Peterhead, Aberdeenshire to Lyme Regis, Dorset
Saturday 18th September - Saturday 23rd October
We can’t remember whose idea it was now, I
think it was Ray’s but he is sure it was mine. However, standing
in the market square in Stow on the Wold on a cold Sunday morning
with 150 miles to go over the next week it did not seem to be one
of our best ideas whoever’s it was ! We had somehow volunteered to
join the 2004 fund raising walk for the last week, joining Steve
Dayman and Steve Fear who were walking from Peterhead to Lyme
Regis through towns and villages whose initial letters spell out
Pneumococcal, a total distance of 770 miles.
After meeting the team and being issued with
the obligatory tee-shirt and collecting bucket we were given a
send-off by the Mayor of Stow and we were on our way. It soon
became clear that this was no leisurely stroll, and all the tales
I had been told of long lunch breaks in the pub were pure fiction.
This team meant business and all focus was on collecting money,
and getting to the destination on time which we did, arriving at
Cirencester later that afternoon. Waking up early the next day the truth dawned
that the sore feet and aching muscles would have to go into action
again to reach Avebury, and the same the next day to reach Upavon,
then Salisbury, Shaftesbury, Yeovil, and finally Lyme Regis.
try to get out of it Ray had come up with a feeble excuse of a
50th birthday celebration (plus recovery time !) so he joined the
walk at Avebury and from then on the Bognor contingent steadily
grew as the week progressed until it became a major force to be
reckoned with. Roger, Dave, and Liz joined us at Shaftesbury, and
last but by no means least Jackie, Laura, Fran, Gemma and Ann on
the last day at Yeovil.
Having had the privilege of walking with the
two Steve’s , and supporting team, over the period of a week you
gain some insight into their dedication and professionalism. As
well as walking from A to B each day, no mean feat in itself,
there are numerous schools to visit en-route, receptions to
attend, talks to give, interviews, permits to be arranged,
collecting boxes to be issued and collected, and money to be
counted. All this makes for a very long day for the team, 7 days a
week, but always with good humour and brilliant teamwork.
Our overnight accommodation varied somewhat in
quality in the various towns visited. Some who had looked forward
to soaking their aching limbs in a hot bath found no hot water, or
no bath ! , or no heating in their room.
For my part I had agreed
to share a room with Ray for a couple of nights but wasn’t sure
when I found out he carries a handbag ! The last day from Yeovil to Lyme Regis was the
big one. 26 miles and growing to about 60 walkers during the day
meant an early start. We had stayed overnight at Sherbourne so a
6:30am breakfast (too early for the kitchen staff to organise
anything cooked) before travelling to Yeovil for a 7:30am send-off
by the mayor (still dark). After a very wet morning lunch at the
Bottle Inn was eagerly anticipated. Our spirits were raised
ordering meals from the excellent menu only to find that we had to
set off again before most had been delivered ! A beer and a packet
of nuts had to suffice. After a very wet afternoon we finally
descended the steep hill into Lyme Regis to be rewarded with a
superb buffet provided by the Pilot Boat Inn, the first real meal
of the day.
During the reception at the Pilot Boat Inn
Steve Dayman announced that the walk had raised a magnificent
total of £90,000 for Meningitis Research which instantly made
everyone forget their aches and pains and made all the effort
Would I do it again ? I am sure everyone who
participated found it hard, whether walking for 1 day or a week.
Everyone ended up fighting their own little battles at some stage
once the initial energy burst was over, be it blisters, aches and
pains, or just getting soaked to the skin on the last day. Having
had a couple of days to recover I definitely would do it again but
the question is 1 day ? 2 days ? a week ? 2 weeks ? ........
Review By Peter Higgs