Day 6 – 19 May 2022
Six days down and the hard part is done, what an amazing trip it has been!!
Today started with a nice 21km run through a beautiful valley, followed by a great bike through the Namibian desert finishing at the wonderful Twyfelfontien lodge where we had a few beers and a nice swim to end the ride.
This whole experience has been amazing, and we really appreciate all the support from the messages on the INNAM website, we’ve had a great time reading them aloud at dinner at night, and they’ve motivated us through the day.
Also a huge thanks to the support team on the ground both for the lodging, and for the running and biking. Phill and his team were wonderful, and we could not have done it without them.
We are now settling down to a terrific dinner and a few drinks at the lodge, looking forward to being back in our home countries and seeing our friends and families again!
P.S. – F*** sand
Henry Lively, Paul Lang, Steven de Tender, Ruaridh MacDonald
Day 5 – 18 May 2022
We can’t believe 5 days are complete…
We started the day with a moonlit walk moving away from the Brandberg base camp, heading towards the open plains, to start the 42km marathon. We managed to cover a good distance before the sun broke through and we felt the full effects of the heat whilst still nursing the sore knees from the Brandberg descent. During the run, 2 ostriches were spotted running across the horizon. At about 30km in, we passed through the local mining camps before spotting the vans in the distance where the finish line was.
After a lunch stop, we transitioned from running to cycling gear and started on the next challenge. The cycle started with an arduous climb followed by a 10km rocky descent to the main road. The views were outstanding. We followed the long sandy road, grinding up some hills on the way, eventually winding our way through a technical route, flanked by mountains on both sides.
Camp for the evening was set up at Save the Rhino Trust, a small preserve nestled in between some mountains. Everyone rolled into camp safely, exhausted and pleased to have completed the day.
The group is looking forward to the final challenges ahead tomorrow.
William Chou, Christian East and Awo King-Hans
Day 4 – 17 May 2022
After a rather cold and very windy night we got up early to make it to the highest point of Namibia called Königsstein. We all arrived just in time to see the beautiful sunrise and enjoy the panoramic view on the Brandberg Massiv. After one or two pictures and videos were taken we went back to our overnight camp to have breakfast.
From there we started to descend the mountain with a flying pace back to the pools (halfway down) where we refilled our water bottles. Then the struggle started. At some points we did not believe we were going down the same way as we had come up the day before. The extreme heat combined with the difficult terrain was really challenging but with the group sticking together and watching out for each other we all made back in one piece.
Now it is time for a cold drink at the fireplace to rehydrate for the Marathon tomorrow!
Marietta Harzheim, Damian Kurpik and Jonathan Beck
Day 3 – 16 May 2022
Given the remoteness of our bed for the night, this post comes to you all a day late!
An incredible start to day 3 – we headed out of camp under a full lunar eclipse with only head torches to light the way. We were also lucky enough to see a rare sighting of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars perfectly aligned in the dark sky.
After a short walk out of camp the Brandberg provided the first of many unforgiving accents – the fatigue of the previous two days starting to show its affects on some of the group.
Climbing climbing climbing up through rocks and into beautiful oasis like valleys we arrived at Longi Pools for a well earned lunch stop. Due to lots of recent rainfall there was a rock pool to cool our toes off, and some braved a full dip!
Shortly after lunch we were stopped in our tracks as a Puff Adder slinked it’s way across the path – reminding us of the dangers of the desert!
Brandberg mountain is a very sacred place for the local Damara people, with lots of evidence of historic life. We visited Slangenhölle (Snake Cave) where there is a collection of paintings on the cave walls, including a large snake! It is mind blowing the think about how some of these paintings date back 5,000 years and are still recognisable to us today.
Pushing through pain and an abundance of spikey plants everyone made it to camp in daylight. The summit in sight providing the final bit of motivation needed.
Abigail Longhurst, John Caffey and Ivan Oprins
Day 2 – 15 May 2022
Winds of change. Literally.
Yesterday we enjoyed the refreshingly cool westerly coastal wind pushing us along… today we were met with the fierce easterly from the desert.
An early start in the dark under the most spectacular night sky was incredible with the milky way on show… “a crack through to heaven”.
As we approached the end of the half marathon and the sun made its appearance the Mercury started to rise quick.
First transition of the trip was smooth with plenty of grub, water, stretching and chamois cream! It was time to get back on the bikes for a MTB ride. Shorter than the first day with only 28km total distance but a bit more challenging with several rock gardens and longer stretches of loose sand.
After the tough ride we arrived at our camp of the day right at the bottom of Brandberg mountain in the early afternoon where a well deserved lunch was awaiting us. Most people took a much needed rest that was interrupted by the packing instructions for the next day. It was still hard to imagine where on that steep stoney mountain we are supposed to go up, but we were all excited to find out. After a lot of packing, unpacking and repacking, wondering if we packed too little or too much we were all set just in time for yet another amazing dinner at the camp, under the bright full moon.
Richard Campbell, Lenn Uytterhoeven and Sophia Nanu
Day 1 – 14 May 2022
Flying into Walvis Bay, the vastness of the desert hit home that after three years of waiting we had finally made it. The familiarity of the Grenadier awaited us, looking as battered and bruised as we expect to be in a few days.
The first night in Cape Cross Lodge saw us next to the raging Atlantic Ocean. Not discouraged, most of us braved the sea to enjoy a last moment of cold before the desert.
This morning started cold, foggy and wet, a reminder that we were still close to the ocean, but that changed after a couple of hours to reveal the blazing heat of the desert sun. The first 40km proved to be easy riding lulling us into a false sense of security, but after a refuelling stop, we soon hit the sand and the consequential falls. The last 25km was a battle between the sand and heat, but with the promise of an ice-cold beer at the end.
The glimpse of the camp in the distance was the motivation needed for the last few kilometres and didn’t disappoint.
Everyone made it home in style with spirits high for tomorrow.
Claire Black, Scott Kenny and Jason Meers