Sunday, 23 July 2017

Hiking for a cause (with pictures!)

My dad was 50 years old when he died of pancreal cancer, back in 1981. I reached 50 this year and it feels a bit surreal to be where he was, but in such different circumstances: no kids, no marriage, not a homeowner, no career (I have jobs, not careers), yet I'm now actually older than he was - he died only a month after his 50th birthday.

Macmillan is a national cancer charity, supporting patients and their families through their cancer journies, supplying nurses, support, advice, help, etc. Most of their funding comes through fundraising and charitable giving and they are a tremendously worthwhile group to support (I already give £5 a month).

To that end, every year they organise and promote fundraisers like coffee mornings, where people bring cakes and coffee and donate towards the cause, to golf games, quizzes, walks, hikes, bikes, etc. The hikes are generally pretty tough and are aptly dubbed 'Mighty Hikes' for good reason.

I decided at the beginning of the year that I would do one of these hikes so registered for one on the Jurassic Coast (south west coast) - all 22 miles of it - on July 8. The kit came with a guide to training, information about fundraising, etc. so I was all set. First, though, I asked my boss at work if they would be willing to match me with anything I raised and he said yes! I know they support Macmillan anyway, but it was still a good feeling to have him say 'yes' to that.

I did no training, however, not even a little, figuring I would get as far as I would get (I actually got further than I thought I would) and that it would be a well-fought struggle to get there anyway. No one prepares for cancer, after all...

Anyway, the walk started in the seaside town of Weymouth, in Dorset and travelled along part of the South West Coast Path, finishing 23.5 miles away near Corfe Castle. I had registered for an 8:00 start, based solely on the fact that that's the time Jane and I generally start out our hiking days. To be fair, however, we've never hiked that far in a day - our longest was about 19km, this worked out to over 37!

There were 1300 of us hikers that day, staggered in groups of approximately 200 every half hour from 7:00 (for the slowest) to 10:00 (for the super fit), all to be completed by 9:00 at the latest that night. Each group had a welcome speech and a few minutes of Zumba to warm up and off we went. I started out with a young lady I met at the start, but very quickly found myself on my own again. Only for about a half an hour or so, however, as I met a lovely woman, also on her own, and we were well matched for pace, so we hiked the rest of the way together. I honestly believe I would not have made it as far as I did without her encouragement and support. 


And this is my journey in photos:

Weymouth beach, with the Esplanade in the background.

I walked to the registration tent on Friday night when I arrived (a half hour from my B&B) and found this mosaic en route.

The pebbled half of the beach with the Jurassic coastline in the distance.

Weymouth, looking back towards the harbour.

Sunset from my B&B window - note pub opposite! I had a wretched night - not because of the B&B, but beause of the noise around it. So. Much. Noise. I must have got about 3 or 4 hours sleep. Ugh.

Saturday morning - streets are quiet.

I love these old fashioned benches.

Beach huts!

Ice cream! My favourite...too bad it's shut!

The start - the 7:30 group getting their motivation on!

A look back at the coastline, about half an hour in.

The Osmington White Horse - representing King William III.

Sunrise. It was deceptively humid already. Temperature supposed to be about 21 & overcast. Yeah, okay...

5 miles done and our first rest stop - drinks, medics, fruit, snacks, information and toilets. It was extremely well done and had everything you could want. We had a good rest of about 20 minutes or so. We were feeling quite good at this point as it was a reasonably paced walk, with a few moderate climbs. Lulled us into a false sense of security, really...

After our break, the clouds starting dissipating and the temperature climbed little by little. Shade disappeared and by the time we got to Lulworth Cove, five miles later and our lunch stop, it was considerably hotter than when we had started, and beginning to get much hillier.

I'm unclear exactly if this is abandoned or not. It looks like it might be, but also has solar panels on the roof and curtains in the windows, so I'm really not sure. At any rate, it was kind of remote and the photo below is more or less the view.

Ohhh, those downhills were tough! And as steep as the uphills.

The Durdle Door! 'Durdle' is apparently derived from the Old English word, 'thirl', meaning bore or drill. And the Durdle Door is apparently privately owed, as part of the holdings of the Weld family, who own 12,000 acres in Dorset as part of the Lulworth Estate.

Lulworth Cove and village. You can see our destination, the big white tent in the field in the foreground.

It was hot, hot, hot by the time we made it for lunch. It was fantastic - a delicious variety of salads, cold meats, muffins and cookies, drinks, etc. We stayed slightly longer than we had anticipated but as I was really hungry and not feeling so great when we arrived, the rest was good and I was ready to go after a good break.

Pretty Lulworth Cove village.

Lulworth Cove.

Deceptively shallow climb.

Boats everywhere - we were all rather wishing for a quick dip at this point. The temperature had risen steadily to about 24C and with no shade, that direct sun took a lot out of people.


The woman I hiked with, pausing at the bottom where we actually got a more realistic view of the hill. It was a monster and took us about 40 minutes to climb.

But the view was amazing!

Down the other side of that monster, hoping the next one isn't QUITE so awful (it was).

My battery ran out here, but we are just starting up the next hill here.

Ultimately, we made it 15 miles and got a shuttle to the next rest stop at mile 17.5, where we withdrew. I literally could not have walked another step - my poor feet! And that heat was wretched. People were still continuing - the really fit ones - to the finish, but we headed back to town and our beds.

I'm still collecting my donations but believe, with work's match, that I've raised just over £500! I think that's pretty awesome, actually, considering I don't really know that many people.

My cousin picked me up the next day, which was awesome of her, and we stopped for a late lunch at a pub called The World's End, just outside of Ringwood. It was another stinking hot day and as I'd got myself quite burned, I just wanted to be away from the sun, wherever that happened to be. It was cooler inside and we had a lovely meal before the final leg home.

That morning, before I met her, I'd spent some time wandering the town. It was the annual Seafood Festival (makes me wish I like seafood, apart from prawns), so it was packed.

It was a great weekend and although my poor toes are in pretty bad shape, I'm really glad I did it and very proud of myself for getting as far as I did. I would definitely do another one, but perhaps one that's not quite so long - maybe 10-15 miles instead - as it's a great cause. 


I've been on the lookout for a flat, as I've mentioned, and have tried to view a little flat in a village called Fordingbridge (15 mins north of Ringwood) twice now. The first time was my fault the viewing fell through, I admit. I thought I had plugged my phone in to charge, but I had forgotten to turn the switch on and so it didn't charge overnight as I'd planned. It meant I missed both the email and voice mail asking me to confirm that I would be meeting the agent as arranged; if not, she wasn't going to make the journey from Salisbury.

Fair enough. I called and apologised when I got home and rearranged my viewing for yesterday. I hadn't heard from the agency and when I called to say that I was there, I found out that THEY hadn't added the rearranged appointment to their books! ARGH. So, I've rearranged once more (and for the last time) to see the flat on Thursday morning. I have a few days off this week, so I hope it actually happens this time! 

After that, we went down to Ringwood to view a room that I'd arranged to see. Unfortunately, the room itself I couldn't see as someone is currently in it (I have seen it in a photo online, however), but we were shown around the house by an utterly lovely woman and I'm actually inclined to take just it, as it's a 15-minute walk from Ringwood High Street, there's an allocated parking spot, two (tiny) dogs, a garden (albeit a paved one) and the house is immaculate. The costs of having my own flat, however, are a bit out of my reach at the moment so this would be a more feasible, realistic move for me.

I need to find out when we're expecting to move, crunch a few numbers and try to make a decision. I told the homeowner I would get back to her next week, but I'm the right age and gender for her preferences, as well as having a 'normal' working routine, so I'm pretty sure the room is mine and I just have to say so.

I'll let you know how I get on!


MW said...

What a great event -- Congratulations on making it so far and raising all that money!

Good luck on the flat viewing this week. Will be interesting to see if you get a similar gut feeling from that one.

Jane said...

Love your photos - I noticed that it was cloudy at first but then became totally sunny. Some of those hills remind me of Hadrian's Wall. I don't mind the sun as long as it is cool but heat and humidity really sap my strength. You did great and raised a good amount of money - well done!!

Northern Living Allowance said...

Hi MW! Thank you - I'm really glad I did it, but as I say, I'll probably aim a bit lower next time. Or actually train for it! Although, from what some people were saying, even those who did some training, it was tougher than expected and I think it had a lot to do with how hot it got. You can't really train for that!

Have rescheduled the flat viewing to next Saturday now, as I can't really get myself motivated today to see it. I'm hoping it's a nice little place, but having crunched some numbers it doesn't look like I can afford it anyway. I'll still go look, though, just to see it. xx

Hi Jane! Thanks! These were bigger hills than Hadrian's Wall, but I was thinking about that hike while I was doing this one. I'm even more out of shape now than I was then! Yes, very pleased with how much I've raised - £516.39! :D See you in 6 weeks or so xx