A virtual walking challenge from London to Lapland has been launched by The Personal Travel Agents at Co-operative Travel in a bid to to lift homeworkers’ spirits.

The Lockdown to Lapland virtual walk is a well-being project by the homeworking group, part of Midcounties Co-operative, during the current England lockdown.

More than 100 homeworkers and head office staff are taking part and have been challenged to complete the walk by going on their own local walks with distances logged via a dedicated app and plotted on a virtual map.

The agents have been split into three teams which are competing to reach Lapland by December 1. There will be a celebratory virtual gluhwein evening to celebrate the agents reaching their destination.

Each team has to walk 3,725km, equivalent to 5.5 million steps per team. Agents log their daily step count and can stop off at famous landmarks. They can post details of their progress on social media, with destination or landmark facts and offers for their customers.

The walk is not to raise money but is part of a test-run for a planned 2021 charity walk to raise money for The Travel Foundation.

Lockdown to Lapland Route

Sheena Whittle, head of The Personal Travel Agents at Co-operative Travel said: “When lockdown 2.0 was announced, we decided we wanted to do something to keep our Personal Travel Agents’ spirits up and help them stay motivated.

“The Lockdown to Lapland challenge seemed like the perfect idea because it encourages us to get out and walk in the fresh air every day, which helps our physical fitness as well as our mental wellbeing.”

She added: “The enthusiasm for the initiative has far exceeded our expectations. There’s a fantastic camaraderie amongst the agents and our head office team and it’s proving to be the perfect tonic for a gloomy autumn lockdown.”

Personal travel agent Carol Novelli said the challenge was keeping her motivated and fit. She said: “I’ve gone from feeling pretty fed up with life and not exercising regularly, to really enjoying the camaraderie of our challenge. I’m out walking every day, whatever the weather, discovering some beautiful places that are literally on my doorstep.”

Another PTA Amy Shuttleworth added: ”Over the last few months I have been feeling a little demotivated. Starting the “Lockdown to Lapland” walk has really boosted my confidence. Seeing all my colleagues’ pictures and talking in our various groups has given me that feeling of being part of a team and the motivation to get back out there and promote my business.”

The homeworking group has also introduced a Facebook forum called The Rainbow Room for agents to discuss anything non-work related, whether it’s to share book recommendations, swap recipes, have a chat or to buy and sell items to each other or even exercise together.

The “social space” was created to help agent support each other during lockdown and help their mental health.