Over the weekend of the 23rd and 24th June the MEGA team will be trekking the trail of the West Highland Way in Scotland for the next section of the story in what is now the traditional annual walk in aid of Brain Tumour Research and in memory of Taylor Emery.
Now in its 5th year and having raised almost £10,000 during that time, the walk has now expanded to include new colleagues not just from the UK team but from France and Italy. Here’s a little about the reasons for the walk and the charity it helps support – if you’d like to donate to Brain Tumour Research you can do so here.
In early 2014 Taylor Emery lost his fight with brain cancer. Taylor was working for MEGA in the UK when this happened, and he had worked in the company for several years.
The loss of Taylor and its effect on our team was huge. To suddenly have a close colleague, friend and larger than life character removed from the team with almost no notice left everyone shocked and upset. Taylor was self-opinionated, stubborn and worked hard at anything he decided to do both in and out of work.
The walk is born
The MEGA team decided that they needed to do something to both honour Taylor’s memory and to ‘take a stand’ against this horrible disease. We talked about the sort of thing that Taylor would be part of and agreed it had to be tough, involve a team and raise money for charity.
After some discussion, we decided we would attempt the UK Three Peaks Challenge. This involves both climbing the three highest peaks in the UK and more importantly doing so within a 24-hour period. Any of the three mountains are a significant walk in themselves, but the three together, the logistics of getting between them and the inevitable lack of sleep within the 24-hours means it’s a true test of both fitness and resolve.
I’m proud to say the UK team completed the challenge successfully and raised significant funds in the process. It’s also worth noting that many of the team that took part in the challenge weren’t necessarily ‘outdoors people’, hadn’t undertaken serious hill walking before, or in some cases ever been to Scotland! A combination of training walks, fitness training and a close-knit team all pulled together to both prepare and execute on the day. It was a draining and emotional experience, but above all proud team that completed the challenge and vowed to keep Taylor’s name alive.
The next few years
In 2015 a team again formed and walked a significant section of the UK’s Jurassic Coast. Continual gradients, changeable weather and serious distances were all overcome by the team whilst raising funds in the process for Brain Tumour Research. Of note by this stage is that the team was no longer just made up of people who knew Taylor or who are based in the UK… now we had people walking in Taylor’s memory and reputation from both the UK and MEGA headquarters in Paris.
Summer 2016 saw a new international team from both MEGA UK and headquarters assemble and attack the top third of the 95mile long Scotland’s West Highland Way. This route runs from just outside Glasgow to Fort William. The route is made up of non-surfaced tracks and covers a huge variety of gradients with the ever-changeable Scottish weather adding an air of excitement! 19 miles of walking on the first day and 17 on the second saw the team across the finish line. More charity funds were raised and many new friendships and bonds were formed – Taylor I’m sure is proud.
In August 2017 we chipped away at the “second to last” stretch of the West Highland Way, this time covering the 19 miles from the Bridge of Orchy to Inverarnan on day 1 and a gruelling 14 miles from Inverarnan to Rowerdennan on day 2.
Although we experienced some difficulties with inaccurate maps, double booked packed lunches, mistakenly cancelled puddings, blisters and even a sudden bout of dehydration and tiredness following the post-walk whiskey session, we all pulled through with the help of some Haggis Pakora (?!), Scotch, and half the world supply of plasters all in the spirit of doing our best to keep Taylor’s memory alive.
What have we got planned for this year and how can you get involved?
This year we will to return to Scotland and to walk the final section of the West Highland Way – we feel that we have some ‘unfinished business’ and recognise that many others have expressed an interest in taking part from across the company. This stretch will take us a mere 27 miles across the two days from Rowerdennan to Milngavie.
Money as always will be raised for the Brain Tumour Research – if you’d like to donate, here’s that link again.
About Brain Tumour Research
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer … yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this fight devastating disease. This is unacceptable!
The Brain Tumour Research charity works hard to make a difference - funds raised will help develop the charity’s network of world-class brain tumour research centres in the UK.
That’s all for now…
Thanks for reading – I’m off to start work on the level 2 fitness programme that’s apparently required to complete the walk! We’ll be sure to post updates and photos after the walk.