Back in March of this year, I decided to try and organise a sponsored walk to raise some funds for a Duchenne muscular dystrophy charity. I was made aware of the condition through my old school friend Johanna Jones, whose gorgeous son Archie was diagnosed some 7 years ago at the age of 2. Not only is Jo a great mum, but she's also been really inspirational with her tireless campaigning and involvement with DMD organisations. It was through watching the video on Facebook for the charity single, in which Archie appeared, that I felt really motivated to try and contribute a little something with my modest efforts! I chose the DFSG as I thought the work they do seemed brilliant and invaluable, with support and days out for affected families. I decided on a walk due to the fact that I'm no runner and am too scared to jump out of an aeroplane! I'm also fortunate enough to live near the beautiful South West Coast Path and thought a coastal walk would be both enjoyable and challenging due to the sheer gradients involved!
My Just Giving page was up and running so off we set; myself, my 12 year old niece Jess who was really keen to get involved and my good friend Ange, not to mention her dog Bella. We set off from Higher Clovelly just above the beautiful quaint fishing village famous for its steep hill! A beautiful warm sunny morning awaited us – it was April Fool’s day but we didn't let that stop us! A fairly level, but winding, 3 mile stretch started us off along Hobby Drive surrounded by woodland and with hardly another soul in sight. We then ambled through a few grassy fields, being careful to keep Bella the dog away from the electric fences! We were then treated to the fabulous views of the sea and Lundy Island on our left as we congratulated ourselves on the view and the weather!
However, it wasn't long before the dreaded steps started! Some parts (seemed like most parts) of the path are so steep that steps have been cut in to the rock and these seemed to lead us relentlessly up and down for miles. However we were armed with packed lunches and flasks of tea, so we allowed ourselves a leisurely break or 2! Further on, we enjoyed what felt like vast stretches of the path all to ourselves. We didn't see a soul for at least 4 or 5 miles and we felt really privileged to be enjoying such unpopulated views, even on a sunny Sunday!
Later on in the day we realised Bella had rolled in something unmentionable, so we scrambled down to the pebble beach to encourage her to have a quick dip to make her slightly more companionable. She didn’t seem to mind! By now, we were well over half way and starting to feel the strain. I pretended to slow down to wait for my niece Jess to catch up on the hills, but really I was enjoying an excuse to take the odd breather! Jess kept us entertained with her cheery chatter and the day really flew by. We went through such places as Bucks Mills, Portledge, Peppercombe,Horns Cross and Greencliff in Abbotsham.
The last stretch towards Westward Ho! was approaching, the path was getting much busier and the temperature was starting to drop a bit but the breeze felt refreshing and spurred us on. We all agreed that we thought we'd have felt a lot worse by this point some 11 miles and 8 hours ago, and we even went so far as to say we might have managed another mile or 2! We've raised about £250 so far and I'm hoping a few more donations should trickle in! To be honest the day was such an interesting adventure away from our everyday lives and chores that we realy enoyed it. Of course we felt tired and tender the next day but overall it was a fun and enjoyable experience for an excellent cause. I think even Bella would agree!
By Tara Spain