Archive for June, 2012


Here I am at the starting point of our marathon walk along the Hadrian Wall trail. It’s around 11am on Monday 11th June 2012. After the 3.5 hours drive to Bowness I’m set for the off with my companion, John Games – and boy,  are we excited !!

Whether on country lanes & paths; beside beautiful rivers; over lush meadows (with their occupants); through wooded copses; meandering through delightful villages; viewing Roman remains (especially Housesteads); crossing challenging crags; even skirting the industrial & housing estates of Carlisle & Newcastle – this journey was quite entrancing – with nothing of ‘sameness’ at any one stage. Here’s a little pictorial sample, just click on the thumbnails to enlarge:

By far the most challenging was the 3rd day, when we took the best part of 9 hours to cover the incredible crags between The Banks and Housesteads. Having such formidable names as: Walltown Crags, Cawfield Crags, Windshield Crags, and Steel Rigg they pushed me to the limit, physically, but rewarded me with their simply astonishing vistas.

Along the trail we met fascinating people – fellow walkers, villagers, wonderful B&B hosts (among them Jackie & David at Grindon, and Paula at Houghton). What an inspiration, for example, to meet 96-yrs old Doris, walking for the Centre Point charity. And how encouraging that my friend, John Kitwood, drove from Brigg especially to have a meal & drink on the 5th night. Met by our families at Wallsend after the 90-mile trek, I was incredibly elated by the sense of achievement at having taken on this challenge of my lifetime. And here’s a copy of my ‘summer passport’ stamped at the various stages across the walk…

Raising support for orphans in the care of Fresh-Hope Ministries was the motivation for the walk, but there have been so many incredible spin-offs too, not least on the health & fitness front.

So, a very special THANK YOU once again to all who have felt able to support in any way – by messaging, but especially by giving to help the African orphans.

There is still opportunity to donate to the work of Fresh-Hope through their website – the link will remain available for another week or so at: www.fresh-hope.org/walk

Now I’d be so grateful to see the target met, with more than £1300 either received or pledged, at going to press.

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Right then – it’s the Final Countdown to June 11th.

And I’m well up for it, albeit nerves are jangling (I wish those butterflies would fly in formation !) and joints are  creaking … BUT preparations are well nigh complete and it’s soon time to take on my biggest physical challenge in many years – Hadrian’s Wall.

What a fun journey so far …  900 miles, more than 250 hours of walking, since the adventure began in mid-August 2011 – and much of it alone. Although I must mention three people who have made the course more enjoyable.

  • My indefatigable companion, John Games (who also faces the challenge with me on the 11th) joined me on several ‘longer’ walks – when we talked of family, church, sport, politics and numberless other matters.
  • My long-suffering wife, Sue, occasionally came for shorter walks, and her untiring support throughout has helped to get me this far.
  • On one memorable 3-hour jaunt in the wolds of North Lincolnshire my fellow traveller was good friend, Dominic O’Connor, priest of St Mary’s RC church in Brigg.  So engrossed were we in sharing life-stories, theological perspectives and personal aspirations, that time flew by so swiftly.

After pounding pathways and country lanes around my home town, Brigg, and further afield, I can heartily recommend walking for its countless benefits. In addition to the physical exercise I’ve found walking to be emotionally releasing, intellectually expanding and spiritually enriching.

As I’ve walked alone I’ve pondered, prayed, sung, wondered & worshipped. I’ve composed speeches, sermons, poems; constructed conversations and crafted social network comments; replied to letters; drunk in the beauty of the surroundings; taken photographs; worked out civic & personal problems; vented my frustrations and disappointments – many truly cathartic experiences; and for the most part simply  enjoyed ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’.

NOW – with all that behind, I’m pressing on to the goal, which means covering approximately 15 miles each day for 6 consecutive days, across some of the most glorious landscape in the UK. Our starting point is Bowness on the west coast, with Wallsend, near Newcastle as the finishing line –  (see map below)

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WHY, WHY, WHY !!!

What possesses a reasonably intelligent 60-year old to push himself to such extremes ?

Well, my driving passion is to generate funds for the work of Fresh-Hope Ministries International, working with orphans (among other things) in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Hopefully as the sense of need touches peoples’ hearts, they will be inspired to give generously in order for the set target of £2000 to be met, and even exceeded.   In the UK we’ve talked of ‘austerity’ over the last few years, while in Sierra Leone ‘austerity’ is a way of life permanently !

Below is a link directly to Fresh-Hope’s website,  where details of my walk appear, and which also provides an option of donating through Paypal

http://www.fresh-hope.org/walk

A paypal account is not required, and credit or debit cards are accepted.

In conclusion I’d like to express my gratitude to all those who have contributed to this point … so far, at publication the amount raised/pledged stands at over £750. The response, encouragement and support received so far has been truly amazing – and I THANK EVERYONE CONCERNED.  Let’s go on now and do this together !

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