Cathy and Martin

By Cathy

We're fundraising for...

Cathy Gray-Purcell and Martin Purcell are hiking the Jatbula trail in the Katherine Gorge region, NT over 6 days in May/June 2022. We're raising funds to support the care and expertise given to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients by the Sydney Eye Hospital.

The Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation is proud to be helping remove the barriers Aboriginal people face when seeking this specialty service. 

Family support is vital in keeping patients in hospital and accessing care. In recognition of this the Foundation is funding meals, transport and temporary accommodation for the estimated 1,400 patients and family members each year, largely from regional areas.

Your donation is purely for this extremely worthwhile purpose, as all travel , accommodation, food and equipment costs for the Jatbula trek are covered by ourselves.

Thank you so much for your generous donation.

My Updates

Jatbula Trail: All done!

Sunday 5th Jun

A grueling six days on the trail concluded Saturday morning as our group of 10 trekkers and 2 guides navigated the final, tricky 5 km to the finish at Edith Falls. While not as spectacular as the daily sights we experienced on the trail, the carpark, kiosk and flushing toilets represented a (mostly) welcome return to the real world. It was nice to finally sit on something other than a rock, crawling with green ants and we enjoyed an ice cream before boarding our bus for the 4-hour drive back to Darwin.

Everybody made it to the finish of this challenging trek, despite numerous falls, twisted ankles, heat exhaustion, blisters (everyone experienced these), cuts, bruises and fatigue. Oldest trekker was 75 and whilst he fell Day 2 in a swampy section and gashed his leg, there was never any doubt he would get to the end. The enduring memories will be the stunning and diverse scenery, flora and fauna, the many waterfalls and swimming holes that greeted us at the end of each day’s hiking and the camaraderie and support among strangers that developed over the six days. The five trekkers representing the SEH Foundation (Kim, Felicity Cathy, Vigi and Martin) each had their moments of doubt but pushed through it, spurred on by the support from many back home, plus the knowledge of how the funds raised can change the lives of many Indigenous people and their families. Many thanks also to World Expeditions and our amazing guides Maggie and Timothy who made the adventure so much more pleasurable for all of us.

Please check out the photos in the gallery below (we’ll add some more later) and thanks again for all the support. Not sure if our sore and ageing bodies can do something like this in future but there’ll be no such thoughts over the next few days as we take it easy in Darwin and surrounds. See you soon. Cathy & Martin

Pre-trek in Darwin

Sunday 29th May
After arriving in Darwin late yesterday, we made a beeline for the Darwin Sailing Club with Kim and Felicity. Sole purpose was to start acclimatising to the warmer outdoor temperatures. A pleasant side-benefit was savouring the wines and brews on offer and sampling the local barra from the bistro. Shortly we head to the trek briefing where the guides willlet us know what to expect over the next 6 days. Its rumored they will also weigh and inspect our packs and tell us what we can and can't take. I fear my case of Balter XPA won't clear this hurdle. We leave at 6am tomorrow and the next blog will be Sun 5th. Take care... Cathy & Martin

Anticipation and trepidation.

Wednesday 25th May
Why have we chosen to drag our (not so youthful) bodies around the Jatbula Trail? Firstly,  Cathy likes to immerse herself in a project and also regularly seeks out physical challenges to test her endurance and resilience. More importantly, its supporting Sydney Eye Hospital Foundation to enhance eye health for first nation people from remote parts of NSW and further afield who need expert treatment . As her partner, I'm tagging along and probably wouldn't have contemplated such a thing if I'd fully understood what was ahead of us.  Naively, I had this idea that it was a "glamping" expedition with gourmet meals, air conditioned tents and a  bit of walking, sightseeing and swimming. Knowing the real purpose I can't really complain about any lack of comfort we might experience in the time we're on the trail. Just a few more days now and we hit the track!

How (not) to prepare!!

Sunday 22nd May
After the fun and excitement of Cathy's 60th at Easter we thought we'd settle into the "easy" task of finishing our physical preparation for the event. What could go wrong? In recent years Cathy has conquered Kokoda, Oxfam, Coastrek, Cradle Mountain and Cinque Terra. Martin has a marathon running background and still jogs the odd 5-10k comfortably.  Sadly, we didn't bank on one factor.
When we signed up for the walk, the blurb mentioned a small detail - everything you need for the 6-day walk has to be carried on your back! Roughly 17 kilos in total. Our first pack on a training walk weighed 12 kilos. It seemed heavy but everything was going ok for the first few km until Cathy's feet got tangled and she face-planted on the pavement. She learnt the hard way that as you fall forward, the extra 12kg on your back is not helpful. We won't share photos of her face at the time (now healed) and her wrists and knees took the brunt of it. After a partial recovery, a couple of weeks later we started upping the weights to about 16kg. Steep fire trails with loose rubble suddenly seemed quite perilous, although you'd have to say that Cathy looks supremely confident in the photo! Last Sunday we had a successful 11k walk with full pack to North Head.  Admittedly, this hasn't been a textbook preparation, but we're determined to get through it! Thanks everybody for all your support. We'll provide an update on this page when we get to Darwin. The blog after that will be a week later as there's no facilities or internet on the trek. Cheers, Cathy and Martin
Monday 14th Feb

Thank you to my Sponsors


Catherine Rushton


Margie & Peter Mcconvill

Happy Birthday Cathy and happy to support you both on this amazing challenge. I am sure you will enjoy the walk for such a wonderful cause.


Valerie Maree Hindmarsh

Dear Cathy & Martin, Congratulations on turning 60th Cathy - welcome to the club. Best wishes on your trek - wishing you a fun & easy trip. Love, Val & Neil Hindmarsh



Happy Birthday Cathy 🎂🎈🎈🎈great charity 😘😘 Kate and Tom


Darrell & David Sumpter

Happiest of birthdays beautiful Cathy. Have the most wonderful day my lovely. We are so excited to be celebrating with you your family & friends on Saturday xxx Big love & cuddles Darrell & Dave


Frank & Rosalba Mesiti

Happy 60TH Birthday Cathy! Looking forward to the celebrations. All the very best for your Trek! Xxx


Andrea & Scott Duncan

Happy 60th! Can’t wait to celebrate with you. Love Scott and Andrea


Tracey Daly

Happy 60th birthday!


Sylvia Sutton

Enjoy the walk!


Liz Treloar

Goodluck xx


Jeanette Hughes

Thanks for the fun evening on the 16th April. Enjoy your trek in the NT. Stay safe!


Lee Sar

What an amazing adventure and worthy cause! Wishing you all the best for the trip x


Dianne And James

Best wishes to you both for an amazing adventure! Keep safe and enjoy! Much love, James & Di


Diana Pellowe

Hope you have a great walk and experience. What a worthy cause. Diana and Mark.


Julie Cameron

Happy Birthday Cath!


Libby & Wayne Jones

Happy birthday lovely lady. We hope you reach your fundraising goal and enjoy your hike together. It's such a gorgeous walk which highlights the diverse scenery and colours of our beautiful outback. Love Lib & Wayne


Sue & Warwick



Sharon Galpin

Cathy and Martin What a marvellous thing to do. Sharon and Darren xx


Judy & Ray Brennan

Congratulations Cathy for your 60th birthday. Best wishes for an amazing time on your hike. Judy & Ray Brennan




Cathy Gray-purcell


Linda Fagan

So thrilled you are both doing this! Can't wait to see the photos of the beautiful gorges and waterfalls!


Kirsty Black

Gooooo Cathy!!



Have a wonderful experience Cathy and Martin


Wendy Smith

Hope you have a very Happy Birthday and wishing you a fabulous time on the walk. Love Wendy and Andrew Smith


Jill And Brendan Green


Jenny Knight

We hope you have a wonderful walk! And also wishing you a very Happy Birthday! Rob & Jenny


Michael Gallagher

Well done guys and good luck!


Nigel And Gail

Have a wonderful walk, enjoy the scenery and experience and think of us , thinking of you. Hugs.


Robert Allsop

Great work Cathy, good luck and enjoy the walk.


Jenny Graham


Julie Brassil

Wishing you a safe passage on your trek!


Paul Griffiths

Great cause! Good luck!


Erica Brar

You 2 are amazing. !!


Marja And Noel Moran

Well done, what a trip!



Congratulations and well done


Sue Knight

Wishing you smooth pain free trekking


Scott Price

Nice alt quote!