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It’s two weeks since my colleagues, Jamie Pilborough and Michael Brearley, and I took on this year’s LandAid Ambassador Challenge, which was sponsored by Malcolm Hollis.

The challenge involved spending a full day canoeing, hiking, abseiling (and more hiking) in the beautiful setting of the Peak District with other industry peers. The hike totalled 22km and the whole challenge took around 9 hours to complete.

Our day started bright and early at 5am! We took a train up to Stoke on Trent and once there we took a coach to Tittesworth Reservoir Activity Centre, where we were briefed on the day, dropped off our stuff and picked up our packed lunch.

Then the real challenge began! We started by canoeing across a lake and embarking on the first part of the hike up to The Roaches, where we each took turns to abseil down a sheer cliff face. Being from London, it felt great to stand there breathing in the fresh air and soaking up the beautiful view. Having a fear of heights, I opted for the shorter abseil, whereas Jamie and Michael went for one of the hardest points which involved crawling off the top of the cliff before descending down… (no, I have no idea how they did that either!). The instructors on my side of the cliff were lovely and very encouraging – I’m grateful that they didn’t let me give up when my fear threatened to overwhelm me. Once I got the hang of it and descended further, I found that I was really enjoying myself, so I’m incredibly glad that I persevered with it!

After the abseil and some food, we continued with the hike. The green and rocky scenery and views of the Peak District were stunning! One of my favourite places was the ‘Luds Church’ (a deep chasm penetrating the Millstone Grit bedrock created by a massive landslip on the hillside above Gradbach) – we had to take a shortcut through it and I am so happy we did!

Having never hiked before I found it particularly challenging, especially towards the end when blisters had formed, and the exhaustion started to kick in. At one point I thought I might cry! But what kept me pushing on is knowing that I had food, warmth and a place to sleep at the end of the day. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for around 86,000 young people in the UK who are facing homelessness. This is why giving up wasn’t an option for me and my motivation to raise awareness of this very important issue was much bigger than the exhaustion. So I pushed on until the end and finished the day with a very well earned beer!

In doing this challenge we’ve managed to raise over £20,000 to help end youth homelessness, so I’m extremely proud to have been a part of this. I really recommend anyone to take part in the LandAid Ambassador Challenge next year and to continue supporting all the other events that LandAid and companies in the property industry host throughout the year to raise money for this incredible cause.

As published on LinkedIn by Brand & Communications Executive and LandAid Ambassador, Laura Da Silva.