Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Cat champion fundraiser completes 53km Nepal trek… on her stairs!

A cat-loving fundraiser has refused to have her training for a trek in Nepal derailed by the national lockdown and instead has covered the distance of the challenge on her stairs at home.

Clara Youden works for Cats Protection’s Birmingham Adoption Centre as their Volunteer Team Leader, alongside her friend and the centre’s Deputy Manager Sarah Whitmore. 

Woman wearing cat ears, sunglasses, tiger-print leggings and Cats protection tshirt sat on her stairs
Clara ready to take on her epic stair-climbing challenge

The duo had committed to raising money for the charity by signing up for the epic adventure in Nepal before the lockdown came into place.

To continue training for the challenge, Clara has covered the equivalent distance of the trail through the Nepali Himalayas, 53km, by climbing and descending the stairs in her house instead. 

For five days she has themed and decorated her house in a nod to the places she will see on the trip and has covered a whopping 69,553 steps or 2,676 trips up and down the stairs. Watch how she got on in the video below. 


The trek sees participants climb the Nepali Himalayas up to altitudes of 3,400m before visiting a tiger conservation project in the hope of spotting tigers in their natural habitat and taking part in a local tiger awareness programme. 

Clara and Sarah are aiming to raise £4,400 each by August 2021, which will contribute to helping the cats and kittens they care for at the Birmingham Adoption Centre.

Woman wearing cat ears, sunglasses and tiger-print onesie sat next to ginger cat
Clara with her moggy Mylo who provided moral support

Clara said: “A lot of the fundraising plans Sarah and I had made for our Nepal trek have been postponed or cancelled due to current circumstances, so I wanted to think of a way to keep raising our much needed funds while on lockdown.

“I’d seen a few people doing marathons in their gardens or Everest via their stairs and thought why not do the distance we’ll be trekking in Nepal each day on my stairs. 

“Every day I covered the number of kilometres or steps we’ll cover on our trek and I even tried to change my homemade scenery each day too. It was genuinely harder than I expected but I’m really proud that I did it. 

black cat sitting on stairs next to homemade sign for Poon Hill
Clara's cat Mikey at the top of 'Poon Hill, Nepal'

“It’s really important for both of us to keep raising funds as the work our centre does is so incredibly important for local cats. We help rehome around 1,000 cats a year from across Birmingham and the surrounding areas. 

“In addition to loving our jobs at the centre, Sarah and I have both rehomed Cats Protection cats, I have Mylo and Mikey who mean the world to me, while Sarah very sadly lost her cat, Princess Luby, three years ago so it is a cause very close to our hearts.” 

woman wearing tiger-print onesie lying on stairs holding sign for Ghandruk
Clara having a well-earned rest at the 'Ghundruk village in Nepal'

To help Clara and Sarah reach their fundraising total, visit their Facebook page or JustGiving page.  

If you would like to take on the Big Cat Challenge you can reserve your place now at www.cats.org.uk/nepal21

Want to discuss the challenge and fundraising? Get in touch with our Fundraising Events team by emailing events@cats.org.uk or calling 01825 741 960.    

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