Summer plan – 40 days of surfing

It might not even be Christmas yet but having just returned from a weeks surfing in Morocco I’ve already got a few ideas running through my head for the summer months.

One of them is to drive around the UK and Western Europe, surfing every day for 40 days. I’d live out of my car (after a few little modifications) and carry a board or two on the roof (thinking like a 9ft and maybe a 7ft, which I’ll make at the start of summer).

I was thinking of trying to combine it with WWOOFING or fruit harvesting, to fund the trip, although this needs a bit more thought.

Firstly though, route ideas… I spent a week of last summer in Cornwall with my family and had a lovely time. Spent a day surfing a longboard in Polzeath and when the sun started to set I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful location. The only issue was the crowding and, being summer, a lack of swell. The other option then is to head way further south, maybe explore W/SW France. I spent a week camping and surfing in Moliets a couple of summers ago. A tour of the west coast of France could be well on the cards then, especially it being remote enough (I think) and warm enough to be able to sleep in my car. Maybe the occasional cheeky foray into a campsite for a shower and food…

Last summer I was in Sagres, Portugal for a weeks surfing, also had a great time and found the Portuguese to be very relaxed – they do a cheese and ham toasted sandwich in any bar, any time of day or night. Add in a chilled glass of local white wine, total cost? About 3 euros! Peniche seems a decent surf spot, able to offer waves with most swell directions and isn’t too far to drive. I could do France/Spain on the way, spend a couple of weeks in Portugal then drive home in a couple of days.. SWEET!

This is the sort of route I’d like to do, totaling approx 3000 miles. At 55mpg, with the current price of Diesel, it’d cost me something like £300 in fuel (taking a route that avoids tolls). Accommodation would be free (I’m sure there’s a website out there for free campervan spots in the EU) and food would be inexpensive (eggs, tinned fish, veg..).

Sorted? Well just an idea for now but it seems promising!

Thunderboys are go!

Guidebook…. Check!

Flights…..Check!

Things are slowly progressing here at HikeHQ (my bedroom). Apart from revising like madmen for our upcoming exams (mine start in 9 days!) we haven’t been giving much thought to this adventure although we are all slowly collecting bits and pieces of gear.

The major thing to report is we now have our FLIGHTS BOOKED! Whilst originally the plan was to hitch-hike there and back, due to disapproval from parents (they still need listening to every now and then….) we have decided to fly instead. It takes the stress away of actually getting to the start of the walk and by the end of the walk the idea of a comfortable trip back will be very welcoming.

The one thing it does do is slightly restrict us time wise. The guide book says that its possible to do the whole walk in 31 days. We were thinking every 6/7 days have 1 day off to rest and relax and finally we’ll hopefully have a day or two in Menton and Nice at the end before flying home. This all fits fine but we’ll need to keep extra aware now of where we are and how we are doing progress wise.

More updates will follow as we can devote more time to this trip but for now, back to work!

Summer plans!

As is usual for me at this time of year (basically when its not summer) I start dreaming about what I want to do with my summer.

Two years ago it was my motorbike trip around Europe. Last summer I spent 6 weeks in India with two of my best friends from home. This summer….. Hiking in the Alps!

I’ve known about long distance European hiking routes ever since I learned about the long distance trails in the USA (namely the Appalachian trail, the Continental Divide, The Pacific Crest trail  –  watch the film “Into the Wild” to find my inspiration!). The one that struck a chord with me the most is the GR5 – “Europe’s most rewarding long-distance footpath”. It is part of the E2 which cuts south from Scotland all the way to the Mediterranean (E2 Route Map). The section that really caught my eye connects Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean via the Northern and Southern Alps. It ends (the GR52) in Menton on the French Riviera.

In total it is a 400 mile, 5-week trek over and under and round and through the French Alps.

I have dreamed for a long time of completing a long distance hike, carrying nothing but my backpack containing everything I need to survive. I am very lucky on this trip to have a very close friend of mine, Ben, to accompany me.

Our plan – to hitchhike to Geneva (#cheapstudents) before beginning our epic 5 week trek to the beach.

My friend has a twin brother, Mike, who is currently out in Visakhapatnam, India, teaching English at an Orphanage. This is the second time he has been out there and he is really making a difference to the lives of the children he lives with. The orphanage is funded by Children of Faith Missions, an American charity who are providing a great service and have been since 2003. A second charity has been set up, Children of Grace Home with the aim of building another orphanage to house the 15 youngest children from the original orphanage.

Our walk will help to raise money for this cause with 100% of everything donated going towards the charity. We are aiming for £2000 – a very large target but one we hope we can meet. If 100 people sponsor us 20p/mile we’ll have made it. We can fund our own food/accomodation/travel/etc but we feel by having a good cause behind us we will feel even better about what we are doing and will help support the lives of some very special children along the way.

For more information about the charity we are supporting please watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hqOBr3o7Qg

The route for our trek: Route map

I will endeavour to update this blog with further plans and ideas and start putting together a kit list of things we’ll take with us. Also as soon as it is set up (waiting for the Government to give us the green light) I will include a link to our JustGiving page so any one who is interested and passionate about what we are doing can donate.

Stay tuned!