Physio’s Iron Curtain challenge

7 August 2015

A physiotherapist from the Royal Free London will take on the challenge of a lifetime when she travels along the former Iron Curtain to raise money for children and armed forces charities.

In August Justine Gosling, 30, will walk, run, hike, and cycle 5,000 miles through 16 countries as she traces the boundary line that divided Europe and the Soviet Union between 1945 and 1991.

Along the way the health worker from Hampstead will visit various historical landmarks, such as Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin and the KGB Museum in Latvia. It is believed the journey will see her become the first person on record to walk the entire Russian-Finnish border.

The once-in-a-lifetime journey is part of the G.H.Mumm Champagne Cordon Rouge Club’s mentorship competition, which invited budding explorers to pitch their ideas for unique and exciting adventures, with the promise that one idea would become a reality.

Justine said she entered the competition on a whim, submitting her application just an hour before the deadline.

She said: “I thought nothing of it. It was just this silly little fantasy. But then during a meeting at work I got a message from G.H.Mumm telling me I had won. My first thought was ‘my God, what have I committed to?’

“I’m not quite sure how I came up with the idea. It had to be a first, it had to be inspiring and it had to have a legacy. The history of the Iron Curtain it is really interesting and there are so many fascinating stories coming out of it.”

In preparation for the epic journey Justine has been running half marathons, going on long walks around London and doing strength and conditioning training. She is also being mentored by members of the Cordon Rouge Club, including legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, TV presenter and travel writer Charley Boorman, and broadcaster and adventurer Ben Fogle.

Justine said: “I’m really excited and trying not to let nerves set in. I’m realistic. I know it’s going to be tough and I know there are going to be difficult times. But I will complete this. It’s not going to be pretty, it’s not going to be fast, but I will do it.”

Ben Fogle, the 2014 chairman of the Cordon Rouge Club, said: “We were all really delighted by the diverse number of expedition applications submitted, ranging from a stand up paddleboard adventure around Iceland to a unique circumnavigation of the UK. However we were particularly inspired by the Justine’s expedition due to its unique story.”

Over the four-month journey Justine hopes to raise money through sponsorship for two charities: Walking with the Wounded, which raises money for the re-education and re-training of wounded servicemen and women; and Hope and Homes for Children, which works to get children living in orphanages and other institutions back to their families.

To find out more or to follow her progress using her interactive map, visit Justine’s website.

To donate visit:

Notes to editors

Media contacts: or call 020 7317 7740

Images: top - Justine Gosling; bottom - Charley Boorman, Justine Gosling and Leo Houlding. Photos courtesy of Spike Reid, Iron Curtain Expedition.

About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare. 

The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver, kidney and bone marrow transplantation, haemophilia, renal, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.

In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London. Read 'A bigger trust, a better future.'

About the Cordon Rouge Club and the expedition mentorship competition

Founded in 2008, the Cordon Rouge Club comprises a growing membership of some of the world’s leading adventurers and explorers. The club has created a unique expedition mentorship programme to support the next generation of adventurers.

What sets this programme apart is that the winning expedition team will enjoy unique access to be mentored by all of the highly accomplished Cordon Rouge Club members. The members will endorse, provide advice and offer up their incredible expertise to the chosen winners. 

Club chairman for 2014, Ben Fogle, and 2015 chairman, Leo Houlding, created a shortlist of six top entries which were shared with all the other Cordon Rouge Club members for blind voting.

For more information on the G.H.Mumm Cordon Rouge Club please contact Dulcie Clare – 020 7731 1499 –