Excitement builds as The Unskateables prepare for epic Welsh adventure
An intrepid team of six say they are nearing the start line for a gruelling charity challenge with a mixture of nerves and excitement.
Matthew Gilbert, Craig Salisbury, Gavin Rogers, Kyle Harvey, Mark Roberts and Joshua Land are set to skateboard coast-to-coast from south to north Wales on an 250-mile journey on September 1. They will be joined by inspirational driver Jenny Rawson
The team, called ‘The Unskateables’ will make their way from Barry Island to Anglesey to raise funds for Nightingale House Hospice, who takes care of people from Wrexham, Flintshire to Oswestry and Whitchurch.
The hospice provided end-of-life care for the group's close friends, Wayne Phillips and James Rush and the pair will be remembered throughout the challenge.
So far, the sextet have raised more than £5,000 towards a £10,000 target and Gilbert said: "We are doing pretty good and training has gone well.
"We have had a few outings as a group and it's been fun, to be fair. Word of The Unskateables is spreading further week in and week out which is nice."
The challenge will take the team through the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park, along the fabulous Welsh coastline and into Eryri National Park. They will be skateboarding day and night.
They will take it in turns to skateboard with a member of the group following behind on a safety bike to protect the skateboarder from traffic and help navigate. The team will also be followed by a van.
"We did a trial night run last week," said Gilbert. "It was to get an idea of how the safety bike would work, alongside those skate boarding.
"We also got an idea of the average mile per hour we could do so, when we come to doing the event, we'll have an idea of where we will be getting to.
"It gave us a chance to iron out any problems we might have and so we had a really productive few hours, going from Llangollen to Bala.
"We have had some comical moments along the way, the odd bits of drama, including the safety bike chain snapping, but valuable lessons learned."
"You learn that Welsh roads come in all shapes and sizes! It was a little bit of shock for some of the lads in terms of the gradient of the hills, both the incline and declines.
"The road surfaces make a difference to your speed and the enjoyment of it. Sometimes you can really feel it shaking all your bones!
"But it's been good and Wayne and James have been mentioned all the time. We are constantly sharing stories about them so it has been really good."
Craig added: "We are starting to feel nervous and excited and, personally more skate fitness will be needed.
"But we are determined and doing this for two fantastic friends. We thank everyone who has supported us so far and ask people to please keep it up and help us share this adventure and raise even more money for such a wonderful cause."
Gilbert added: "We have just gone over £5,200 and it is sky-rocketing.
"We have a £10,000 target for the hospice but I found out that daily costs at Nightingale House are £12,000 so it would be really nice to up the ante and go over the target and hit, at least, £12,000. The work they do is incredible. They are very special people."
Among those supporting the group are the One Planet Adventure team, who have provided the safety bike and The Lost Barn Coffee, who have supported the team with a generous donation. Ryan Morley Cycle Centre has also been helping the group with the route.
You can sponsor the group at justgiving.com/page/islandtoisland or search for The Unskateables on Facebook