Hospitality & Tourism

Published: October 30, 2019 | Updated: November 1, 2019

Now that’s quite a trek – Alice to feel the heat as she tackles 100km Sahara Desert challenge

Alice Smee who is trekking 100km through the Sahara Desert to raise funds for Diverse Abilities and also mark her 60th birthday.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A Dorset businesswoman will be feeling the heat when she treks 100km through one of the most inhospitable places on earth.

Alice Smee, Hoburne’s Network Coordinator, is spending five days trekking through the Sahara Desert in Morocco, where temperatures can reach highs of more than 40C.

She volunteered to take part in the epic charity challenge to raise money for Diverse Abilities, Dorset’s disability charity, and also mark her 60th birthday.

Alice said: “I signed up because this year I will celebrate turning 60, and I needed a challenge that will push me out of my comfort zone.

“It’s an organised trek, and I chose the Sahara because, although it will be challenging, it’s good for people that don’t have a lot of experience.

“When we land in Casablanca, we will travel through the mountain range in Southern Morocco to our starting point in the desert.

“The heat is going to play a big part, and we will basically be in the middle of the desert with no facilities around us at all.

“It will be long old days and hard work on the body walking through deep sand but, fortunately, we will have a support team who will make sure we don’t get lost in the dizzying heat.”

Alice has undertaken an intensive training programme but admits it is going to be difficult to prepare for the heat.

“I’ve been upping my walking around the Dorset coastline and I normally cycle or swim at least three times a week, so I’ve got a good baseline of fitness,” she said.

Rosie Kennar, Hoburne’s Chairman, said: “I have known Alice for a long time, and this challenge is very much out of her comfort zone.

“We are all incredibly proud of her and the training she is undertaking. We wish her all the best, and we are very grateful to everyone that is donating to such a wonderful cause.”

Hoburne Group Support and Hoburne Park in Christchurch are supporting Diverse Abilities as their nominated charity of the year.

Staff have been organising various fundraising initiatives including bake sales, car washes and quiz nights. To date, Hoburne has raised more than £5,000 for the Dorset charity.

All the funds raised by Hoburne go directly to Diverse Abilities where they will be used to continue the vital services the disability charity provides to adults and children in its care.

Jon Wheatley, Diverse Abilities’ Events Coordinator, said: “This is definitely a unique trekking experience and a great opportunity for those that enjoy walking or just love spectacular views.

“It’s a perfect challenge for those wanting to step out of their comfort zone and will provide life-long memories.

“We are so impressed with Alice’s commitment to her training schedule so far and thank her for choosing us as her charity to sponsor.”