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Derry group heads for Camino in May


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Trekking Camino for the Playtrail

Mark Roberts (seated), pictured with some of the participants who will take part in the Camino Walk in Spain in May this year, in aid of the Playtrail. From left Michael Dobbins, Diane Greer, Michaela Elliott and Paddy Nash. 2202JM51

Published on Saturday 23 February 2013 08:22

An intrepid group are all set to walk the last leg of the infamous Camino de Santiago Trail in Spain, in aid of local charity The Playtrail.

The group, which has 14 members, are going out in May to complete the last 112km, meeting up with local man Conal McFeely who is bravely tackling the entire trek, which stretches some 800km.

Director of the Playtrail, Mark Roberts, told the ‘Journal’: “Conal and I walked the last section last year, with Conal deciding he wanted to walk the entire route this year. It’s a four week long trip, and an arduous one.

“Some others mentioned they would like to experience the trek, but couldn’t give up the entire time needed, so the decision was taken that a group could all go out together and raise some cash for The Playtrail at the same time.”

All 14 members of the final group are paying their own travel costs, and raising another £750 to go towards the Playtrail’s funding - and are taking the hiking aspect of the fundraiser very seriously.

Foyleview School Principal Michael Dobbins is taking part, and he’s really looking forward to the trip.

“It’s been a brilliant experience up to now, training with the group ahead of the trek, and it has been great to meet new people and make new friends.

“The fundraising aspect has been more difficult but the children in the school have been great and I’m optimistic that I’ll get there!

“The Playtrail is given no statutory funding and relies heavily on public support, which has been great up to now, so we’re hoping the trip helps raise much needed funds for the venture.

“We also really appreciate the support of the WELB.”

Local musicians Paddy Nash and Diane Greer have always wanted to tackle the ‘Camino’.

Diane explains, “It’s a trek I’ve always wanted to do, I’ve read extensively about it but I simply haven’t got the time to do the entire 800kms.

“So when we heard that a group were going out to complete the last leg, Paddy and I jumped at the chance.

“We had previously trekked in Brazil for Children in Crossfire and found it a brilliant experience. We got to meet some interesting people and it was a challenge.

“The Camino trek will be exactly the same, and we’re hoping that the training leading up the walk in May will also focus us to get fit and healthy.”

And these training sessions are already well underway, with the group meeting up as often as possible to walk local treks that would be the same terrain and intensity of the ‘Camino’.

Mark continues, “It’s definitely not a holiday, the ‘Camino’ is a tough walk, and we’ll be covering between 20 and 25kms every day. But of course, there’s a camaraderie between the group and we’re all looking forward to the week.

“We’re hoping to raise around £10,000 for The Playtrail and most walkers are doing well with their fundraising efforts so far.”

If you would like to donate to the fundraising efforts you can do so through the link on The Playtrail’s Facebook page, or by contacting Mark direct at The Playtrail on (028) 71368173 or by calling into the offices on the Racecourse Road.
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