Date: August 2002
A few months ago, in my 65th year, I decided that I should do something which was not easily attainable and which would help worthwhile charities. I heard somebody talking about “Wainwrights Coast to Coast Walk” purportedly the most difficult recognised walk in this country. Upon making the necessary enquiries I established that a book had been published on this particular walk and specific route maps available from certain bookshops. As I am not a walker, the distance involved of 190 miles made me rather apprehensive but also made me determined, particularly in view of disparaging comments made by friends etc., about the unlikely possibility of me getting very far on the proposed expedition. My wife Tina would have also liked to have had an attempt at the 190 mile walk but, unfortunately, she damaged an ankle in training and the injury is so severe that she is currently receiving specialist treatment although she will never be able to walk long distances again.
In the meantime, as a result of a telephone conversation with two friends, Patrick (Pat) and Mary Handley, who live just north of Sheffield on the edge of the Moors they decided that they would like to do the Coast to Coast walk. We agreed that I would organise all the accommodation necessary and that Pat would get the necessary maps and be the route planner.
Tina and I had already visited a specialist shop in Leicester to obtain suitable walking boots, socks and cool-liners and then, together with Pat and Mary Handley we obtained all the necessary appropriate clothing from shops in the Sheffield area. Mary is a regular walker on the Moors in South Yorkshire and she was looking forward to testing herself over a long distance. Unfortunately for me, on a training walk, I pulled a hamstring and it is only because of the initial treatment I received from the Barwell FC physio, Viv Coleman, and subsequently when I needed treatment every other day as the departure date got nearer, from Joanne Cheyette of Imperial Physiotherapy in Leicester, that I managed to start the walk at all.
A week before the departure date I was unsure whether I would get to the starting point but Joanne devised some special warm-up exercises for me to protect and strengthen the damaged hamstring and I was able to confirm that I would give it a go. However, had I known what was to come in the way of climbing mountains and hills I would never have contemplated such a project as I was completely inexperienced and totally unprepared without being able to do any training whatsoever in the previous two months. Well, here goes…