Dr Robert Verkerk and Meleni Aldridge of the Dorking based Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) successfully completed the ‘ UK 4 Peaks Challenge’ last Saturday morning (23 June), having ascended and descended the 4 highest peaks in the each of the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom, as a continuous walking challenge.
26th June 2007, Dorking, United Kingdom
Dr Robert Verkerk and Meleni Aldridge of the Dorking based Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) successfully completed the ‘ UK 4 Peaks Challenge’ last Saturday morning (23 June), having ascended and descended the 4 highest peaks in the each of the four constituent countries of the United Kingdom, as a continuous walking challenge. The challenge was undertaken as a fundraising event for the ANH (www.anhcampaign.org ), which is in urgent need of funds to help support its ground-breaking work on the protection and promotion of natural health.
Robert and Meleni commenced the challenge at 8.30am on Thursday 21st June at the base of Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland and successfully completed the full 48 miles of this gruelling test of endurance when they descended back down to the foot of Ben Nevis at 10.40am on Saturday 23rd June. The pair completed the course in a total of 23.5 hours walking time (1.5 hours within the maximum time allotted) with the only chance of rest being on the coach journeys and a ferry crossing to cover the 700 miles between the peaks. The challenge involved climbing Slieve Donard (849 m altitude) in Northern Ireland (8 miles walking, commenced 8.30am Thursday morning), Snowdon (1085m altitude) in northern Wales (12 miles walking, commenced 10.30pm Thursday night), Scafell Pike (978m altitude) in North-Western England (16 miles walking, commenced 11.30am Friday morning) and Ben Nevis (1344m altitude) in western Scotland (12 miles walking, commenced 3.30am Saturday morning). The event was organised by the UK’s leading outdoor adventure company, UK Outdoor Pursuits.
Dr Rob Verkerk, executive and scientific director of the ANH said, “For 5 years we at the ANH have put our hearts and souls into our unique work, but we felt it was now time to literally walk the talk and put our bodies into the campaign! We faced some gruelling weather, snow at the top of Ben Nevis, and we covered every ascent and descent with full packs including a host of natural health products that helped to sustain us, from state-of-the-art electrolytes, to energy bars, fruits, seeds and nuts.”
Meleni Aldridge added, “As a first-timer to athletic events, let alone an endurance event of this nature, this was a tough challenge for an initiation. I was apprehensive about making all the peaks—most via their long routes—in the times allowed, with little recovery time and the unavoidable sleep deprivation. I’m thrilled to say that despite the pain and the discomfort, I made it. I’d like to thank on behalf of the ANH all the people and companies who have sponsored us.”
Many people in the UK attempt the 3 Peaks Challenge each year (Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis), but only 1 in 7 attempt the endurance marathon of the 4 Peaks. As a continuous walking challenge the 4 peaks is gruelling and requires participants to complete each mountain within a set time period, amounting to a maximum 25 hours, with full packs containing everything from safety and survival equipment, head torches for the night climbs, to changes of clothing – all necessities to support 2 days and nights in the mountains facing the wind, rain, snow and sometimes the sun.
Several people were suffering exhaustion and the pain generated by 24 miles of jarring downhill over rocks in steep terrain, that they failed to complete Ben Nevis and therefore the challenge.
Sponsorship set to raise £5000
The ANH is urgently seeking funding to help continue its pioneering work for the protection and promotion of natural healthcare and Robert and Meleni hope to raise £5000 from their completing the 4 Peaks Challenge.
They are still slightly short of this target and donations can still be made to the ANH via the UK Outdoor Pursuits website, through the following link: www.takeupthechallenge.com/anh. On the navigation bar, click on ‘On-line donation’ and follow the instructions. Sponsorship of either or both Robert and Meleni can be made by quoting their booking references and names:
Dr Robert Verkerk 4011/4P07 Meleni Aldridge 4010/4P07
Under ‘Event’, make sure you select ‘4 Peaks Challenge’ from the drop down menu.
For further information contact: Meleni AldridgeAlliance for Natural Health The Atrium, Curtis RoadDorking, Surrey RH4 1XA United Kingdom Tel: 01306 646 550 Fax: 01306 646 552 E-mail: [email protected]
Adrian Shaw Ikon Associates (PR for ANH) 6 Quarry Street Guildford, Surrey GU1 3UR United Kingdom Tel: 01483 535102 Mobile: 0797 9900733 E-mail: [email protected]
Photographs: High resolution photographs of Meleni and Robert, taken during the event, can be obtained from Ikon Associates on request. Thumbnail images can be provided to allow selection.
The ANH is a UK-based, EU-focused, international, legal-scientific, non-governmental organisation that is working on behalf of consumers, medical doctors, complementary health practitioners and food manufacturers and distributors, to protect and promote natural healthcare, using the principles of good science and good law. The ANH’s principal objective is to help develop an appropriate legal-scientific framework and environment for the development of sustainable approaches to healthcare. Within this setting, consumers and health professionals should be able to make informed choices about a wide range of health options, and in particular those that relate to diet, lifestyle and non-drug-based or natural therapies, so that they may experience their benefits to the full while not exposing themselves to unnecessary risks.
The ANH is urgently seeking funding in particular to help continue its legal action on the EU Food Supplements Directive and to help complete the many health claims submissions it needs to file prior to September this year. These initiatives aim to make it much easier for naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals to be sold EU-wide as food supplements, and for scientifically-backed health claims to be made without products falling foul of EU medicines law. In addition to this, the ANH needs funds to help support its work on Codex Alimentarius, as well as initiatives it is presently working on in the USA, Canada, India, New Zealand and Australia, all aimed at protecting freedom of choice in healthcare and encouraging the use of foods and nutritional products for the purpose of healthcare.
About the ‘4 Peaks Challenge’
To ascend the highest peaks in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales is a major Challenge undertaken by many walkers each year. There are many reasons for attempting the Challenge, whether it be to raise funds for deserving charitable causes, to test yourself against the mountains or simply for the sheer enjoyment of being amongst some of the most dramatic scenery in the World. Whatever your reason for rising to the Challenge it will be one of the most memorable experiences you will have.
When organising The Four Peaks Challenge our main concern was that not only would the event be operated as safely as possible but also that it should be achievable by any reasonably active person with no mountaineering experience. Another large concern was that the event should have no impact on the fragile mountain environment and that there should be no disruption to local residents or farming activities.
You are under no pressure at all to reach all, or even any, of the summits. You are being asked to try your best, that is all anyone can ask.
As a continuous walking challenge there is little or no rest (apart from the coach journeys) between mountains. You may encounter cold, wet and windy conditions so you will need to be prepared to carry a complete change of clothing in your rucksack. At any time of the year the weather in the British Mountains can be very unpredictable. It is extremely important that EVERYONE taking part in The Four Peaks Challenge has the correct equipment and clothing.