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Walking With Lions – The Charitable Trust

Walking With Lions – The Charitable Trust

As the Lions tour reaches its final week, we check in with some intrepid trekkers who are helping to raise funds for the IRFU Charitable Trust on their 100-kilometre walk in South Africa.

The Charitable Trust raises much needed funds for seriously injured players and one of their most popular fund raisers is their 100-Kilometre Walk.

This is the fifth instalment of the walk, which is usually timed to coincide with a major rugby event such as a Lions tour or the Rugby World Cup.

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Previous walks have taken place in New Zealand, Australia and France.This year they are ‘WALKING WITH LIONS’.

Led by former Ireland international and full-time Charitable Trust fund raiser Mick Quinn, the tour started last week in the run-up to the second Test.

The walkers will trek 100 kilometres through designated parks and guided walks. Each walker had to raise 5,000 euro for the Charitable Trust as part of their participation.

One of the intrepid walkers has been keeping a diary which she managed to smuggle out despite the best efforts of South African internet access to thwart her.

In true ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour fashion’, some names may have been changed…!

Thursday, June 26 –

All 46 of us arrived safely in Cape Town after a long flight. We are staying in the Cullinan Hotel with the Lions squad!  By all accounts we got here just in time as the weather is good and bright after four days of rain.

We got to meet a lot of the Lions in the hotel. They are very relaxed and everyone seems to be in good form. They look happy and confident.

We had an evening ‘getting to know you’ reception and Dick Millikan, one of our previous walkers dropped in to say hello, along was Freddie McLennon, the former Ireland and Wanderers winger who has been living in South Africa for a number of years.

Most people (not all!) went to bed at a reasonable hour in preparation for our first walk on Friday!

Friday, June 27 –

Walking With LionsFirst walk today and we got a great boost to send us on our way.

Lions coach Ian McGeechan took time off the team preparations to meet us, to wish us well.

The walk itself was a nature trail in Stellenbosch winery.

I’m not sure who picked the route but we tried very hard to resist the temptations all around us as we knew we have some hard walking ahead.

Some of us resisted better than others!

The walk included an optional climb to an elevated platform from which the views were beautiful.

Those of us who resisted temptation better made the climb and it was well worth it.

Saturday, June 28 –

The second Test.

We left our hotel in Cape Town at 6am to fly to Johannesburg and transfer to Pretoria by bus  It was an exceptionally warm day.

Our match tickets were very good, we had a great view of the pitch and all the action.

It was a great game of rugby but a very disappointing result. The atmosphere was incredible. It felt like a home game for the Lions if that makes sense.

The stadium itself was a bit chaotic…no stewards and very little signage. They could do with some of the IRFU’s ‘stewards to end of match positions!’

We had time for food and drink to drown our sorrows before flying back to Cape Town. It was a subdued flight as the news on some of the players’ injuries had filtered through at that stage.

We were back in the hotel by midnight and after a long day a few of the party headed for bed to be fresh for the following day of walking…but most people stayed up for the usual high quality sing song and some samples from Day 1!

To be continued…

Links –

The IRFU Charitable Trust