Two best friends from Denton have thrown caution to the wind and decided to roller skate across the Netherlands this May.
The Great E Skate will see Emily Pitts and Emma Timmis glide 120miles in eight days, from the Paraat Supermarkt in Overdinkel – where they will stock up cakes – all the way to the icy cold waters of Ijmuiden on the West Coast.
MM spoke to one half of the roller duo about the fast approaching start date of their mission to prove that adventures are for everyone.
— The Great E Skate (@thegreateskate) February 7, 2015
Emma said: “We came up with the idea about six to eight months ago. I was preparing to run across Africa and we wanted to do something similar to that, but with no stress involved, and this will be really fun.
“We wanted to prove that anyone can go out there and have an adventure, and it doesn’t have to be life-threatening and scary, or pushing yourself to the absolute limit.
“You don’t have to be super human or really rich, to go out there and have an experience.”
Their journey will begin on Friday May 22 from the border between the Netherlands and Germany and they will cover 15miles a day, hoping to reach the finish line on May 29.
Despite not having roller skated since they were kids, the former RSPCA employee is confident they will be able to pick up the pace once again, and they have just started their skating lessons to get themselves in shape.
“We just thought we should do something that we’ve never done before, and neither of us have roller skated for years,” she said.
“We both did it as kids. I probably did it when I was about ten, but I’m 31 in a couple of weeks so it was quite a while ago.
“We wanted to show that anyone can go out there and learn something new. You’re never too old and you really don’t have to be an expert. We are just learning now.
“Our belief in ourselves is massive so we know that we can learn it. It isn’t going to be too difficult. We will probably hurt ourselves and fall over, but we can handle that.
“The skates will be fine. It’s just the people that will be using them. Falling over and getting a few bruises doesn’t bother me.”
Emily and Emma will fund the expedition themselves, aiming to spend no more than £22 each a day.
Keeping the wheels rolling will be the drive to raise £500 for Tree Aid, which ‘helps villagers living in the dry lands of Africa unlock the potential of trees, to reduce poverty and protect the environment’.
— The Great E Skate (@thegreateskate) January 26, 2015
The Denton dames will also receive sponsorship from businesses to cover the cost of their skates, which are a hefty £200 a pair.
Despite the vast organisation and balance needed to see the ladies through their escapade, Emma has no doubt they will go the distance.
She told MM: “We’re both the kind of people that when we decide we’re going to do something, we will do it. The minute the idea started flowing, that was it.
“Our families and friends just laughed when they found out. Obviously I’ve done my running before which was a little bit more serious compared to this, but they all think we’re crazy.
“Because we haven’t really done any skating yet, we’re not 100% about the distance, which is why we have kept it short.
“We have said 15miles a day which you could easily walk, and the skates will move faster than that. We’ve given enough time so if we find that we’re really terrible, we’ll be ok. “
Neither are strangers to exercise or the great outdoors. Emma’s African run took her across South Africa in 2011, and she returned to the continent three years later, running from Namibia to Mozambique.
Emily runs her own climbing website and both women are passionate about rock climbing, which is how they met three years ago.
They have lived together for over a year and Emma told MM that although they’ve had arguments, like any housemates, Emily is the perfect person to accompany her on their Dutch expedition.
“Even if there are squabbles, the way that we get on is like sisters. You do fall out, but then you make up pretty quickly. I’m sure that things will get tense at some point but that’s how it is,” she added.
“I’m positive we are going to get blisters, but that’s something we will just have to deal with. I’m quite experienced after my runs, but I guess they will hurt in a different way. That’s why we are going to need some good skates!”
The process for choosing the location was a straightforward one. It had to be safe, with plenty of flat, smooth surfaces, as well as simple and cheap to get to from the UK.
Not only was the Netherlands the perfect fit for their needs, but they share a love of the Dutch people and their culture.
— The Great E Skate (@thegreateskate) February 4, 2015
Their skating training began just over three months before they set off – that alone would strike fear into the hearts of many – but Emma is not fazed at all, and thinks anyone can do it if they really try.
She said: “People like to make excuses that they can’t do things because of this or that, but anyone can. Emily’s got a daughter and we’ve managed to fit it in with school holidays. There’s ways around these things.
“We are going for an eight day adventure, but you could just go for one or two days if you want, and it’s not just a challenge, it will be so much fun as well…hopefully.”