The ants go marching two by two, hurrah, hurrah!

What a fun weekend that was! I can say this now, because I’m nowhere near as crippled as I was by the end of the walk… 🙂

In fairness, though, the atmosphere was terrific, as it usually is on such events, and the support was brilliant – the massage therapists were a master stroke, I have to say! And as mentioned in a previous post, the countryside lost its inspiring edge after a few miles – you can only walk through so many ploughed fields and meadows before you’ve got countryside overload….

The first day was OK – a 14-mile warm-up that was tiring on the basis of less than four hours’ sleep the night before, and a good introduction to what lay in store. The “tented city” that we stayed in on both nights was equipped with toilets, showers, medic tent, massage tent – who could ask for more? As it turned out, we could have asked for warmer weather.

Tired and stiff from the first day’s exploits, we turned in on Friday night to get a good night’s sleep in preparation for Saturday’s 23-mile blitz. Unhappily, it was not to be. A clear, clear sky (beautiful stars!) gave us a cold, cold night and most people in the camp spent the majority of it shivering and got very little sleep. I, of course, in an August frame of mine, hadn’t thought of bringing thermals, jumpers, any of that stuff – but Julien didn’t even have a sleeping bag! He had to suffice with a couple of blankets – poor guy!

Saturday’s walk was an endurance test – they even had a big hill to deal with a couple of miles from the finish! OK, some people may say that 23 miles in a day isn’t much, but after 14 miles the previous day and a couple of crap nights’ sleep, combined with my ludicrous fitness level, I was in bad shape. I limped into camp that afternoon, close to the back of the pack, aided by a big stick that Julien had found for me to lean on. The Old Man of the Hills, I dubbed myself thereafter…

I wasn’t especially confident about completing the course at this stage. Saturday night, dosed up with painkillers and wrapped up in every item of clothing I’d brought, I managed to grab some shut-eye and was in better shape Sunday morning than the previous one. Off we went on the last 13 miles of the adventure, and to my amazement I finished it! Quite something, if you only knew what I was feeling… 🙂

I’m thinking of volunteering for the event next year – we’ll see. I’ve got my sights set on bigger and better things for next year’s fundraising – possibly the Macchu Picchu Trail in Peru, if my doctor will let me! I do love these fundraisers, and I’m left with an enormous sense of wellbeing from completing the task and raising a pretty decent amount of money for the charity – with oodles of help from friends, family, colleagues, clients and so forth.

So it’s time again to thank everyone who made the event worthwhile. Those who sponsored me just to see me suffer (as was the case in the Nepal event in 2001!) will be eminently satisfied with the results this time! 🙂 But I have to thank everyone most sincerely for their generosity – your money will be going to a most worthy cause. Anyone who hasn’t had a chance to donate yet – now’s your chance. Hit the link on the left, and go for your life!

Watch this space for the pictures, and I’m sure I’ll have gossip and developments as soon as I’m out and about again! 🙂