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Amy's Long Walk Home

Fundraising for Soft Power Education

163 %
£818.00
raised of £500 target
by 49 supporters
Donate
  • Event: Amy Card's Fundraising Page

Soft Power Education

We work with local communities to improve the quality of life

Story

IMPORTANT UPDATE

Read about my walk- NOW COMPLETED!!- below.

You can still donate! Thanks also for cash donations from Lisa Osmond, Keith O'Connor, D.A.F.S., Lovis Lightwood, the lady I met in the Acorn cafe in Church Stretton (and the Acorn Cafe patrons themselves), the ladies with the snack van who saved me from delirium, Theresa from ACT training, Gareth Thomas, The Owens, The Drews, the Maloneys, Ross, Jamie's family, Angie, the Godfreys and a very generous anonymous sponsor!

WHAT AM I DOING?

My name is Amy and I am currently living in Leeds however home is a small town in the heart of the Welsh valleys. If I want to get a train ticket home at short notice for less than £60 one way I have to opt for a nine and a half hour journey travelling through the night. Upon realising this I guffawed almost as heartily as you just did. The fact is, my friends, a much less ridiculous option would be just to walk the 195 mile journey and that is what I intend to do this Easter. On 22nd March 2009 I will be departing from my warm comfortable University residence on a journey to the land of my fathers (both literally and metaphorically) in aid of Soft Power Education. Over 10 days I will average 20 miles per day come rain or shine and I guarantee I will hate almost every minute of it. I appreciate this, for someone who is allergic even to the word exercise, seems absolutely bonkers but the reality is, if I want to raise a lot of money I have to think big.

All money I raise will go towards the charity, paying for building materials used, and my actual trip will be self funded. Please, if you are donating, don't forget to tick the Gift Aid box in order for the charity to receive an extra percentage. Thank you :)

WHY AM I DOING IT?

The Leeds Uganda Project 2009 is a project run through Leeds University in partnership with Soft Power Education.
Soft Power Education is a small charitable organisation based in the UK whose aim is to develop and improve educational facilities for children in Uganda, mainly in the primary sector.

Over the past ten years Soft Power Education have vastly improved the facilities for children mainly in the Jinja district by building two pre-schools for aids orphans, refurbished the 20 government primary schools in the sub county and have also built a local health clinic and Cultural Centre. In addition to this Soft Power Education have branched out to other areas of Uganda such as Murchison Falls in the North West of the country which was where Leeds Uganda Project 2008 was based.

In 2009 Soft Power and The Leeds Uganda Project are hoping to continue their efforts in Murchison Falls, Jinja and throughout other areas of Uganda. We are hoping to refurbish classroom blocks in four of the local primary schools. In addition to this we will help with local conservation education programs with the children supporting the Uganda Wildlife Authority in their desire to educate the children in the surrounding environs of the park to appreciate and protect it.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Before we are able to depart on our month long project we first need to raise at least £40,000 as a group. As Soft Power is an non profitable organisation every penny raised by us goes directly into the project we will be working on, it will pay for the building materials, employing local builders to guide us and any resources we will need while on the project.

To give you an idea of what materials cost out here...

  • £2.50 will buy 100 bricks.
  • £5 will enable us to buy a shovel or four litres of paint
  • £10 will pay the wage of a tradesman for one week
  • £20 will provide us with six tonnes of building sand
  • £40 will buy a load (8 tonnes) of lake sand or building aggregrate.
  • £50 will buy a 1,000 litre water catchment tank
  • £100 will pay three teachers' wages at one of our preschools
  • £1,000 (well let's not be shy) will refurbish a two classroom primary school block.

So PLEASE be as generous as you can :)

Also, if you think you may be able to help with accomodation along the way then please e-mail me at amyleedsuganda@hotmail.co.uk

 WALK DIARY

DAY 1

Leeds to Huddersfield- as previously mentioned I completed this two weeks before the planned date. My boyfriend came with me and complained all the way. By the time we got to the theatre in Huddersfield we barely made it to our seats. Recovery was good the next day though which was promising.

DAY 2

Well, today I completed the first leg of my monster journey home in aid of SoftPower Education. (You should already know that I did the first bit a few weeks ago due to what turned out to be some extremely fun circumstances!) Considering the fact that I would be covering 24miles I wasn't expecting an easy day; what I hadnt taken into account however was that I would have to cross the Pennines. Yup, all of them. In one day. Yikes. After climbing uphill solidly for close to 2 and a half hours I was worrying that I would soon reach space and more to the point, if I should accidentally cross through the atmosphere, that I certainly wasn't dressed appropriately. Getting to the top and witnessing the glorious view was an elating moment only temporarily dampened by the realisation that I had a good 15 miles to go. On reaching the top however the Gods decided to turn against me and for the next 6 hours I was to be continually battered about the head by a gale that on significantly more than one occasion blew me to the other side of the road into oncoming traffic. My only moment of temporary relief came when I caught sight of myself in a nearby window; the image of a small girl wearing a large rucksack covered by a high visibility jacket that served to make her look like a hunback and wearing a grand total of three hats tied about the chin to prevent them being blown away is surely a sight to behold. Maybe it was altitude sickness, but I laughed until I cried. I am now going to retire into my hostel chamber (all to myself :) ) with a cup of complimentary tea and sleep the deep, refreshing sleep of someone who has actually done something with their day. Makes a change :)
It's going to be a long old 8 days, but I know I can do it :D
Wish me luck!
xXx

DAY 3

Well, today was a stroll in the park compared to yesterday! Only a "shortie" at 12miles (can't believe I'm saying that!) so I took my time to enjoy the scenery from Manchester to Wilmslow. Apart from a light shower the weather held up pretty nicely and I ended up at my destination a happy bunny. Dinner was pizza and politics, my host and I set the world to rights whilst waiting for his wife to get home and make the bed. Lovely :)
Crewe tomorrow- another biggie :(

DAY 4

Today started well, got a lift back to Wilmslow (where I ended up last night) which left me bus money to spend on Lucozade and snickers bars :) Although it was just as long a journey as day 1 it was nowhere near as difficult (just the memory of that horrific experience is enough to send shivers down my spine!). The first tears of the walk were shed upon discovering a dead badger on the side of the road. No sane person would cry at the discovery of roadkill however when you have been alone for a long time you tend to go a bit mental and the sight of this poor little buggers face all distorted by rigamortis got to me in a way only any vaguely emotional scene on TV has ever got to me before. I think we should all send our thoughts to Bodger.
Accommodation tonight was lovely, although I was aware I was arriving at possibly the most inconvenient time I was never made to feel that I was in any way a burden and I had a great time chatting until 11pm! (This is actually a late night when you consider I'd been awake since 6 in the morning!)
xXx

DAY 5

"Home" tonight is Wem, near Shrewsbury and boy was it eventful getting here. I left Crewe in the morning with the intention of picking up something for lunch on the way- no such luck. I walked along the same B road for 4 and a half hours without seeing a soul, let alone a shop or a bench to rest my weary bones. After 14 miles eating nothing but nuts and raisins you start to get a bit delusional and so when I saw a snack van up ahead I thought I must be dreaming. The ladies in this wonderous van didn't really understand when I asked them if they were real but nevertheless dutifully served me the best chips I had ever tasted- EVER. Upon telling them why I was out wandering the roads on the worst day known to man they promptly reassured me that I was mad and told me to go and sit in the back of their car to keep warm whilst I ate. I didn't protest. The women were about to close up, in fact, and what faced me was one of the hardest decisions of my trip so far- they offered me a lift to cut a few miles off the journey- and they promised not to tell anyone. I have to admit for a flicker of a second it did sound EXTREMELY tempting however I've spent so much time organising this bloody thing it's become like a baby to me and unfortunately my conscience kicked in right at that moment. So off I toddled with a few free lollipops, my £2 returned (which I will add to the total) and restored vigour to attack the 10 miles ahead. I was offered 3 more lifts after that one, and only accepted the very last, from the man I was actually staying with, as it was hailstoning and I was going in completely the wrong direction. He assures me he'll drop me off somewhere suitably far away tomorrow so I can make up the mileage- yay.

DAY 6

An early start today meant, although relatively long, my day's walking was finished by 2pm when I arrived in Church Stretton. The walk itself was quite pleasant, it turns out the Shropshire Hills are an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the weather, for once, seemed to be on my side! Tonight I would be staying at the Croft House B and B (a stunningly decorated place run by two of the most welcoming people you could meet, Jean and John) but I couldn't arrive until after 4 as the owners were in a meeting and so I took the opportunity to explore and found the most wonderful little cafe. The Acorn Cafe specialises in wholefoods and everything is homecooked, I took the liberty to treat myself- it being halfway day- and had a beanie hotpot followed by raspberry and apple crumble. I sat there for well over two hours, just enjoying the food and atmosphere (and warm fire!) and in the process managed to get sponsored £5 from the lady sat opposite me! The cafe owners themselves paid for half of my meal, which I thought was lovely of them! If there's one thing I've got out of this trip it's a restored faith in human generosity.

DAY 7

Taxi to Wales please! Ive hit the wall!!
What an AWFUL day! What should have been a lovely stroll through the Shropshire countryside turned out to be nearly 26 miles of hilly hell. Today was the day Dad joined me and I was excited at the prospect of not walking on my own- spirits were high as we left the B and B , naturally a little later than intended, and conversation flowed as easily as the terrain. We made it as far as Craven Arms without any trouble and had planned to do the 22miler in 7 mile stints. After resting in a little roadside cafe however everything stiffened and my body seemed to give up- it took every bit of will left in me to get to Ludlow, where I quite literally collapsed in a supermarket cafe and couldn't physically phone the lady we were to be staying with until I had consumed my bodyweight in sugary drinks. We soldiered on but by now I honestly would have been relieved to have been hit by a bus, anything that meant not having to climb the hill that was in front of me. It wasn't the uphills that hurt, as we took them slowly, but going downhill Dad turned into some sort of Gazelle and left me limping behind, sobbing as every step jarred my knees and hips. We walked through some beautiful countryside in hindsight but at the time every "oh look at that Amy!" was responded to with varying degrees of expletive. When we finally arrived at our stop for the night I barely made it to the sofa. To think some children have to do this every day just to get water terrifies me. Our host was actually going out for the night to celebrate her Grandson's 21st birthday and so she left us, complete strangers, in her house. Her parting words were "just help yourself to anything" , well, that's a mighty fine Grandfather clock...

DAY 8

Today brought fresh tears in abundance and even the onset of sunstroke which had me curled over at the side of the road trying not to vomit. Lovely. Every day is a struggle now and I guarantee I wouldn't have made it without Dad here to keep me limping along. Luckily the route didn't take much navigating, I say luckily as when I printed my maps out from the internet I wasn't aware that the ink was running out in my printer. "Turn left" is all well and good IF you know which road to turn onto...
We arrived in Hereford safe and just about in one piece and Dad was picked up from my surrogate family's house, taken to his own bed and probably waited on hand and foot or something similar. I, meanwhile, had to climb a WHOLE flight of stairs to get to the bath that had been run for me then go ALL THE WAY back down to eat the food prepared for me. A bit inconsiderate if you ask me ;) Apparently I was in the Argus today and they've quoted me, which is odd seeing as I haven't spoken to them... Oh, the life of a celebrity, eh?

DAY 9

Today I had a back up car! Originally Dad was going to use today as a recovery day but seeing the state of me the past two days I think he realised I wasn't going to make it to the end without some help. Only having paperwork to do he brought it with him and parked in 5 mile intervals with snacks and drinks so I could at least sit in comfort on the otherwise pretty bleak Hereford road. It also meant I didn't have to carry that ridiculously large backpack! I was given some Isotonic drink yesterday which made me feel 100 times better so I'm guessing I must have been depleted of pretty much every beneficial substance in my body- hence the cramping and sickness. My knee has finally started playing up but only intermittently at the moment- every few miles it feels as though there is broken glass building up in between the joint. Oh well, last day tomorrow! And I'm officially in Wales!!! Never thought I'd be so happy to see that sign!

Day 10

Last day!!! As you can imagine, spirits were high to begin with. Mum had picked me up from Abergavenny yesterday and I got to sleep in my own bed, be helped out of my own bath, eat obscene amounts of my own food (oddly enough, I've been craving broccoli...) so life is officially good again. Even climbing the 4 mile straight up hill that is The Keepers wasn't as awful as I'd expected (granted we did stop off halfway for a little cake to spur us on). Unfortunately, on reaching the top, my knee decided to pack in completely and every downward step thereafter felt like I was being shot in the leg. I wasn't about to give up though a mere 4 miles away from home. Limping, smelling like yesterdays socks, I arrived to my welcome party - helium balloons and a big snog from mother. Perfection. Once she had physically pulled me up the drive and then heaved me over the front doorstep I could say I had officially made it- I have walked, very nearly crawled, from Leeds to Abersychan. Surely that's worth a quid or two?

Thanks.

Amy x

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