A Bigton man now living in the north-east of England is facing up to the challenge of a lifetime as he prepares to trek through Nepal to Everest Base Camp.
Steven Tait, 43, has spent the past 20 years in Tyne & Wear, where he currently works as a social work manager in Newcastle. In May he hopes to be flying out to Nepal for two weeks to don his walking boots and rucksack to raise money for the football-related charity Show Racism the Red Card.
The trek will last roughly two weeks, walking up to 10 miles a day in unusual conditions and at high altitude. Steven will be part of a group of 10 people, a mixture of men and women.
He said: “I’ve never walked this far before or spent so much time in a sleeping bag. I do occasional fell walking in the Lake District and did do a 25-mile day’s charity walk last year, but these seem nothing when compared to the scale of this trek.”
Steven believes the biggest challenges will be coping with the high altitude and making sure that he is fit enough.
“My only real exercise at the moment is short walks with the family dog, usually with one or all of my three children. My youngest son is just short of one year old, so my exercise with him comes from pushing him along in his buggy.
“For the Everest trip I will have to do much more, so I am about to start some serious extra training to be fit enough. I have a training programme which I will involve walking, running, cycling and swimming – and I’ll also be using the stairs as much as possible and avoiding lifts.”
Steven, a Sunderland fan, said he believed the hard work would be well worthwhile if he succeeded in raising £3,000 for his chosen charity.
“Show Racism the Red Card does great work by working with high-profile sports stars to educate young people about why racism is wrong and must be eradicated from society.”
He said one of his colleagues had offered him the following technical advice on how to approach walking in the Himalayas: after packing your rucksack, throw it out of a fifth storey window, drag it around the ground outside for a few hours, then dunk it in a bath of ice cold water. Apparently the yaks, which are used to transport equipment, sometimes fall over in streams or rivers and knots come undone.
“I am trying not to let that put me off,” Steven added.
If he succeeds in his bid to reach Everest Base Camp, Steven has agreed to do a write-up about his experience of the trek for The Shetland Times later this year. If anybody would like to sponsor him they can do so by visiting his online fund-raising page at www.justgiving.com/steventait People can pay by credit or debit card and the money will go directly to Show Racism the Red Card. Where supporters are UK taxpayers the charity will automatically receive 28 per cent extra in Gift Aid. Steven said he believed that made justgiving the most efficient way of sponsoring him.