Kevin’s Saharan trek for Laois Hospice

Kevin Doyle, manager of Laois Shopping Centre, gets familiar with a camel during his Saharan trek last month.
Charity fundraiser Kevin Doyle from Mountmellick has braved the sandstorms and heat of the Sahara Desert, to raise money for Laois Hospice.

Charity fundraiser Kevin Doyle from Mountmellick has braved the sandstorms and heat of the Sahara Desert, to raise money for Laois Hospice.

Kevin who is manager of Laois Shopping Centre, undertook the 5 day trek in Morocco.

Back nearly a month, he says he is not yet recovered.

“I am still feeling the effects of the experience, but if anyone offers you the chance, just do it, there is plenty of time to recover, I am sorry I didn’t do it 20 years ago,” he said.

The temperatures went from 37 degrees by day down to -2 at night, but the toughest part of the hike was a sandstorm that lasted two days.

“We had to be wrapped up against a 40 mile wind. The sand got everywhere. You couldn’t see the sky, it was like fog except it was sand. It blew off the top of the dunes so we tried to walk on top, wearing scarves over our faces and sunglasses over them,” he said.

Water was rationed to 4 litres each a day. Food was traditional Moroccan fare.

“Lots of vegetables and rice, cooked in tangines, it was delicious. They baked bread in a hole in the sand.

“They got us to drink mint tea with sugar tokeep hydrated but at the end I was sick of it,” he said.

While Kevin walked the 114km route along with managers of Donegal and Galway shopping centres, he did get a short ride on a pack camel.

“He was trying to turn his head and bite me, you feel like you are going to fall with every step,” Kevin said.

As their trip was sponsored by Harcourt Developments, every penny raised goes Laois Hospice, with bucket collections in the shopping centre.

“It’s not fair to be asking people for money but they have been great, from the businesses to my family and friends, If I raise €3,000 I’ll be delighted,” said Kevin.