Hiking the famous Offa's Dyke Trail

Emma D'Sylva takes on the 285km Offa's Dyke Trail with her two dogs...

Emma D'sylva
By Emma D'sylva


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Hi, my name is Emma and alongside my dogs Amber and Douglas I'm going to be taking on a big charity challenge fuelled by VOOM! 


Our aim is to raise £5,000 for HeroPaws and Search and Rescue Dogs Association Wales and we have a fantastic prize draw worth over £700 for everyone who sponsors us so be sure to check out our fundraising page and show your support for a chance to win.

The Challenge:

This June Amber, Douglas and I are going to be attempting to complete all 285km of the famous Offa's Dyke trail in just 6 days. We will be walking the route criss crossing the borders of England and Wales and wild camping along the way whilst carrying all of our necessary supplies for the trip (the dogs have their rucksacks too). The trail is undulating with a total incline of 29,806ft which is more climbing than the height of Mt Everest, so it will be a real challenge covering an average of 47.5km/29.5miles per day.


Luckily for me I will have a good supply of my favourite VOOM bars on hand to get me up those hills.


I discovered VOOM a little while ago and they have since accompanied me on many trips. I can't imagine I'll ever use energy gels again. Not only do they taste fantastic they're so handy to just stick in your pocket and eat a square at a time when needed. I'll be using a selection of the Electro Energy, Caffeine Kick and POWR bars to see me through my journey and won't have to deal with stashing any gross sticky gel pouches!

About Us:


I have always loved being outdoors; walking, camping, climbing and paddle boarding, and those trips were always a million times better with my dogs. In 2013 I set out to raise money for a local dog rescue and walked this same route with my first dog Skye a Yellow Labrador. I was totally underprepared for the trip due to being over prepared for every eventuality and carrying way too much kit. I had never done a solo multiday trek for more than a night or two prior to this, my pack weighed about 25kg and it was hard going! Nevertheless we completed the route in 12 days and Skye did an excellent job carrying her rucksack.

In 2019 at 12 years old Skye lost her yearlong battle with heart failure and sadly I had to say goodbye to her. Her son Oakley (aka best boy ever) was very depressed so a short time after losing Skye I adopted Amber an 18 months old Lab. She was total crazy whirlwind of energy, worlds apart from the calm life I'd experienced with Skye and Oakley but her happy go lucky attitude did a fantastic job of distracting Oaks and she settled in to her new rural life of adventures with ease. However in 2022 life as I knew it came to an abrupt halt when Oakley was suddenly taken ill and found to have a massive tumour on his heart. There was nothing that could be done to save him and yet again I had to say my goodbyes.

Amber adapted well to being a spoilt only child until February this year when with 15 minutes notice I took on the crazy Belgian Malinois boy Douglas. This boy had a very bad start to life and his owner was trying to get him shot. Luckily for him one of the people who was asked to dispose of the dog knew me and my inability to say no to an animal in need and called straight away asking for help. Douglas was completely out of control and terrified of people, when I met him he was muzzled and lunging and snapping at anything that went near him. His owner had zero control of him and I did worry about what my 'help any animal' attitude had got me into. Fortunately I managed to build his confidence and change him around very quickly and he's now a completely different dog who is ready to join us on this massive challenge as we continue Skye and Oakley’s adventurous legacy.

The Charities:

As you’ll be aware by now I quite like dogs and that’s why I want to give back to some very special dogs who go above and beyond dedicating and often risking their lives to making the world a better place for us humans. 

Hero Paws:


Providing military, forces and service dogs with a happy retirement through rehabilitation retraining and rehoming. These amazing people help so many Veteran Dogs get the happy retirement that they so badly deserve after bravely serving their country. Unfortunately retired service dogs do not recieve any financial support from the forces in which they served and sadly without the help of charities like Hero Paws many are euthanised without a chance of retirement. These guys have helped so many dogs including MWD Funz who was formerly handled by Jason Fox from SAS who dares wins. HeroPaws are currently trying to raise £1.3million to create a new sanctuary so that they can help many more brave hero dogs.

Registered Charity (SC051486)

SARDA Wales:


National Search and Rescue Dogs Association Wales are a specialist component of Mountain Rescue as well as other urban search crews. As someone who is regularly out and about in the hills I have huge respect for the work that these guys do. The dog teams are second to none and regularly locate missing and injured people that a human search team may well miss or take much longer to locate. These dogs and their volunteer handlers save many lives and can operate in conditions such as thick cloud that would be near impossible for human search teams to be effective in. 

Reg charity (506056)

The Prize Draw:


As an incentive to all of our supporters we are running a prize draw where every £1 donated =1 ticket into an ever growing draw of amazing prizes currently worth around £700. These have all been kindly donated by some very generous companies and a full list + T&C's can be found at the bottom of our fundraising page.

Prizes include:

☆ VOOM taster pack +£25 voucher

☆ Family Bounce Below ZipWorld ticket

☆ Woodland Ways Bushcraft course up to £270

☆ £50 Body Piercing By Torz voucher

☆ Hero Paws goodies

☆ Pawfit 3 pet tracker + 1month subscription 

☆ Betty Miller dog treat bundles

☆ Beco Pet dog treat and toy bundle

☆ Hereford Mantrailing Intro course 

I hope you'll all support us in our challenge and don't forget to follow our journey on Facebook and look out for an opportunity for 1 free entry. 

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