Five Previous Hikes for Hope, and now a Sixth in Ethiopia!

12 March 2018, Professor Roger Kirby

This November a group of leading medical professionals and supporters join together for a unique trek in the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia and raise funds for The Urology Foundation and Wellbeing for Women, who are uniting to improve the health of men, women and babies. This is TUF President, Professor Roger Kirby's, account on how Hike for Hope began.

More than a decade ago Marcus Setchell (now Sir Marcus) came up with the idea of us linking up for a “Hike for Hope” in order to raise funds for both gynaecological and urological charities. Marcus and I met up with Ann Frampton, from Action for Charity (now Dream Challenges), and plans were made for our first Hike for Hope in Jordan across the desert to Petra. What an adventure that was! A tough but unforgettable trek across the desert, sweating beneath a hot sun, camping out beneath the stars, finally reaching our apotheosis: the unique archeological wonder that is Petra, reaching its amazing temples and palaces carved into the pink rock via the “ledge of death”!

As a result of the spectacular success (more than £600,000 raised) of the first Hike for Hope adventure, a second trek was organized, this one across the Rift Valley in Kenya. Once again we found ourselves walking 20 or so miles a day, often sleeping outside our tents beneath a cloudless sky, only occasionally disturbed by the distant sounds of African wildlife.

Our third trek found us back in a desert clime, this time the Sinai desert (now out of bounds because of terrorist threat). Starting with a climb to the top of Mount Sinai, we set off across the desert, accompanied by Bedouin tribesman with their camels transporting our provisions, passing amazing rock foundations, struggling up sand dunes and traversing dried up river valleys, all the way to the Red Sea.

Subsequently, our intrepid band of hikers travelled to India to hike in the hills of Kerala, through tropical jungle and spectacular tea plantations. We marched on, undeterred by leeches, which attached themselves to our legs and swelled alarmingly after feasting on our blood and had to be carefully detached at the end of every day.

The fifth Hike for Hope took us to the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and, because of the inclement weather, turned out to be the most difficult of all. The mountains themselves were challenging enough, but a Westerly weather system brought us freezing wind and rain which penetrated our clothes, rucksacks and bedding and had us sheltering in shepherds cottages and goat huts because the deluge precluded the use of tents. Sir Marcus, having neglected to pack a waterproof jacket, was reduced to wearing a plastic bin liner! Cumulatively the 5 Hikes for Hope raised more than £1.3 million!

Now, after a six-year respite, we have decided to embark on yet another adventure. This one in the Simian Mountains of Ethiopia from 17 - 27 November 2018 – in order to raise funds jointly for The Urology Foundation and Wellbeing of Women.

This tough seven-day trek will take us along the Simien Mountain chain to its highest peak at Ras Dashen, which sits at a whopping 4,533m above sea level. Along the way we will be surrounded by stunning vistas of lush green valleys and dramatic ridges. We will look out for the elusive and endangered Simien Wolf, the Lammergeyer (a bearded vulture), the famous Galia Baboons and the Walia Ibex (a large mountain goat). Do come along with us.

To join Professor Kirby and the Hike for Hope for Hope Ethiopia team sign-up with our partners Dream Challenges 

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