Saturday, 20 August 2022

Student treks across Pyrenees for charity

A STUDENT from Henley helped raise £1,800 for charity by trekking 560 miles (900km) over the

A STUDENT from Henley helped raise £1,800 for charity by trekking 560 miles (900km) over the Pyrenees.

Fiona Bringmann, 20, walked from Hendaye on the west coast of France to Banyuls-sur-Mer in the east in just 42 days.

She took part in the challenge, called Left, Right, Repeat, with fellow University of Glasgow students Craig Everett, 19, and Doug Turner, 21.

The trio covered 49,000m of ascent, the equivalent of climbing up and down Mount Everest almost six times, and camped wherever there was space for their tent.

They carried their equipment, food and water in rucksacks, stopping in villages to restock, and did all their own cooking.

Despite this, they completed the trek 18 days faster than they had planned.

Miss Bringmann, a former Gillotts School and Henley College student, said: “It was physically and mentally harder than we had expected but that motivated us to push further ahead than we meant to on many days.

“We had practised day-long walks but it was hard to keep going because it stacks up over time and takes its toll on your body.

“It’s also emotionally tough spending every day with the same two people but we coped well and became stronger friends as a result.”

On one day the walkers went several hours without water in temperatures of up to 40C because they could not find a stream.

On another occasion they had to shelter in a cave when they were caught in a thunderstorm at 2,000ft above sea level. “That was definitely the scariest day and one of the toughest,” said Miss Bringmann. “The thunder was louder than anything I’ve heard and the rain was falling so hard that it hurt.

“However, it wasn’t all pain — there were some breathtaking views and we were taken aback by how generous people were along the way. They gave us lots of supplies and allowed us into their homes to take showers.

“The final day was excruciatingly hot but we kept going because we knew the end was only a few hours away. I felt completely exhausted when I had finished.”

Miss Bringmann, who is studying English at university, added: “I’m pretty proud of what we accomplished but it still feels a bit surreal.”

The proceeds will go to the Yorkhill Children’s Charity for disabled youngsters in Glasgow. To donate, visit

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