A journey of 1,300 kilometres hindered by kneedeep mud, landslides, choking dust and lethal traffic may not seem like the ideal environment to help those affected by post-traumatic stress disorder.
But, incredibly, it proved more than therapeutic for suffering ex-servicemen, who joined physically disabled adventurers on an 11-day expedition into the heart of the Himalayas.
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The expedition was the pilot trip of Global Adventure Plus (GAP), the brainchild of Robert Lawrence, a Military Cross holder severely wounded in the Falklands War.
Robert, whose memoirs inspired the film Tumbledown starring Colin Firth, was told by doctors he would never walk again, but proved them wrong.
He went on to found GAP to help those in need, and says: “I’ve always said it’s easier to go to war than it is to come home. GAP is about motivating people so they can get help, and understand they can do great things in civilian life.”
HELLO!'s publishing director Charlotte Stockting was one of the group and was pitched out of her sidecar, while almost all of the motorbike riders came off at least once. But everyone managed to keep up the relentless pace with unfailing good humour and camaraderie.
“The trip was phenomenal. It really reawoke my sense of adventure,” enthused Sophie Morgan, an experienced disabled traveller.
As for Robert: “I couldn’t be happier how the event worked out,” he tells HELLO!. “The participants have become part of a family.”
He adds that by getting sponsorship for organisations such as Help for Heroes and Combat Stress, they have also “helped a charity that supports their mates”.
Read the full story in this week's HELLO!, issue 1149, and visit globaladventureplus.com for more info.
Photos: John Cantlie & Iain Crockart