Photo by Jeremy James
The longest-ever expedition to be mounted to raise funds for ME research is now likely to take up to two years to complete, say explorers Ed Stafford and Luke Collyer.
The pair, who have teamed up to walk from the source of the River Amazon in southern Peru to the river mouth in Brazil, aim to cover the 4,000 miles with no interruption and without any support whatsoever.
Ed, a former British Army captain, and professional outdoor instructor Luke,will carry only what fits into their rucksacks and live off the jungle.
“If they complete their journey through one of the most amazing and threatened eco-systems left on Earth they will be the first men ever to walk the Amazon”, says a message on their website.
Originally, they thought they could complete their epic adventure in one year, after they set off in April 2008. But careful re-appraisal of the hazards ahead has led them to push back the finishing date.
Earlier this summer they set themselves a huge test of their fitness and capability. They undertook a four-day food deprivation and endurance trek in the Lake District – reckoning that, if they couldn’t survive that, then the Amazon adventure might as well be scrapped.
You can watch how humour and aggression overcame plummeting blood sugar levels in an 11-minute film of the test on their website.
The Amazon adventure will raise funds for ME tissue bank plans being supported by The MEA’s Ramsay Research Fund, and also for five other charities. They are Rainforest Concern, The ABC Trust, Prospect Peru, Cancer Research UK and National Outward Bound Trust UK.
Pictured are Luke (left) and Ed, with Janie Stafford, Ed’s sister who has had ME for 14 years, at Cornwall’s Eden Centre during a promotional photoshoot earlier this year.