Sunday, 19 July 2009

Introducing Milo

This is Milo on our first training walk!
Of course he had no idea he was training - he thought it was just another walk, maybe slightly longer than usual but that just made it more enjoyable, and we went along a new path and met new people and it was all rather wonderful for a Patterdale terrier who's only thirteen months old.
Milo will be walking with me next year, but sometimes he'll have a break and travel with Charlie, my daughter, and her assistance dog Mac will take a break from looking after the boss-lady and walk with me.

Milo is a bit of a character, occassionally very naughty but always loving and affectionate. I'm trying to teach him not to greet everybody he meets so effusively but I think it'd be easier just to wait for him to grow up and grow old! He just loves people!
Mac, Charlie's assistance dog, is a black and white English Springer Spaniel. A handsome and devoted companion who works hard all day every day to make life easier for Charlie. I'll find a good photo of Mac and post a blog all about him another day.
Bye for now,

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

These boots were made for walking....

Check out these boots!!!

I went to Cotswold in Betws y Coed and asked for advice - not even as a child in the Clarks shoe shop were my feet so carefully measured. A young man called Paul served me and not only fitted my feet perfectly but also coped with my mother and my daughter nattering nineteen to the dozen as well.
The boots are Scarpa Womens New Trek GTX - I reckon with a name like that they could walk the whole of the South West Coast Path on their own. Even the socks were carefully considered and tried until the right ones were chosen - and I liked the comment that red socks would make me look like a real walker! (He had seen me walk around the shop a few times by then and noted my less than elegant gait).
Now I need to get out there and bed them in. The dogs looked excited - think they thought the boots looked business-like and likely to engender some good walks. I'm very lucky living where I do. I can walk to the beach, drive twenty minutes to huge sand dunes and forest, drive forty minutes to the heart of Snowdonia or just a few minutes more to high moorland.
I'd like to walk more in the mountains but had an experience as a child that makes me wary of 'getting it wrong'. I've also spent several spells in our local hospital, where if you're lucky and get a ward on the right side, you get a fantastic view of the mountains; you also get to watch the helicopters bringing in the people who either have genuine accidents or who treat the mountains with such a lack of respect they are an accident waiting to happen.
My experience involved the very Clark's shoes I mentioned earlier. I was eight, my brother was ten. Our father walked up Snowdon whilst in the army and so foolishly considered himself a bit of an expert. We set off on foot halfway between Nant Peris and Pen y Pas - Daddy knew a short-cut that would take us onto the Pyg track! I should say here that I was wearing a summer frock and my (fairly well fitted) Clark's sandals, my brother was wearing his grey flannel shorts, white aertex shirt and plimsolls. I don't know exactly how long we climbed, about five hours I think. It involved a chimney that I negotiated rather well I thought, and finished on what I now know to be Crib Gogh! I can still see the sheer drop one side and the scree slope the other, although I haven't been back since. A group of people came towards us and recognised our predicament - my brother and I were escorted by two people each and taught the proper way to walk down a mountain. Our father followed about fifty yards behind accompanied by the rest of the group explaining precisely what they would do to him if they ever saw him anywhere on the mountains again!!! My parents moved to Anglesey about a year or so before my father died and he always seemed a little wary when we drove into Snowdonia - think he thought one of our rescuers might see him and remember the threat even after all these years!
I'll report back when I've taken the boots for a ramble and when I've found out whether red socks really do make you a real walker!
Bye for now,

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Daunting but exciting

This is a first time blog for me, but hopefully the first of very many!

Today my daughter and I set up our web site ;, we worked out our stopping places and ordered some really good maps.

But, back to the beginning..... we as a family suffer from something called Ehler's Danlos Syndrome. It affects our joints mainly and can be very painful. My daughter, Charlotte, is badly affected and now unable to walk. Added to this, Charlie began some years ago to suffer problems that didn't appear to be caused by the Ehler's Danlos Syndrome (EDS). We now have a good idea of what the problem is and although a different one it is closely linked to EDS. Charlie has no sensation in her right side. She has constant severe headaches and other neurological difficulties. There is a centre in New York that specialises in this condition, and whilst we are realistic and accept that there is no cure, we need to do everything possible to ensure that she doesn't deteriorate further. Charlie is 24 years old and the most positive, optimistic person you could ever wish to meet.

I can walk, albeit in a rather wobbly way and with two sticks, so it's by walking that I intend to help Charlotte and many other people whose lives are made more difficult by crippling diseases.

I have been fascinated for many years by the South West Coast Path - the longest long distance footpath in Britain. I wanted to walk it twenty years ago but the fates conspired against me and it didn't happen. Now it makes sense. Now I NEED to do it, it's not just that I want to.

I've measured my stride and worked out that from the start at Minehead to the end at South Haven Point in Dorset is (roughly) 2,000,000 steps.

To raise money for Charlotte's treatment and funds for Action Medical Research I intend to sell each step for 10p - the potential is there to help Charlie and a lot of other people too.

I will update this blog as the training goes ahead, it'll help to have a vent for the good and the bad, for the doubts and fears, for the upbeat positive times when I KNOW I'm going to do it. I'll put in pictures of my dog Milo who will be coming with me, of my other dog Treacle who will be too old to walk but will be there in the campervan to greet me at the end of each days walk, and then, next June, when the walk starts, I'll update every day, so if you're out there and reading this, join me, it'll be quite a ride!
Be back soon,