At 87 miles, walking the length of The Ridgeway is a mammoth task for one who has been reluctant and pretty much unable to walk for the past several years. It will be whole new experience for me and even considering attempting the walking of it in June of 2016 is quite a task that is proving to be onerous to say the least with all of the rules and regulations related to undertaking such an adventure.
I simply thought I would get a tent, put on my shoes and get dropped off at one end, then be picked up at the other five days later. Well it turns out it is not as easy as that! It is a National Trail so by rights you would have thought you would be entitled to do whatever you wanted along the way (within reason of course) but it doesn’t roll like that I’m afraid.
Nothing is ever straight forward.
I have decided that I shall raise money for charity by walking the Ridgeway over a period of five days as it allows me to split the walking up into manageable chunks of 17 to 18 daily miles which would mean at a pace of only 2 mph, I should be able to cover the distance in under ten hours. Now I know to some of you that might seem like a snail’s pace but I am not in a race and I would like to make it last the week so I can enjoy the whole experience as much as possible. I enjoy the outdoors a great deal and believe a walk like this could be an opportunity of a lifetime.
So today I wrote to the chairman of Friends Of The Ridgeway and asked for some information regarding how best to set about it all because there is so much to consider it kind of becomes a big deal arranging all of it. Fortunately I have a very good friend who is a bit of a goddess when it comes to organising so I shall endeavour to get her on board to help with all of my arrangements. I will need to speak to the charity themselves and find out if there is any way that the money I raise can be distributed to the Bariatric Clinic or does it all have to go into a big pot along with the other funds raised for the Churchill hospital. I will also need to find out if I am actually allowed to wild camp (as in not on a camp site) along the length of the Ridgeway or will I need to book Bed & Breakfast each night and travel down from the walk to my nights repose where I shall sleep and eat then return to the last point I was at along the way.
Personally I think that the B&B version of this trip would be considered as cheating the entire meaning of the walk. I would simply be walking through the day and living in luxury at night so where would the sacrifice be in that? And how would I be able to approach sponsorship with the idea of me going on what has to be described as a soft way of attempting the 5 day endurance. Of course, camping brings up new issues such as fresh clean water and cleaning up after myself making the place where I stayed look as it did when I arrived. Now I know I am pretty good at doing that but that Archie is a right mucky pup.
I think sponsorship will have to be the real big thing here as I really want to raise some big money and also get the Bariatric profile raised and the good feeling spread out toward Bariatric surgery, so people will start to look upon it with a better viewpoint than they maybe currently do. Now obviously I will blog each day of my experiences to you guys via the medium of something I am not yet sure of. I will also film myself each day of the trip so I keep a video log of my efforts, again these will be posted daily for all of your enjoyments… 😉 I am pretty sure I could still have BBC TV on board to follow me or at least cover part of it, I may also still have the Radio to raise awareness and finally there is of course local papers that can play a part. But if I want real big money I shall have to get some interest from a media personality or some decent airtime on a television show. This will obviously take a great deal more effort (which I am only too willing to put in) but also some people in the know (another reason why this sponsored walk needs planning!) to be cultivated over the coming months and brought onside to help out.
As I have said before, I really do not care about any spotlight or personal return but I do care about this cause from deep within myself and know it is a good and worthy one that will benefit people to reach higher and aim truer at their dreams. The effort I will be required to invest will be no mean feat for me to achieve considering without this operation I could well have ended up spending more and more time on crutches, with a walking stick or even worse, in a wheelchair. I will need a great deal of preparation and training to get to the point where I am comfortable of walking the distances I will be expected to. At present I manage about 6km on a pavement walk but I am broken for the rest of the day and a couple more afterward. To that end, you will all be pleased to know that today I did go and speak to the Gym owner and arranged my membership.
I start on Sunday and I can’t wait…
Stay out of the fridge.