Challenge level: 3 out of 5
|25 June - 29 June 2020||On Sale|
Follow in the footsteps of our war heroes on an epic charity challenge along one of the Great War's front lines.
Join us in 2020 for an incredible three-day trek along the World War One Western Front for a military or veteran charity of your choice.
Meeting at the Imperial War Museum in London, we’ll travel to Albert in the Somme of Hauts-de-France and trek a whopping 89km to Belgium in the footsteps of soldiers who fought in the Great War.
Together, we'll keep calm and carry on walking from the Banzentine in France to the Menin Gate Memorial in Belgium's West Flanders, taking in a load of WW1 landmarks as we go, including the Thipeval Memorial to the Missing, Mont St Eloi and Tyne Cot - and that's only to name a few!
Gaining fascinating insight into the Great War and the battles along the Western Front, we’ll have the perfect chance to pay our respects to the fallen, while making friends, getting fit and most importantly, raising crucial funds for military and veteran charities across the UK.
How you fund your challenge is up to you. You can either choose sponsorship and commit to raising a minimum amount for a veteran or military charity of your choice; or you can self fund and then raise as much as you can or make a personal donation to your chosen charity, with no pressure of a minimum target. The Dream Challenges event team will be here and on hand to answer any questions that you might have to help you achieve your challenge of a lifetime.
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Places for this challenge are likely to sell extremely quickly, so please register soon to secure your place.
Our challenge begins at the iconic Imperial War Museum in London. We meet for the first time here for registration and a fantastic tour of the museum’s World War One galleries, before catching our coach to Albert in Northern France, via the Eurotunnel.
Albert sits in the Somme department in Hauts-de-France and endured the first battle of the devastating five-month Battle of the Somme. This was the battle with the largest losses suffered by the British Army in a single day. It’s the perfect – although incredibly sobering - place to commence our trek for military and veteran charities.
This evening, we get settled in our hotel, where we have our first group dinner and a briefing from our experienced challenge leaders.
After breakfast at the hotel, we transfer to Bazentine and commence our trek, quickly paying our respects to the fallen at several World War One sites, including the Flat Iron Copse Cemetery, the Red Dragon Memorial in Death Valley, the Civilian graveyard, the Peake Wood Cemetery and the preserved Lochnagar Crater, where a British mine exploded on the first day of the Somme in World War 1. Along the way, we have the chance to learn more about each of the sites and the soldiers that rest in them.
Trekking further southwards, we come to the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, which salutes 72,337 British and South African servicemen with no known graves, who died in the Battles of the Somme. We have lunch here, drinking in the grand memorial and realising the impact of such a devastating loss of life.
This afternoon sees us trekking to Northern Ireland’s war memorial, the Ulster Tower and then to the trenches of Beaumont Hamel, where many attacks in the Battles of the Somme happened. From here, we soldier on through the countryside and pass several more resting places, including the famous Great War video site of Hawthorne Ridge crater and the Cruachan Cross at the British Cemetery.
Finally, we reach Hébuterne and transfer to our hotel in Arras, a city that sits on a network of World War 1 quarry tunnels.
We start the day with a coach transfer to the Neuville St Vaast German Military Cemetery, which commemorates 44,833 German casualties and brings home again the sheer amount of fatalities on both sides of the war.
From here, we follow quaint country lanes to a small exhibition at the Memorial Park Fraternisation and then climb quite a steep hill on the banks of the river Scarpe to the 7th Century towers of Mont St Eloi. Originally a powerful religious centre, the two towers that stand up here were used by French soldiers to watch German troops on the nearby Lorette Spur and Vimy Ridge. However, the German army fired upon them every time they were there, alerted of their presence by some birds nesting at the top of the towers, which took flight when the soldiers disturbed them. Standing by the towers, we take in the Lorette Spur and Vimy Ridge, envisioning what it would have been like for the troops looking at the same panoramas in 1915.
Then we climb up to the Notre Dame de Lorette, the largest French military cemetery in the world with a beautiful basilica that looks out over more than 40,000 graves. Here, we rest for lunch and visit the Ring of Remembrance (or L’Anneau de la mémoire) inscribed with the names of 576,606 soldiers of forty different nationalities, who died at Nord-Pas-de-Calais.
In the afternoon, we trek to the commune of Vimy, passing through the trenches and ending at the Canadian Monument at Vimy Ridge, Canada’s largest war monument.
After a long day of trekking, we transfer by coach across the border to Ypres in in Belgium’s West Flanders province.
After breakfast at our hotel, we transfer to start our day’s trek at the Welsh National Memorial Park in Langemark, home to the awesome Celtic cromlech memorial and its statue of Wales’ traditional red dragon.
From here, we follow a route through farmland and small towns, stopping briefly to pay our respects to the last WW1 British survivor at the Harry Patch Memorial and the 44,000 German soldiers at the tranquil Langemark German Cemetery, before a break at the Poelcapelle British Cemetery. Once refreshed, we hop back on our feet and trek to the world’s largest Commonwealth war cemetery, the Tyne Cot Cemetery.
We stop for lunch when we reach the Memorial Museum Passchendaele in Zonnebeke in the centre of the Ypres Salient. This is where the 1917 Battle of Passchendaele took place and killed almost 500,000 men in 100 days. On a lighter note, you may want to try some Passendale Cheese, which even now can only be sourced in Zonnebeke. When in Rome…
After lunch, we hike through the Polygon Wood and pass the preserved bunkers tucked in the trees, before reaching the Buttes New British Cemetery, the resting place of 2,108 soldiers and home to the New Zealand Memorial to the Missing. We then trek to the bronze Black Watch Corner Memorial, which commemorates the 50,000 men that served in The Black Watch.
This battalion held the Ypres area and took part in three battles, the first of which was perhaps the British army’s most important defensive battle in the war. From here, we hike uphill to the Canadian Hill 62 Memorial and pay a visit to the nearby Sanctuary Wood Cemetery, museum and preserved trenches, including Talbot House.
Talbot House was a rare place where soldiers could meet and relax regardless of rank, an “Every Man’s Club”. It also marks the start of our last stretch to our finishing point and despite our excitement, we keep calm and carry on trekking until we reach the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial. This landmark pays respect to hundreds of thousands of British troops, who marched to battle and presents the names of 54,000 missing soldiers. Here, our Dream Team gives you your medal and tonight, we enjoy our celebration dinner in Ypres, toasting our amazing accomplishment.
Our fifth day sees us driving back to London, via the Eurotunnel, where we part ways for home and give our legs a good rest!
Pay a non-refundable registration fee and then commit to fundraising a minimum sponsorship amount for your chosen military or veteran charity.
Minimum sponsorship target
Pay the challenge costs yourself and choose to fundraise or donate as much as you can for a military or veteran charity of your choice.
Pay the balance yourself
This challenge is not designed for Olympic athletes – it is designed for people looking for an amazing goal to train and get fit for. A number of the people who will take part on this challenge will have a low fitness level when they sign up, but we strongly recommend that you do train for the challenge. We will provide you with an achievable training plan well ahead of time so you'll be ready and raring to go by the challenge start date. This challenge is the perfect motivation to get fit, lose weight and have an experience of a lifetime.
Please don't be! The majority of people will sign up for Trek for Troops on their own. Once you've signed up for the challenge, we'll send you a link to a private Facebook group for everyone registered for the Trek for Troops Great War Challenge 2020. Please feel free to use this space to swap questions, advice and updates with your fellow trekkers on your training and fundraising. You may also want to reach out to the fellow participants in this group to see if there's anyone in your local area you can meet up to train and fundraise with.
Absolutely not! One of the amazing things about the challenge is that people of all ages will come together to do something very special. Everyone who is at least 18 years old by the challenge date is more than welcome to join this awesome Trek for Troops challenge.
You will need a good pair of hiking boots, warm waterproof clothing and water bottles or a CamelBak-type hydration system. Apart from that, no specialist equipment is required. We will supply a full kit list before you go.
We will stay in comfortable, three-star class hotels on a twin sharing basis for the duration of this challenge.
Porters will carry your luggage, food and water so you will only need to carry a small day pack containing essential accessories and equipment.
Yes of course! If you wish to extend your stay, you will need to make your own arrangements to return to the UK. Please let us know as soon as possible if you decide to do this at email@example.com.
In addition to paying your registration fee, you will need to budget for your personal travel insurance, gratuities, lunch on days 1 and 5 and personal expenses.
You will need to take out your own personal travel insurance covering health, accident, loss and repatriation. Dream Challenges has a recommended policy, which we will send you the details of. You can however take out your own insurance providing it covers you for a charity trek in France and Belgium. Each participant needs to organise their own tourist visa if needed. Currently, UK citizens don't require a visa to enter France or Belgium. If this changes, we will let you know and provide you with all the information you need.
The Dream Challenges team are here to help you achieve your challenge and will support you all the way. We are on hand from the minute you sign up to answer any questions that you may have about your training or the challenge itself. Once you have registered, we will send you a realistic training programme to help you get fit for the challenge. The programme builds up gradually as the event gets closer.
During the trek, we'll have two qualified doctors accompanying the group from the get go and at all times throughout the challenge, along with a team of experienced challenge guides and porters.
We’ll have an event leader, plus two qualified event doctors, who will be with you the whole time.
As we're not medically trained, we're afraid we can't offer you advice on this. We recommend you contact your GP or your local travel clinic, who will have the latest travel health advice.
We also recommend you visit the NHS Fit for Travel website here, to keep up to date with current travel health news and advice on staying healthy abroad.
NHS Fit for Travel website: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home