Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - I raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.So please dig deep and donate now.
I will be walking from my brother's house in Pembroke, South Wales to my house in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, a distance of about 230 miles. I start my walk on Sunday 4th April (Easter Sunday) and intend to average just over 20 miles a day so that I arrive in Amersham after 11 days. My older brother has Parkinson's Disease and all of the money raised will go to the Parkinson's Disease Society.I decided to do this after my mum died last September and felt that I needed to give something. So, in part, this walk is for my mother, but I have always felt that I would set myself a physical challenge at some point in my life and, with my 58th birthday looming, it felt like an achievable goal.
9th March - many thanks to all those who have already made donations, the comments are much appreciated and a positive motivation. Well on the way to £1000 and hopefully much more. Training is going ok but many miles to tread still.29th March - many thanks to those of you who have made donations in the last 2-3 weeks and for the words of encouragement. Again, much appreciated. Training has been difficult during the week however weekends have been a little better with double figure miles being achieved. Training on the roads will finish on Wednesday coinciding with the end of term and allowing some rest before travelling to Pembroke on Saturday, ready for an early start on Sunday. Emma and I will be updating the website regularly during the walk so feel free to log on and find out how I'm doing.
2nd April - Heading down to Wales tomorrow after a relaxing 2 or 3 days. The nerves are beginning to kick in and to be honest we just want to get going now. Sunday looks like it will be sunny which will be a good way to start the walk but there are conflicting views about Monday's weather, hopefully it will stay fine. As long as its not too windy or cold then I think it will be ok!3rd April - Many thanks to Pembroke Rugby Club who handed us a cheque for £500 this afternoon. This was fantastic news and has really made the £5000 target achievable.
Details of the schedule are below:4th April - Day 1 Pembroke to St. Clears 20miles
Actually turned out to be more like 24miles but we made it in 6 hours 30mins which isn't bad. A little achy but a liittle rest and some decent food and I should be good to go tomorrow. Many thanks to all those who sent me on my way this morning - the little leaving party was great motivation and made the start all the easier. Many thanks also to everyone in Pembroke who have given us donations over the past 24 hours - every bit helps.5th April - Day 2 St. Clears to Rhosmaen, Llandeilo 24miles
Before I report on today I should say an apology to all those that tooted and waved as we walked yesterday. Radio Pembrokeshire and the Western Telegraph had promoted the walk for me and the toots and waves were great motivation. Many thanks.Todays walk was again longer than expected, 25 miles, but a slightly better night's sleep helped the preparation. I have had to find routes off the A40 as walking along dual carriageways is illegal, hence the few extra miles. However, the walk is more pleasant and a lot quieter. This morning took me through the farming area behind Carmarthen (Meidrim, Merthyr and Trevaughn) getting to Carmarthen around 11. There was a road race being held in the centre of town whilst I walked through but I have to say I wasn't tempted to join in! This afternoon's stroll was 15 miles along the river Towy out through Capel Dewi and Llanarthne and on to Ffairfach. When the sun shone it showed the valley in all its glory.
Not too many ill-effects from the day and in fact I ended the day feeling a little better than yesterday. Only slight problem is that it looks like the blisters are coming!!6th April - Day 3 Llandeilo to Trecastle 20.5miles
Went over the wild Black Mountains rather than along the A40 today so about 19 miles. Much of the day was spent walking along single track farm roads or National Trust land, much of which was spectacular, so I had a lot of sheep for company! The unfortunate bit was the number of hills I had to climb because what goes up must come down and, with my feet feeling a bit worse for wear, my toes hitting the front of my trainers every step was painful to say the least. Blisters, however, seem alright as nothing had burst and the second skin stuff is really doing its job. Slightly longer rest today having finished earlier but will need this before the really long day tomorrow. Many thanks to those keeping in touch.7th April - Day 4 Trecastle to Crickhowell 24miles
Limped the first 5 miles this morning until Emma bought me a new pair of shoes ½ a size bigger – it was like having new feet!! The blisters weren’t too bad but the pounding on the big toes was becoming really painful and the extra room in the new trainers was a welcome relief. The morning’s walk was along the A40 to Brecon which was ok and surprisingly there was little traffic. This afternoon’s walk however was much more pleasant taking a route along the River Usk and the adjoining canal all the way to Crickhowell. Despite the weather predictions, today was the day we had rain, although it didn’t last long and by the time we got to Crickhowell the sun was shining.As usual the end of the walk was uphill however the Bear Hotel seems to be a wonderful place to relax and recover. I’m sure we’ll be persuaded to try a pint of their best at some point this evening. On this note we should mention the very nice friendly place we stayed in last night – the Castle Coaching Inn in Trecastle – which was quiet after the busy Easter weekend but very welcoming.
A shorter day tomorrow – hopefully time to recoup and re-energise before hitting England!8th April - Day 5 Crickhowell to Raglan 18.4miles (More like 15.5miles)
The day started off very well with our bill at The Bear in Crickhowell having been paid for by a good friend – you know who you are and many, many thanks.A shorter day today, with very few ups and downs, which has helped the muscles and feet to recover a bit. What also helped was an absolutely glorious day – sun shining and shirt sleeves by mid morning. If I’m not careful people will think I’ve been to Antigua for a week rather than walking through Wales. Made it into Raglan at about 2.20pm, looking forward to a long afternoon’s rest. Had a pleasant evening with Sarah and Helen (nieces from Pembroke, now living and working in Cardiff) who, without our knowing, paid for dinner. Really appreciated the gesture!
9th April - Day 6 Raglan to Little Dean, Cinderford 22.5milesIt was tough to get motivated this morning, perhaps it was the middle day syndrome i.e. 5 days done, 5 ½ to go. The fact that by the end of the day it was going to be 6 days done and only 4 ½ to go didn’t seem to make a difference. Now, having finished the day it sounds pretty good.
In fact today was a milestone day for many reasons. I also walked out of Wales and into England and walked beyond the half way mark – it’s all downhill from here. If only that were literally true. What also made it a milestone day was that I put on shorts for the first time this year. I can hear you all saying ‘any excuse’ but you must be having the wonderful weather that we’re having! Walking through the countryside, especially the picturesque Forest of Dean this afternoon, makes you feel as though you should be on holiday. Admittedly not many decide to walk 230 miles during their holiday!The only thing that spoilt the day was the hotel. Emma had gone on ahead as usual to check in but left the keys as she walked out, apparently it was that bad. Having tried another place just down the road she ended up driving back to a place we walked passed in the Forest of Dean – much nicer and somewhere to really relax.
10th April - Day 7 Little Dean, Cinderford to Charlton Kings, Cheltenham 23milesFirstly thanks to everyone who is sending best wishes and adding even more to the total. I am really hopeful of getting to my target now.
After the shenanigans of yesterday afternoon, we had a lovely evening at The Speech House and a good night’s sleep, awaking to yet another glorious day. Today was the Little Dean to Charlton Kings section of the walk. I started off this morning at a quick pace being more motivated than usual to get going, and I spent some time thinking about the reasons for completing this walk instead of the actual motion of putting one foot in front of the other. This, together with some John Fogerty on my ipod, meant that I did nearly 10 miles in 2 hours 37mins.Emma went on as usual to the hotel to meet up with Clarkie, who has joined us for the evening. He then dropped Emma off so that she was able to walk the last 3 ½ to 4 miles with me. Its a good job she did as the walk in from Leckhampton to Charlton Kings wasn’t as straight forward as you would have thought when looking at the map!
Resting up now before a beer with Clarkie this evening.11th April - Day 8 Charlton Kings, Cheltenham to Burford 20miles
Many thanks to the owners of Charlton King’s hotel who looked after us really well, made us sandwiches for today and donated some money to the cause.A difficult day’s walking, cooler than the last couple of days and made worse by a poor night’s sleep. However, the last few miles through some picturesque Cotswold villages were quite enjoyable. Little Barrington’s cricket pitch was being rolled which makes me think that summer is on the way.
Meeting up with a friend and colleague from School, Geoff, tonight and he should be walking some or all of the way with me tomorrow. I should also have company from David tomorrow, who’s coming down for breakfast in the morning. It will be great to have people to talk to rather than the sheep and, today, horses.12th April - Day 9 Burford to Oxford 18.4miles (turned out to be more like over 20 miles!)
Today was a really good day. David made it to Burford in time for 7.45am breakfast and he and Geoff proceeded to have hearty full English’s as sustenance for the day ahead. Geoff seemed a little on the nervous side having admitted that he hadn’t done ANY training on the basis that he didn’t want to be knackered to start with!The morning’s walk took us through some delightful Cotswold villages but I think a few more than we were supposed to as Emma rang to say that she couldn’t find us and we weren’t on the road that she had planned! So, on the day when there were 3 of us walking, we had temporarily got lost! No matter, we were through Witney by 12, stopping briefly for lunch before hitting the A40 in the afternoon. Geoff put on a heel plaster at lunch, ‘as a precaution’ in his words and only his feet were aching a bit.
The afternoon’s walk was much more functional. Geoff and David stopped at Tom’s roadside cafe for a cup of tea but other than that we didn’t really stop until the hotel in Oxford. By that stage Geoff was struggling a little with the aches having worked their way up his legs but David seemed absolutely fine – good fitness. May I say a very big thanks to you both for keeping me company today. I now have 1 ½ days to go!13th April - Day 10 Oxford to Saunderton, Princes Risborough 24miles
The penultimate day and the continual aches and pains are beginning to kick in as the body hasn’t had a rest for a while. Added to that was the fact that much of today was ‘urban walking’, along busy roads, in fact walking the A418 into Thame was probably the worst road conditions I have experienced during the whole of this journey. However, the last 7 miles or so were out in the countryside again and just as I was beginning to wilt Phil Evans popped up out of nowhere with some welcome refreshments and a chat for the last mile and a half.Tomorrow is the last part of this expedition which has brought me through 7 counties and some of the most beautiful parts of two countries. The last few miles will be no exception and will seem even better because home will be at the end of it. I think I’m nearly ready to put my feet up!
14th April - Day 11 Saunderton, Princes Risborough to Amersham 13.2milesHome at last! Slightly longer last day than expected having lost our way, ironically as we came within 3 miles of our home town. I was accompanied by David for the whole walk today, Emma found us around Great Hampden having dropped the car off at home and James walked the last 5 miles from Great Missenden. We were joined in Hyde Heath by a number of Emma’s family, including our nephews, Ollie and Charlie, who walked into Amersham and a lunchtime pizza. We soldiered on for another mile and home.
A small welcoming party had assembled at the house where we shared a bottle of Champagne, courtesy of Nigel, which we found at back door. What a great homecoming, sipping Champagne on the not so manicured lawn, with 8 friends and family.Now perhaps it’s time to get back to normal – shopping in Amersham, cutting grass and sky sports! I shall write a final piece for the website in a couple of days when I have had time to reflect on the adventure but for now it’s time to rest my feet.