Barefoot Backpacker

Cross-Britain Hike - E2W Challenge

Fundraising for Mind
raised of £1,000 target
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RCN 219830


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So, in late October, I went to a festival (Yestival) full of people who were, as the cliché goes, 'living life to the full'. The principle behind the festival, indeed the whole movement, is to “Say Yes More” - that is, saying 'yes I can' to yourself more; when you have an idea, no matter how minor or outlandish, believe in your own capabilities of being able to do it. There were people there who revelled in their achievements, from having picnics on the beach with their 7-year-olds, to walking from Germany to Tibet, from cycling around Eastern England with maps, clothing, equipment, and a bike from the 1940s, to helping out in refugee camps in France.

It had been on my mind to do something a bit … outlandish for a while, probably involving a long walk. The traditional idea of hiking along the Camino De Santiago from the Pyrenees to Santiago De Compostela in Northern Spain – the old pilgrimage route – had been in my mind for ages, but I fancied doing a little bit different. Before I went to Yestival, I'd had a silly, throwaway, idea of hiking across Great Britain; everyone knows about Land's End to John O'Groats, the traditional walk from not quite the Southernmost point of Great Britain not to quite the Northernmost, but I felt that was a bit 'old hat'. My thought was to go West to East, from close to Ardnamurchan Point in Scotland to Lowestoft in Suffolk, partly because no-one ever does that, and partly because, uhm, I figured it would be shorter. Going to Yestival inspired me to turn this silly idea into reality (alcohol was not involved in my decision), so I left with a strong drive to make it happen.

Now, I know next to nothing about long-distance hikes, but fortunately I know people who did. I'd arranged to meet up anyway with my friend and local outdoor blogger Becky The Traveller a couple of days after I got back to Nottinghamshire, so asked her advice. Well that was the intention; the conversation went something like this:
 - “What's the longest hike you've ever done, or want to do?”
 - “Well, I've been thinking for a while about doing Land's End to John O'Groats.”
 - “... Hold that thought!”
Within only a couple of minutes of raising the idea, not only did I have a hiking companion but she had already started planning the route and what we'd need to do. As one of life's edge-livers, having someone skilled at organisation is something of a godsend!

And here we are! She suggested maybe while we're on the way doing it anyway that we ought to raise money for a charity, and we quickly agreed on MIND as mental health is something that's affected not only many people we know, but in fact us both personally as well, so it's a cause to heart.

Importantly though, raising money for charity isn't the reason we're doing the walk; we'd have done it anyway - it's just one of those 'it's probably a great great things to do while we're doing it' ideas.


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About the charity


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RCN 219830
We’re Mind, the mental health charity, working across England & Wales. We believe no one should face a mental health problem alone. We’re here for you. Whether you’re stressed, depressed or in crisis. We’ll listen, give support & advice, & fight your corner. Thanks for fundraising for national Mind.

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