SARAH’S SAHARA BLOG: The calm before the sand storms

Sarah Simons plans for a 5 day trek across the Sahara desert for charity.
Sarah Simons plans for a 5 day trek across the Sahara desert for charity.

Educational consultant Sarah Simons has decided to take on a mammoth trek for her 40th birthday - to trek across the Sahara Desert. Planning to walk more than 100km across the baking sands, she intends to raise money for the Inspire & AchieveFoundation in Mansfield. This is her blog:

“There’s been blood (blisters) sweat (buckets of it) and tears (exercise is rubbish).

“Considering I normally view Matlock as a bit too ‘Bear Grylls’ for me, I’ve been oddly calm about the whole ‘camping with strangers in deathly terrain’ thing.

“I’ve had to talk myself down from packing the whole thing in. I’ll get to Heathrow, the expedition leaders will look me up and down, shake their heads and point to the exit muttering ‘No fat birds in the desert’.

“This worry isn’t without reason. I was a weighty piece when I decided to take on this challenge and intended to lose five stone.

“It seems that even the risk of Sahara death won’t come between me and a Wagon Wheel, so consequently I’ve only lost two stone.

“So I’m still of generous proportions but have put the hours and the miles in and have been reassured that my shape is of no concern.

“Also, I have no sense of direction. On several occasions when I first started working at Vision West Notts College, it took me over an hour to get between the Derby Road Campus and The Ashfield Centre. I think I went via Newark.

“In a recent training walk I got lost in Blidworth Woods.

“In a last-ditch insurance policy in case I accidentally wander off in the Sahara, my husband has attempted to teach me about navigating by the stars.

“Other worries include, toilet facilities (or lack thereof), sand storms and deathly crawlies. Oh well, it’s too late now. The organisers tell me their phones are red hot the week before an expedition. It seems everyone has a minor nervous episode at this point. I haven’t to worry. Wish me luck and I’ll see you on the other side...”

To sponsor Sarah, visit