Comic Relief Desert Trek


The sun and stars

… I’ve been trying to find a spare moment to write a new post for a couple of weeks now.  Two episodes of Human Planet have been and gone whilst I have been away in Africa with Comic Relief, and whilst I was actually using a satellite to send images back home daily, our work days were so long over there that there wasn’t any time to devote to blogging… something I will endeavour to rectify over the next few days here in Pakistan, in particular by writing about the Grasslands and Rivers episodes which both contain stories very close to my heart.  However, for the time being, since the trip to Kenya is still fresh in my mind, I’ll cover that first.

Currently I am sat in an enchanting hotel room in a place called Sukkur.  I’m over here shooting for Oxfam, my second such trip serving to highlight the continuing need for international help in this region of Pakistan which was devastated by last years terrible flooding.

Unusual 1970’s hotel room decor aside, I am nevertheless blessed with a table, chair, local mobile dongle for my laptop and a few hours to spare, so here’s a random selection of behind the scenes snaps from the 100km charity trek across Kenya’s Kaisut desert that I undertook last week with a group of British TV personalities.

The gang attempt a last minute re-pack

In the queue for life changing eye surgery

The British charity Sight Savers are a Comic Relief partner and as such, their work in Kenya was highlighted on this trip.  In particular the incredibly simple but totally life changing cataract surgery that costs only 16 quid per eye.

Olly watches a cataract operation

The operation takes about 15 minutes

The view from our camping spot on the first night

Dermot and Kara enjoy a brew on day 1

The Samburu tribe were our guides and provided our camel porters

Dermot helps Peter up a hill

Blind from birth, Radio 4’s Peter White completed the 100km trek with the help of each member of the team.

Kara and Olly around the camp fire

The beautiful Kaisut Desert

Lorraine gets her morning pedicure

Out of everybody who undertook the trek, Lorraine Kelly suffered the most physical pain in my opinion.  The intense 47 degree heat and horrific foot blisters nearly got the better of her on day 3, but she battled through to complete the walk with everyone else in the end.

Come Monday morning, only 2 days after the trek had finished and nursing 2 incredibly painful feet of my own, I watched her breakfast show from underneath a lovely warm duvet in the comfort of my own bed at home.  Respect must go to Lorraine for going straight back to work, and double respect for reporting on the Oscars live in her slippers because her regular shoes were hurting too much!

Dermot O'Weary

The striking Samburu people

The glamourous faces of live radio

Throughout the trek, the team were broadcasting live to Radio 1 via Scott Mills using a BGAN to connect to a satellite link.

Kara and Olly take a break

The traveling en-suite

Sunset on the penultimate day

Dermot gets his blisters syringed

Trichiasis surgery in the desert

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Interested in more stories from Kenya? Click HERE

For more information on the trek click HERE

For more information on Sight Savers click HERE


4 Responses to “Comic Relief Desert Trek”

  1. Tom says:

    Hard to believe you can perform eye surgery right in the middle of the desert. We are so used to suburban settings here in the United States that we sometimes forget how difficult peoples lives are across the ocean.

  2. Fabulous images on your website – also loved the trek pics – my face getting my feet attended to – just said it all!
    Amazing experience and great to meet you!

  3. Bruce Herchenrader says:

    What an incredible privilege to have been part of BBC’s production of the Human Planet series. To have seen what you’ve seen, breathed, touched, felt, sweated, ached and were both delighted and exhausted. Wow! wow!

  4. Chris says:

    Keep up the good work Tim. Just been enjoying your human planet stuff as well. Truly inspirational work!

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