASC and are well on their way to that already.
“It would be great if we could smash that total as well as raising awareness of the work and stresses ambulance staff across the UK go through every day,” said Kevin.
The revered Cambrian Way challenge involves 22,500 metres of ascent and involves the summiting of many famous peaks including Wales’ highest, Mount Snowdon.
To donate to the cause and wish the intrepid couple well, visit their Just Giving page here.