Two Inverness friends are preparing to battle freezing temperatures when they head to Lapland for a huge fundraising challenge.
Francesca Marchetti and her best friend David Philips have signed up to take part in Highland Hospice’s Lapland Husky challenge.
The pair will be among 17 participants taking part in the week-long adventure in April, and are already well on their way to hitting their £8,000 target – with more than £6,200 in the bank already.
They previously conquered the Great Glen canoe challenge in May 2019.
‘It’s a thank you for all they have given us’
Mr Philips, 38, wanted to take on the challenge to thank the hospice for their support when his uncle was ill.
He said: “I have previously had family members in the hospice so I am familiar with the level of care you get. My uncle was in the hospice and in a way, certainly from my families perspective, its a thank you for all they have given us.
“Its nice to be able to do something and raise that kind of money for the hospice.
“We were always amazed with the people who work there and the level of care that they could give.
“It’s quite difficult circumstances and times that they are operating in.”
‘The temperatures scare me a lot’
Miss Marchetti, who works as a fundraising administrator for the charity, moved to the UK from Italy seven years ago.
In her spare time, the 32-year-old is extremely active and competes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training up to 12 hours a week.
Her biggest concern about the husky challenge is the freezing temperatures.
“I am Italian so I think my body is set up as a slight different temperature than most people in this part of the world,” she sad.
“For me 8C is really cold and we are going to a place where we will have -20C during the day and -30 during the night.
“Most people will say the fitness aspect is their biggest challenge because we are required to do a lot of fitness activities with the huskies but I am not concerned about that as I am quite an active person.”
‘It’s going to be a very unique experience’
Participants will set off on April 1.
For the duration of the trip, participants will be paired with four Alaskan Husky sled dogs, travelling up to 31 miles through the dense wilderness over the course of six days.
As mum to two Labradors, Miss Marchetti is eager to make a connection with her four-legged companions on the trip.
She said: “I am mostly looking forward to meeting the huskies.
“I’m such a dog person. I have two Labradors but I love dogs in general so I am very much looking forward to meeting my huskies, creating a bond with them, living like the locals do and just seeing where it takes us.”
Meanwhile, Mr Philips is most looking forward to the chance to see the Northern Lights, but said the whole challenge would be unforgettable.
‘We are eternally grateful’
Hospice fundraiser Katie Gibb said their annual overseas treks are crucial for supporting the charity’s work, while also giving fundraisers the opportunity of a lifetime.
She said: “The treks are immensely beneficial – they offer our supporters another way to support Highland Hospice. They provide like-minded people an opportunity to take up a challenge, push themselves, makes friends for life and at the same time raise funds for Highland Hospice.
“Their motivations are many and we are eternally grateful to them and their supporters – the funds allow us to do what we do best.”