Week 31

I hinted last week that we had a couple of people close to joining the 1000 mile club and I’m happy to report that it’s been achieved. Very warmest congratulations to Andrew Harvey in Australia, of team snow leopards, who has completed the feat this week. It’s all the more remarkable in that he joined the Chaparda Challenge once the walk was well under way, so a massive ‘well done’ to him.

And not only Andrew – another walker has chalked up 1000 miles… to be added to the 1000 she’s already covered!! Yes, Niamh Brady, the fittest peacock on the planet, has crossed the 2000 mile marker! What a truly amazing achievement Niamh, and we all take our hats off to you and send our heartfelt congratulations and thanks for what you’ve done.

Others are hovering around the magic number too, so let’s hope we have more good news to report in the coming weeks.

Our tigers are still making their way through Serbia and the other teams are still traversing Iran. The tigers haven’t been able to record many miles this week, and  think they’ve had problems logging in to upload their records. Hopefully those will get sorted out in the coming week and then we can give a progress report next time.


Thanks in no small part to such  a great effort by Andrew, the snow leopards have closed the gap on the wee monkeys, and they’ve now arrived in Tehran. They’re in the western suburbs this evening, at the foot of the Alborz Mountains, close to the Tochal ski resort. It’s the fifth highest ski resort in the world, and to reach it, the world’s longest gondola lift runs up the mountain from Tehran itself, a distance of nearly 5 miles, allowing skiers to easily reach the slopes. Click here to watch a remarkable video of the journey up the mountain! The snow leopards are going to feel so at home now, because today, 7th November, Tochal had 11 cm of snow! So of course the resort has already opened and I wouldn’t be surprised if they all sneak off for a prowl in the mountains!  This is the marvel of our virtual challenge – Andrew, in reality heading into the lovely warm days of springtime in Australia, is virtually heading into the cold snowy mountains of Iran!

National Botanical Garden

The part of Tehran they find themselves in has much to offer the nature-loving snow leopards. They’re very close to the National Botanic Garden of Iran, and no less than six other parks are close by. So I hope they take time to enjoy all this before hitting the hustle and bustle of the city, home to around 9 million people! And when they do hit the hustle and bustle, perhaps they’ll take time to visit the Golestan Palace, to see how the other half lived; well, not even the other half, just the elite! Constructed over many hundreds of years but most especially in the time of the Qajar Dynasty, it speaks power. If you’ve ever wondered what a marble throne looks like, you can see one here! 

Golestan Palace
Kashan Rug

The wee monkeys are getting their own taste of the Qajar Dynasty, being just north of Kashan, home to the Tabatabaei Historical House. Built as the home of a carpet merchant, it tells you that this part of Iran is the carpet and rug capital. It’s home to some of the finest carpets and rugs in the world, the famous Kashan rugs. No need to travel to Iran for one, though – you can buy a Kashan Rug at Dunelm (£119 for a 5ft by 8ft rug)  Or at the Oriental Rug Merchant, (£3875 for a 5ft by 7ft)! OK – the Dunelm one is described as ‘Persian inspired’ and is made from 100% Polypropylene (whatever that is!) while the other one is 100% hand knotted wool! Maybe I’ll just have to stick with my tartan rug by the fire!

The peacocks, thanks in no small part to the mighty efforts of Niamh, have now crossed the desert and are back in the mountains, in the foothills of the Hazaran Range, rising to more than 4,500 metres, or the height of Ben Nevis 4 times over. It’s a place of few settlements, so no pesky distractions  like ostentatious palaces or fabulous ski resorts to stop the peacocks striding onwards. So what to do along the road then? Well, how about learning some Persian language (known as Farsi)? Here’s something to get you started:

Khosh Amadid – Welcome
Salâm / Dorood – Hello
Sobh Bekheyr – Good Morning
Asr Bekheyr – Good Evening
Shab Bekheyr – Goodnight
Haleh Shoma Chetoreh? – How Are You?
Khoobam – I’m Doing Well
(Kheily) Mamnoon – Thank You (Very Much)
Esme Shoma Chieh? – What Is Your Name?
Esm-E Man ____ Ast. – My Name Is ____
Shoma Ahle Koja Hastid? – Where Are You From?
Man Ahl E (…) – I’m From ( … )
Kheili Vaghte Ke Azat Khabari Nist – Long Time No See
Az Molaghat-E Shomâ Khosh Vaghtam – Pleased To Meet You
Movafagh Bashed – Good Luck!
Ruze Xubi Dâšte Bâšid! – Have A Nice Day
Bebakhshid – Excuse Me
Moteassefam – Sorry
Lotfan – Please
Moteshakkeram / Mersi / Mamnūnam – Thank You
Baleh – Yes
Nakheyr – No

Anyway, that’s it for another week. Congratulations again to Andrew and Niamh on their milestone mileage. A bit of a slow week for everyone else, I’m afraid, with a total of 250 miles added by all teams. But I’m pretty sure that’s not because of no walking, but rather it’s to do with no recording of what’s been walked. So please, if you have miles to post, do so soon, so we can have an accurate record of what’s really been achieved on the Challenge. If you have trouble recording the miles please get in touch with me or Emma. For fundraising, we’ve added £25, bringing the total raised to £4777 – a fabulous achievement – could we manage a little more, though, I wonder? Shab Bekheyr!