Lisa Springate, Head of Technical at Jersey Finance, has just been elected Chair of the Institute of Directors in Jersey. Here, we learn a little more about her as she describes a charity trek she undertook, entitled the ‘China Challenge’.
When asked to comment on my favourite holiday destination, several wonderful countries flashed through my mind. My husband’s 50th birthday trip to the Kruger National Park in Africa, the Norwegian Fjords and the Olympic Bob and Luge track in Lillehammer where tourists can actually experience the sleigh run (the latter never to be repeated!), the Taj Mahal on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra and a relaxing Gulet cruise along the shores of Montenegro.
A further very memorable experience was a charity trek which I did back in 2000 called the “China Challenge”, just after I had completed my local qualifying exams as a Jersey advocate. I thought that this presented a good opportunity to get away from studying and concentrate on something totally different and raise some money for a good cause along the way. Having worked in Hong Kong after I had qualified in the UK, I had visited China previously, but the Great Wall was new territory to me. I hoped that my previous student experience as a backpacker would prove useful!
The trip was described as one which would not be viewed through a coach window but one in which the sixty or so trekkers would walk through the fortified ramparts of the Great Wall, China’s 2000-year-old defence against invasions. It was very true to its word!
Stretching 6000km (fortunately, we were only able to do a section of this in the time we were there) in a dotted line across China, the Great Wall was begun in the 5th Century BC. As it snakes across the mountains, it conjures up a sense of history which is difficult to grasp until you have had the opportunity to experience it. Our trek was very varied, passing through woodland and terraced farmland, as well as following the contours of the beautiful hills and mountains in remote areas north of Beijing.
The challenge was physically demanding in respect of both the old sections of the Great Wall which we climbed, as well as the restored sections which had smoothed flagstones but nevertheless lots and lots of steps! We therefore very much welcomed the moment when we reached the finishing line as well as the second part of the trip after the trek in which we leisurely viewed the Terracotta Warriors Museum in Xi’an. The Terracotta Army was constructed to accompany the tomb of China’s First Emperor as an afterlife guard. When you see the thousands of detailed life-size models representing the army that united China at the end of the Warring States Period, you totally understand why this is considered one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world, and one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century.