In September 2006 my wife and I took part in a fundraising walk along the Inca Trail in the Andes, Peru. To do this we first had to raise £2650 each (as well as our airfare) in aid of our chosen charity which is APEC, a charity which has saved the lives of my wife and children and countless others throughout the world. The trek was actually a different trail and was a lot harder. It involved walking up to 11 hours a day in some mountainous terrain at an altitude of about 15,000 feet. The organisers gave us a training schedule which started in July.
[EDIT May 2017] we have continued the fundraising since the trek, via TamingTheSaxophone.com and CafeSaxophone.com, raising money for various charities, mostly for special needs music education. To date we have raised over £75,000.
The schedule starts with a couple of 2 hour walks (easy). (A normal walk is about 3 m.p.h. but with a few stops and gradients it usually works out a bit less – more like 2 m.p.h. when walking up and down hills). The main bit of training means a 4 hour walk one weekend, then two 4 hour walks the next with a couple of brisk 1 hour welks on the weekdays. This progresses to one 6 hour walk at the weekend, then two 6 hour walks the next weekend with brisk 2 hour walks on the weekdays. Then on to the 8 hour walks, ending up with 2 consecutive 8 hour walks (aaarghh!). We are trying to make the walks as “realistic” as possible, ie lots of gradients as you might expect on the Inca Trail, but I imagine there is not the same type of pub for lunch. I’ll also be taking my panpipes on the training. But not up the Andes, I’ll leave that to the locals.