My Little Duke

The Mourne Wall Challenge

Steph DukeComment

If you know me, you’ll know that I love a wee jaunt up the Mournes and I don’t get up nearly as much as I’d like to, especially since Phoebe was born. That is about to change! In just a few short weeks I’ll hike 22 miles of mountainous terrain, covering 15 peaks as I take on the gruelling Mourne Wall Challenge. Why? Well, I’m pulling my boots on to raise money for a cause close to my heart. That cause is REACH.


Reach is an organisation that partners with local schools to mentor some of the most vulnerable young people. Their vision is to walk alongside each young person, supporting them and helping to unleash their potential. Having taught in a school where Reach provided mentoring I have seen first hand the positive impact that this organisation has on the young people they are working with. I’ve watched how young people have grown and benefited from their mentoring sessions, how they look forward to and cherish those times with their mentor. I’ve listened to them tell me about how much they needed those times out to chat and have fun away from the stresses and strains of school life.


Reach is a cause worth investing in. It’s a cause worth supporting and walking alongside. It’s a cause that is pushing and challenging me to step up those mountains and along that wall until I reach the end, because these young people deserve someone to show them that they are valued, loved and known. Some of our young people are facing circumstances that no young person should ever be facing … and they face them every single day. School can be hard enough never mind dealing with some of the stresses that some of these young people are dealing with.

They need your help. I need your help. Through this challenge Reach are raising vital funds to provide more mentors for our schools. The need is great! I’m hoping that by challenging myself in this way, you might feel challenged to help too. That might be financially, prayerfully or physically. The Mourne Wall Challenge is part of a larger campaign called ‘Go The Extra Mile.’ The vision for this campaign is to literally walk the miles that the mentees walk. You can read all about it below:

“No young person should have to walk through life difficulties alone. Our mentors draw alongside young people in emotional distress or who are struggling academically. Reach is about walking with young people so that they can be the best version of themselves.

Every day we are walking with young people, we want to #GoTheExtraMile.

We have can never fully understand what it is like to walk a day in one of these young peoples lives.

But we can walk with them.

The young people that we mentor together will take 3,780,000 steps in an average day. Lets symbolically walk with them while raising essential funds to allow Reach to continue to grow.

At Reach we believe that no young person should ever have to walk these things alone. We believe there is power in positive relationships; someone to encourage, support, champion and challenge you.

It is about going the extra mile.

At Reach we laugh. We listen. We care. We love to journey. We are in it for the long haul. We take time to pause. We whisper, "hold on, hope is not gone". We champion, we cheer on. We are not frightened by tears and silence does not scare us. We pray. We challenge for the very best, but stay at the very worst. We smile when you survive and celebrate when you thrive. We fight to see you dream.

Will you help us?

At Reach we would love you to join with us; do a sponsored challenge that helps us take all of these steps? It could be as simple as donating a few pounds.”

Can I be honest with you?

I am absolutely terrified about this challenge. The very thought of it makes me want to boke. Weather depending, it will take place on the 20th May – that’s not long to go! Your support would mean the world to me and would encourage me to keep putting one foot in front of the other despite the pain and agony. I am being realistic … I know this challenge will require me to push beyond myself. The beauty is though … it’s not about me. It’s about our young people. When I’m at the end of myself, that’s when I remember those pupils who sat in front of me, and the importance of Reach in their lives.

Follow my journey on Instagram and through the blog!