Amos of the Amazon

by Chloe McLaughlin

You’ve got to have a degree of fitness,” Amos smiles, “it’s just coming out of the rainy season so depending on what the water levels are like when we get out there in May, there may be more kayaking but if the water is low, we’ll have to walk around.”

With equipment to carry and a kayak too, Amos is hoping the tides will be high! With 12 hour days planned, a camp to set up and strike every day and the pressure of catching and cooking their own food, it’s going to be tough for Julie and Amos – especially when it comes to avoiding deadly critters including vampire bats and mosquitoes.

“You can’t touch some of the plants as they are as deadly as the animals.” Amos explains, “We’ve got to learn more about that as there are jaguars, snakes, spiders and even venomous caterpillars!”

But how does one prepare for an Amazon trek?

“I’m walking a lot, walking up Pendle Hill, trekking 20 miles and I’m attempting The Three Peaks next month. It’s not going to be easy – at 50-years-old it’s putting me back into shape.”

And Amos is relying on his memories of kayaking in the Scouts as a boy to get him through too!

“I’ve always been into the outdoors. I love going camping, collecting natural food and that stems from being a kid going out picking bilberries and blackberries and making dandelion and burdock. I did all that with the Scouts – it brings back memories of kayaking, canoeing and orienteering.”

So is Amos the next Bear Grylls?

“Two idols of mine are Bear Grylls and Ray Mears,” Amos smiles, “they have two completely different attitudes to survival – Bear Grylls is from a military training and his idea is to get out of there by any shape, form or means and get to where it’s civilised. Ray Mears, on the other hand, he’s the opposite… both are different strategies but put the two together and you can get the best of both worlds.”

Amos and Julie are hoping to raise £10,000 for Pendleside Hospice. It’s not the first time that Amos has raised money for charity but this time he wanted to make an impact locally. “I’ve been parachuting and paragliding for cancer charities but I thought this time I’d support a charity nearer to home. All my friends have heard of Pendleside Hospice, it’s a local charity that lots of local people have used and they help people with life changing and terminal illness completely free. They don’t just help the people with the illness but the family, friends and the carers so it’s a worthwhile charity. A lot of the other charities the money gets lost as they pay for this and pay for that – very little of what you actually raise goes to them whereas at Pendleside it’s all going directly back into the community.”

But is there anything Amos is going to miss?

“I’ve not really thought about it. I’m just excited to be going as it’s like a tick on my bucket list!” Amos grins, “I’ll miss steak at Wetherspoons on a Tuesday and the toilet – that’s a concern as I’m quite regular! It’s my mid-life crisis – I’m not going for a sports car and young bird… I’m going for an Amazon trek!”

If you’d like to support Amos and Julie you can head to their JustGiving pages.