We few, we happy few…

A small team of serving soldiers, ex-serving soldiers and civilians will depart from Windsor Castle on 29th July and walk to Edinburgh Castle, arriving 7th August 2019, to raise money for the Household Cavalry Foundation and Royal British Legion.

This Band of Brothers is made up of serving members of the British Army and civilians, they will tackle the 480-mile trip together over ten days.

If you want to know more about the guys undertaking this gruelling long march north, then continue reading below, as we asked them to tell us more.

Walking Team

These are the guys that will be taking the long walk north. A mix of both current serving members of the Household Cavalry and civilians, they will work in teams to keep the bagpipes on the move. Each man will cover at least 20 miles every day, sometimes there will be two teams walking to cover the distance in the time but it will be these guys that grind out the miles.

Team Lead – Martin Semple

Martin Semple (Semps) is Team Leader and the driving force behind CastleTrek. Working as a Public Order Trainer for West Yorkshire Police in Leeds. He is also one of the teams pipers, playing with 103 Regt Royal Artillery – Pipes and Drums. On the CastleTrek project, Martin added:
I want to take part as I’m keen to raise vital funds and raise awareness for two military charities that not only help very close military friends of mine in need but a much wider Armed Forces community. I also want to test myself not only in the actual challenge but strategically with planning, preparing, organising and managing a very complex project. Doing this alongside my best friends will be incredibly rewarding. Especially crossing the finish line at Edinburgh Castle.”

Team Member – James Archer

James Archer

James Archer “Archie” is Staff Corporal (SCpl) in The Household Cavalry. Currently based out of Windsor he is recently back from exercise ready to resume his CastleTrek task of route planning & logistics. Archie is a keen shot and is also learning the bagpipes! He has this to say about the CastleTrek Project:

Very excited to get started with the challenge. The charities are a great support to so many of my friends and colleagues and I wanted to give something back. The challenge will be difficult and tough with lots of planning but this will make it all the more rewarding.”

Team Member – Lee Walker

Lee Walker

Lee Walker is the experienced hand in the team having served many years in the British Army. Currently, Lee is Corporal of Horse (CoH) in The Household Cavalry based out of Windsor he is a keen shot and likes a walk out. Lee’s thoughts on CastleTrek are:

Really wanted to be part of a big project and play a key role in making it a success for two fantastic charities. Also as it is my last year in the Army after a 22-year career I thought it would be a brilliant way to finish my time.”

Team Member – Robert Procter

Robert Procter

Robert Procter is a civilian working as a Development Team Leader based out of Leeds. As the technical one on the team, he has built the website. He is rather active taking part in triathlons and mountain marathons. When he isn’t doing that, he is piping with City of Leeds Pipe Band. As one of the pipers on the CastleTrek team, he has worked closely with The Royal British Legion to organise piping events at key stopping points en route. Robert’s thoughts on CastleTrek:

I want to support my friends in this endeavour by utilising my skills and experience from other areas of my life to help make it a success. As a piper I’m looking forward to playing the bagpipes with different bands from across the country as we march north.”

Team Member – Jay Shaw

Jay has more than 15 years in the British Army, 13 of which were with the Household Cavalry and, more recently, as a member of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps (RAPTC). He is extremely proud to have served on both sides of the Household Cavalry Regiment. His current role within the RAPTC is to help rehabilitate injured soldiers through physical fitness. He works within the Army Medical System alongside Physiotherapists, assessing patients’ injuries and improving their function and strength through individual and class therapy sessions. Jay’s thoughts on CastleTrek:

I feel very humble to be part of the CastleTrek team and walking the distance to Edinburgh Castle. Ultimately I shall be keeping in mind the most important reasons for why we are trekking. Firstly, to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Secondly, the importance of supporting both serving and veteran members of the forces including their families. I have also been tasked to advise the walkers on specific components of fitness and nutrition needed to complete this arduous and challenging charity event. Lastly, during the trek, I shall be encouraging every member so that we finish strong, as one.”

Team Member – James Jordan Jalili

As a late addition to the team, everything was planned and in place when JJJ got involved. For JJJ personally, this is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate to the public, the important connection that exists between the Household Cavalry Regiment, Region British Legion and Household Cavalry Foundation. JJJ’s thoughts on CastleTrek:

What made me decide to do such a big challenge: I got asked to do it by a LE Major! But I am glad he did because this sort of thing is right up my street. We are raising money for two worthy organisations and it promises to be a decent physical challenge. I walked the South Downs Way from Winchester to Eastbourne on my own a few years ago; this will be more enjoyable, with some like minded company.”

Support Team

Around the Walking Team, is a skilled Support Team. Without these guys, the already daunting challenge would become, somewhat, impossible.

Team Member – Mike Tupling

Mike Tupling is a critical member of the Support Team. As a Physiotherapist with The Household Cavalry and 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards (having previously served with The South African Police and Defence Force), Mike has actively been involved in assisting teams with medical support. Notable events include working with the South African team at the World Kickboxing Championships in Budapest in 2017. Mike’s thoughts on CastleTrek:

Every year I dedicate a week of leave to supporting volunteers going that extra mile for the Armed Forces. In this team, I have found some volunteers willing to go quite a few miles more!”

Team Member – Adam Blackmore-Heal

Adam is a guy who loves a challenge. During 13 years as a Regimental Tailor and then Master Tailor in the Household Cavalry, there were obstacles every day to be overcome. Now Adam is an adaptable and diligent Press Officer, with a depth of experience of planning and implementing multi-media projects, and communicating with national and international press organisations, on behalf of over 700 personnel.

Team Member – Tariq Baksh

As a serving soldier in the Household Cavalry, Tariq has 16 years across both sides of the regiment. Over this time, he has gathered an extremely large skill set. As a Corporal of Horse (CoH), he has participated in many different large scale projects including transport management and welfare. Tariq’s comments on CastleTrek:

I feel very humbled and proud to be part of the team. As the Regiments welfare CoH, I have witnessed the amazing work The Royal British Legion do and of course the Household Cavalry Foundation, which is a charity close to my heart.”

My job on this project is to strategically administrate all team members and conduct all transport logistic matters to the highest of standards and keep morale high. I will be supporting the other team members, ensuring they get from A to B effectively and efficiently without any hiccups.”

Team Member – James Fitzgerald “Fitz

As a former member of The Household Cavalry, with some 29 years service, Fitz has been lucky enough to experience life on both sides of the regiment. In that time he has been able to play witness to the fantastic work carried out by the Household Cavalry Foundation and watch it grow from strength to strength. James’ thoughts on CastleTrek:

I truly believe in what the team are doing for both charities. I’m here to facilitate their aim, and to mitigate any problems which may arise on the way to achieving their final goal.”

Team Member – Jodie Solomon

Served for six years in 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery (RHA). During this time, Jodie has been on exercise to places like Kenya, Canada and conducted a tour of Afghanistan. In 2014, Jodie moved to The Household Cavalry Association (HCF), working with both The Blues & Royals and The Life Guards. Jodie’s thoughts on CastleTrek:

I have been able to experience first hand what the associations and The HCF can do for both serving soldiers and veterans. Just recently, I have been going through a life-altering event where I was very fortunate to get help and support from both the HCF and the RBL. The primary role of the 1 RHA is to provide combat support to heavy armour formations; this experience will form an excellent foundation for my CastleTrek role as Support Driver. I am pleased to be able to support the Walking Team before, during and after the trek.”