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Day 45 – 12 May 2013 – Inverness – Alness – 24.4 miles

churchy2

My room mate was determined to talk to me all night despite me turning off the lights and pretending to snore…#needtoregrowthatbeard. Weather is awful…but what’s new? The sight of the first John o’ Groats sign lifts my spirits up and motivates me to crank up the effort for a few more hours, but eventually the rain starts to get to me and daylight hours are not on my side anymore, so I have to give up my bed in Tain and prepare for my first possible night ‘al fresco’. But the Nigerian in me knows how to hustle hard and I start looking for churches in the hope of begging for a bed. The Church of Scotland in Alness is closed, and the Catholic is no more churchy#moreupdatesneededongoogle. So much for seeking sanctuary in the Lord’s bosom then…… I spy a Baptist church and decide to scout around for a quiet spot to maybe set up base. On my second knock of the door a car pulls up with the choir band! For some reason they decided to come in half an hour earlier than usual #everydaymiracles. I put on my biggest ‘not a weirdo’ smile and biggest puppy eyes and rattle off my story to them and within seconds the band leader Michael invites me to crash at his #whatasmilecangetyou. I am touched by everyone’s real interest in my story and settle in for my first Baptist Sunday evening. The service is actually closer to Nigerian services, with lots of singing to songs with rock and pop beats, and lots of visual expressions as everyone basks in the glory of God. It also happens to be the church’s 34th birthday and they have brought in a powerful prophet from Glasgow the Rev. Alan Ross (www.alanross.org.uk) He offers a master class in strong preaching.The good kind with lots of encouragement, light warnings, scriptures quotes and comparisons with modern/everyday situations, plus a few jokes thrown in there. I have to tell you I am touched by his words and amazed at where the good Lord goes to find the chosen ones.He is a thousand times more ‘real’ and effective than the jet setting con artists & false prophets that have plagued Nigeria’s rural areas for some time now. #menofgoddontneedbentleysorprivatejetstopreachthegoodword. After his talk, he goes around praying for a few of the congregation and he asks me up…I have never been prayed for so I am a little nervous but go willingly. Words cannot begin to describe the overwhelming emotions of having a complete stranger telling you your whole life’s fears and inner thoughts… I leave the church Iost in deep, deep reflexion. This journey of mine…it changes me every day and in every way…I will never be the same again.#forme #forjoedy.

Stats:

Inverness to Alness

  • 6hr 51min
  • 24.4 miles
  • 3.6m/hr
  • 5.7m/hr
  • 92/110bpm
  • 3729 kcal
  • 16.54 oz
  • Best mile – 17 – 15.02
  • Worst mile – 22 – 18.13

Remember………..£125 will pay the wages of the Matron for one month

Day 44 – 11 May 2013 – Carrbridge – Inverness – 22 miles

inverness

My fantastic host turns out to be a world champion (2008) porridge maker! No…I didn’t know there was such a thing either. I am treated to the sight of a massive Scotsman delicately prepare porridge flakes with thinly sliced apples sprinkled with cinnamon…#gourmetcookinginscotland! Breakfast seems to be the highlight of the day as rain and more rain shower down, tormenting me with every step I take. I eventually arrive at my hostel, kindly sponsored by the Scottish Youth Hostel Association (thanks Jim!), and meet up for dinner with a new friend of mine and hopefully of Joedy. Then I return to spend an hour watching Tom Jones’ forehead not move on the voice…amazing. Ps the ladies in Inverness don’t joke with their hen nights… staggering and fighting by 4 o clock in the evening is impressive! #goodlucktowhoeverismarryingthatone.

Stats:

Carrbridge to Inverness

  • 6hr 07
  • 22.miles
  • 3.6m/hr
  • 6.0m/hr
  • 88/111bpm
  • 3313 kcal
  • 14.36 oz
  •  Best mile – 5 – 15.11
  • Worst mile – 12 -18.20

Remember……….£500 will pay the salary of 1 doctor for 1 month (they need a minimum of 2)

Day 43 – 10 May 2013 – Tomintoul – Carrbridge -28.8 miles

moray

I leave my wonderful hosts at the equally wonderfully named Smugglers Hostel. Taking on a few more hills and another ski resort today #mustlearntoskioneofthesedays. moray1Spy a few deer but my tablet’s zoom function is non-existant so I give up and head on. moray2Of course it wouldn’t be a normal day without me being rained on at some point, so true to form the weather gods  don’t disappoint and unleash enough to soak me just as I arrive at my startled host’s door step. #notagoodlookwhenbegfingforfreebedandboard.

STATS:

Tomintoul – Carrbridge

  • 7hr 25min
  • 28.83 miles
  • 3.9m/hr
  • 5.6m/hr
  • 99/134 bpm
  • 4378 kcal
  • 19.07 oz
  • Best mile – 5 – 14.04
  • Worst mile – 6 – 16.04

Remember……………………..£5 will pay for a mosquito net to protect a child or pregnant mother

Day 42 – 09 May 2013 – Glengairn – Tomintoul – 18.58 miles

44466
Up and running straight away , thanks to some long old hills. But my body seems to have finally turned a corner as I take on hills after hills with out losing my pacing, these are finally the hills that beat Dartmoor…and beat them well as the inclines are 20 percent and 2/3 miles at a time! But to be fair, with out the brutal winds and such good weather its understandable that my form has improved. I stop at a summit that feels like the top of the world to read some inspiring words carved on  a menhir…inspiring. 444662 I am so close now and the view here is beyond my (limited) vocabulary…in fact the views have been beyond me the last week, and there isn’t enough pics to do justice to these sights
#thehighlandsarebeautifulgotherenow.
There maybe nothing/no one around here for miles…but its worth the loneliness to see what am seeing right now.
444663But any potential adventurers have to be careful…it is so barren and phone signal sparse…if you tire here, quite literally no one will hear you scream, and things can get pretty desprate here damn quickly, all the police do is rescue travelers who have overestimate the hills apparently. As I hit Tomintoul,  I can’t help but laugh as I realise it is a one street ‘village’ 800 yards!… more sheep than people here #highlandsnotforboys.
Day 42 Stats:
Glengairn to Tomintoul
  • 5hr 07
  • 18.58 miles
  • 3.5m/hr
  • 4.4m/hr
  • 8840 kcal
  • 8.5 oz
  • 95/135bpm
  • Best mile – 12 – 15.02
  • Worst mile – 9 – 20.42
 Remember……….£500 will pay the salary of 1 doctor for 1 month (they need a minimum of 2)

Day 41 – 08 May 2013 – Braemar – Glengairn Church – 15.4 miles

forth1

Boom!  9 days to go (still no blisters) and am ready to take this home! My last off day was wonderful, as Miranda shows me just how many grey buildings/houses/shops/streetsforth2 Aberdeen has to offer. Bit disappointed not to meet any drug addicts offering to sell to me a flat screen TV, but I handle my disappointment! #stereotypemuch. Once again, I am running in very barren lands and my miles are dictated by settlements rather than form, so I only do 15 miles in other to secure a bed for tonight.I  stopped at a cute little church where I wait for the lovely forth3Faye to pick me up and head to the Queen’s Scottish retreat… so I am told! Ballater ………no I didn’t know either!

Stats:

  • 4hr 9mins
  • 15.40 miles
  • 3.7m/hr
  • 5.4m/hr
  • 2343 kcal
  • 8.02 oz
  • Best mile – 3 – 15.19
  • Worst mile – 11 – 17.45
  • 95/125bpm

Remember……£50 will pay the wages of an admin assistant for a month

Day 40 – 07 May 2013 – Rest Day

Day 39 – 06 May 2013 – Glenshee – Braemar – 23.6 miles

devil1
Having woken up without dreaming up the answers to world peace/sustainable energy/turning base metals to gold. I reluctantly get back onto the road, but not before I get a full warning on a dangerous bend called the devil’s elbow which leads up to the highest point in the uk am told. Unfortunately google map leads me to a road that is over run by a river, and I have to scale about four farms, risking the family jewels going over barbed fences
devil3#abegineverbornyeto #thingsidoforjoedy. Until a farmer notices me…once I can confirm he is not carrying a shotgun. I approach him and get shown the way round the river to a local bridge that gets me back across, The farm next to thw bridge, has dead infant moles hanging off the fence…this creeps me out, all a bit too texas chainsaw around these parts!devil2
Eventually reach the ‘elbow’ , it is long and not as ‘up and down’ as dartmoor’s hills
But I must be getting fitter as  mile long, 12 pecent inclines dont bother me any more, and I shove the devil’s elbow firmly in his/her mouth…nonsense! grandsonofalegenddontyouknow
And I race on only stopping for a coffee at glenshee ski, highest point..once again am told! Lol. After my up hill dramas I am rewarded with a 6 mile decent into the (too) well hidden braemar town. The mountains soround the town so its impossible to find until about 200 yards…the mountains all over this part of scotland are just stunning…everyday I say this and everyday it seems to only get better…amazing. Miranda picks me up from a hotel after driving 2 odd hrs! #frankyhasamazingfriends
And as this is my last ‘off’ day if I am to stick to my personal target of 10 rest days, I intend to make the most of it, with good food, good tv and great convo! #soclosenow.
Stats:
Glenshee to braemar
  • 6hr 56mins
  • 23.6miles
  • 3.2m/hr
  • 6m/hr
  • 3547 kcal
  • 15.50 oz
  • Best mile – 15 – 13.56
  • Worst mile – 13 – 24.55
  • 95/128bpm

Remember…£500 will pay the salary of 1 doctor for 1 month (they need a minimum of 2)

Day 38 – 05 May 2013 – Blairgowrie – Glenshee – 13 miles

ecolodge3

Last night I stayed with a friend of Duncan’s, a gentleman called George, who happens to be a free range chicken farmer! And after an easy night’s rest, I am all giddy with excitement at seeing his farm and hopefully learning a thing or two to add to my little farm. 16000 birds is a lot! More impressive is his use of space and how happy these birds are, running around his hundreds of acres, picking at the worms and generally going about their day. ecolodge2#freerangefarmingatitsbest. I have so much to learn, it’s a real shame I have to get going. My miles today are the lowest of the journey, because there are almost no places of business around here and we are lucky to find the eco camp. If not it would have been a forty mile hike! When I arrive, I am greeted by three cute llamas and instantly I know am in for something special…This place is amazing, high up on the hills, it’s hard to believe a place like this exist in the UK. It is so quiet and awe inspiring up here. My hosts Simon and Fiona equal the atmosphere and ambiance of their eco retreat with great smiles and local knowledge. #haveyouheardofthedevilselbow. And greet me with cookies, brownies and fresh milk! The pods and tipi in the camp are such a marvel, some great designs keep me so warm ecolodge1I have to sleep in my boxers #easynowladies. I know I’ll eventually return to the hustle and bustle of London, but Simon and Fiona’s amazing lifestyle does stir the green eyed monster in me and I reckon I could live like this…if only I can convince the lady to come live on a mountain in Scotland! After a mid day snooze, the perks of only doing half a marathon,I head on to the communal kitchen and spend quite a few hours joking and sharing stories with my fellow travelers.#greatpeopleinglenshee. If ever you need a place to reflect and remind yourself of the things that actually matter in this life, the eco camp in Glenshee has got to be it…simply stunning atmosphere!

Stats:

  • 3hr 38mins
  • 13.1miles
  • 3.6m/hr
  • 5.6m/hr
  • 2060 kcal
  • 6.06oz
  • Mile – 4 – 15.15
  • Mile – 7 -17.53
  • 106/153 bpm

Remember………………………£20 will feed a patient for a week.

Day 37 – 04 May 2013 -Bridge of Earn -Blairgowrie – 21 miles

Completely miss my alarm – yesterday’s brutal weather still affecting me. My clothes are scattered on every heater I could find, and I rush to pack up and get on…barely have time to thank my lovely hosts who also send me off with a lovely breakfast. I then realise as I wait for a bus back to Bridge of Earn that it leaves once every hour…#smallvillagedramas. I finally start my day at about 10.30 and by the time I get to some major forests where I feel descendants of Robin Hood could be hanging out, my tablet dies on me and I miss out on some beautiful secondary forests.#scotlandisbeautiful. Find a little pub when I arrive and wait for my host. I look up bus timetables and here they come every ‘few’ hours! I will never complain again when a London bus is a few minutes late!

Stats:

  • 6hrs 15mins
  • 21.19miles
  • 3.4m/hr
  • 5.9m/hr
  • 3276 kcal
  • 13.16oz
  • Mile – 3 – 16.03
  • Mil -18 – 18.40
  • 94/113bpm

Remember……….£500 will pay the salary of 1 doctor for 1 month (they need a minimum of 2)

Day 36 – 03 May 2013 – Dunfermline -Bridge of Earn – 21 miles

brigeofearn

Up and out…again a bit later than I would like. After a few minutes spent waiting to let a train pass on a cross section, the heavens open up and let rip. The next 4 hrs are filled with rain, never once letting up…NEVER. I hide everywhere I can find a little shelter, bus stops, telephone booths and even barns…I feel like a proper traveler now! A few people take pity on me and offer me lifts…I curse being raised ‘proper’ as I wave them on! But as the rain is unrelenting its only a matter of time…5 hrs to be exact…before my last layer…my lycra second skin body warmer…. finally gives way and my heart sinks as I know what’s coming now. Not up to 15 mins and the shakes and shivering begin. I start to look for somewhere to seek shelter and shiver in peace. I don’t find anywhere and it’s another 40 mins before I stagger into Bridge of Earn, I rush into a pub and startle everyone.#standard. Only to discover all my clothes in my ruck sack didn’t survive the weather either #fml #ifitwereeasyeveryonewoulddoit. I end possibly the worst day of my adventure so far huddled in a corner praying for a bus to arrive and get me out of this freezing weather. #forjoedy.

Remember………………………£20 will feed a patient for a week.

Day 35 – 02 May 2013 – Edinburgh – Dunfermline – 21 miles

dunferm4

Lazy morning today, my hostel’s bed far too comfortable and cosy… and the never ending roadworks of Edinburgh don’t really inspire when I finally do get on the road. I sacrifice about a mile just trying to find the ever changing bus stops to return back to my drop off point #countrysideboyforlife. Once I get going, I keep the old head down as there isn’t much to see out here, and boredom sets in…….which leads to a much slower pace, and feeling all the aches and groans of the old body.#bodydontfailmenow. I really need to get more sleep but I just can’t seem to hit the sack before 11pm, no matter what time I get in…..dunferm Eventually  I hit a monster bridge on Queensferry, and very quickly realise the pedestrian extension is nothing more than an after thought……..the damn thing is vibrating and swinging all over the place and I almost start crawling. I am afraid of heights and 2 miles of this almost breaks me. #scotlandistoowindyforbridges #veryscared. I gratefully run to my host’s house – a wonderful gentleman call Davy who has been kind enough to book me a room in Dunfermline.  I soak up the lovely atmosphere, and laugh at the sight of his youngest walking around in my size 13 trainers! #goodpeopleindunfermline. An hour later,I am smashing out an update for all you beautiful people out there #sodonategenerously Munching on a 21 piece spicy wings! #fatmanwaitingtocomeout.

Ps...finally got that live pheasant shot...get your magnifying glasses out #notattenbrough.

Ps…finally got that live pheasant shot…get your magnifying glasses out #notattenbrough.

Day 34 – 01 May 2013 – Dunbar – Edinburgh – 26.68 miles

dunbed2
Stone the crows… my fears prove to be just that. The body doesn’t react too badly and I feel good and hit the road with Duncan, Katy’s husband. He takes me on a challenging but lovely scenic route and I enjoy listening to the history of Dunbar and exchanging opinions on  general topics. A little sad by the time he departs, but that quickly disappears when I realise he has left me with a 2 mile hill to enjoy on my own!  Just as I reach the summit of my little hill, the weather takes a drastic turn for the worst, with winds biting through to my very soul…ok maybe that’s a bit too much…but its really cold out here! For the first time since the ‘delights’ of Dartmoor I have to put on five layers of upper body clothing in a vain attempt to fight the cold winds. As soon as I’ve just about got some small warmth back….it starts to rain and because its a headwind most of it slaps me on the face…constantly.dunbed3 #longdayattheoffice. 3 hrs into all this and a quick lunch in a bus stop, trying to hide from the terrible weather, a police car pulls up besides me and I start telling my story… Even without my scary beard, I still leave doubt in their mind and they order a ‘person of interest  search on me…I am a little crest fallen when the report comes back clear. #mustworkonmybanter. Eventually they let me go with the promise to tell all the other officers on the beat to ignore me. I am grateful and jog on. As I continue my journey, wondering at how inept these officers are; as neither bothered to ask for I.d , surely I could have given false details or hijacked someone’s identity!? A car comes screaming past me, crosses into the opposite lane and parks on the kerb in front of me. I freeze…and fart…only a little though. Never been so scared in my life, for the first time ever, I really hope these are police… Eventually an undercover officer comes out flashing a grin that I often see on (hungry) hyenas back home; And once again I go through the whole ‘I am not a crimminal on the run in the Scottish borders routine’ and hand over my British passport as Id as well.

dunbed

 

Once again I am promised I won’t be bothered again, but I don’t believe them. By the time I get to Haddington center I am tired suffering from a sense of humor failure and seriously in need of a rest, if another officer stops me…I may actually commit a crime. My big sister Katy magically turns up…and I am so happy to see a friendly face and someone to moan at about the day.
A snickers bar and Lucozade later #thatgirlispuregold, am off again and ready to take on the world! The coastlines prettier than ever leading me into Edinburgh #onestepatatime.
Day 34 Stats:
Dunbar to Edinburgh
  • 26.68miles
  • 3.4m/hr
  • 6.6m/hr
  • 4115 kcal
  • 18.36oz
  • Best mile – 2 – 15.31
  • Worst mile – 8 – 20.09
  • 99/152bpm

Remember……..£2 will pay for a short course of antibiotics

Day 33 – 30 April 2013 – Lamberton – Dunbar – 27.71 miles

Say no to Wind Farms!

Say no to Wind Farms!

Beautiful people! 5 days off! Feel like am on day 1 all over again and am out there with easily the best weather of my epic challenge,  no wind and plenty of sun! Epic views of the coast all the way through, only spoiled once by the sight of a 20 stone man in a wet suit attempting to surf. All goes well until I stop to meet Katy and finish the last seven miles with her; but my groin and hip freeze up and I start to hobble along; think waking up tomorrow is gonna be brutal, obviously the body is in shock after so many days off! Really hope tomorrow isn’t a battle, as I am very much looking forward to hitting Edinburgh!
Stopped at a little farm called Dowlaw and met up with Sarah and Jock, friends of Katy, lovely couple who’s little girl had the bluest eyes I have ever seen! #futureheartbreakerrightthere.
Jock happened to be a tropical pigs specialist and I had a great time learning off him and stealing some ideas for my farm! Having gotten comfortable and enjoying the chat, was rather sad to have to get back on the road…
Day 33 Stats:
Lamberton to Dunbar
  • 6hr 35min
  • 27.71 miles
  • 4.0m/hr
  • 8.6m/hr
  • 4258 kcal
  • 11.07oz
  • Best mile – 23 -11.10
  • Worst mile -1-17.20
  • 110bpm/avg 173bpm/max

Remember………..£65 will pay the wages of a nurse or the ambulance driver for 1 month (they need 8 nurses) 

Days 28 – 32 (25 Apr – 29 Apr) REST DAYS

Day 27 – 24 April 2013 – Wooler – Lamberton – 22 miles

day scot23
Today is the day! My brave heart determined to get me to Scotland, excited I hit the road. Katy joins me in Berwick-upon-Tweed; becoming the first person to actually stick to their word and run a few miles with me! #anotherbrutongirldonegood. Unfortunately,  we get lost trying to avoid the main road into Scotland and in the process trespass on railways, golf clubs and farm land…but the views are spectacular, I swear I can see Norway out yonder!
day23scot.2
Eventually we see the big sign welcoming us to Scotland; but Katy also spots a burger van and I have to wrestle her away to take pictures first!
So boom! There it is folks (burger in hand) I have made it through England, highs and lows all in tow, I want to thank all the wonderful people who have helped me and I will be taking a few days off and getting ready to face the barren lands of Scotland! Its gonna be epic, people.
Remember………..£65 will pay the wages of a nurse or the ambulance driver for 1 month (they need 8 nurses)

Day 26 – 23 April 2013 – Rothbury – Wooler – 21.3 miles

day22
Morning beautiful people!
Taking my 98kg ass out of bed #bestweightlossplanever
Determined to hit the last and often pillaged town of england berwick upon tweed..but soon realise its a massive 37 mile trek!
The lands are once again barren and a little unfriendly, as I realise when I stop by a pub, and the owner barks at me
‘What do you want?’ I tell her the obvious and the owner informs me they are not open today and watches me as I leave…eyes fixed on my every moment
#itsgonnabealongday
The evil eyes keep trailing me for the next hr or so, from all manners of drivers and other road users… but just as am about to lose faith, an elderly gentleman spots me on the other side of the road and turns round to give me a lift, we have a little chat and wave him off
#goodpeopleinnorthumberland
Although the route is scenic and I come across many pockets of foresty with beautiful pine trees (I think) with loads of deer signs, I am hopeful that I will spy one as I get up early these days and am always hearing rustling and movements in the forest, but alas al I have seen are dead ones….and I still havent got a pic of a live male pheasant yet.
Sheep on the other hand, seem to love me, I am constantly the object of thier curiousity,  especially the cute baby lambs who often stare then run back to the safety of thier mothers and peer at me from behind her #supercute
Even spot a black lamb running around in a field of about 300, our eyes meet briefly and a silent acknowledgment of our similar situations is passed!day 22.1
 I come off my main track to try and get lunch at a lil town called glanton, but scare one of the locals who is waiting to the cross roads, she takes one look at me, also waiting for traffic to calm down and locks her car #fml #really #lordhavemercy
Of course Glanton’s only pub also doesnt open till the evening… in fact nothing has opened in the afternoons for the last 50 miles I reckon,  and I am now accepting I will have to be better at rationing my sandwitches and water, cause scotland is going to be even worse…
#ifitwerreasyeveryonewoulddoitiguess
I push on hungry as hell with lamb chops strangely on my mind …I wander past an old house and have an old man shout at me to stop, I try not to panic and hope hunting season is over as I play out the conversation he will be having with the police when he has shot me
‘I thought he was a pheasant/rabbit…honest’!
 But it turns out to be the same elderly gentleman who had offered me a lift a few hours earlier, he tells me he has been waiting and wanderimg how long it would take me to get here, we have another lovely chat, and he tells me I have inspired him to walk the length of the uk, which is impressive as he is 79! He regularly walks 70 mile weeks he says, and likes to take on challenges, we have a little chat about my being ‘not from around here’
And he laughs and tells me people are just not use to new faces here, he did wander if I had knives and guns in my rucksack as the beard scared him a little, but thought better of it and decided to offer me a lift!
#myevilbeardmustgo
Eventually I relunctantly leave as the sun may go down with me still on the road,but the man has offered me a bed in his house and i am touched by his kindness and can only hoping I am as welcoming and driven as he is when or if I make it to his age.
About an hr back on the road and a few miles off Wooler, I spy a police patrol car parked by the kerb, and my heart sinks when I realise, the policeman is waiting for me and I get ‘invited’ for a little chat with him.
Apperantly the had been several calls to the police about me, that I was a ‘tired’ traveller so they felt they had to follow it up, the poor police man was a little embarassed I think and offered to make a contribution to joedy in return for having to ask for all my personal details and stop off points.
All a bit awkward,  but my first time in a police car resulted in 10 pounds towards joedy…I may have to look ‘tired’ more often!
#goodpoliceinnorthumberland
Day 25 Stats:
Rotbury to wooler
21.3 miles
6hrs
Again battery not working so no stats am afraid
Remember………………………£20 will feed a patient for a week.

Day 25 – 22 April 2013 – Newcastle – Rothbury 31.0 miles

rothbers

Re energised after a super chilled out weekend with my 3 medic blondes! I hit the road super early and lots to see and keep my mind distracted. I lunch at a soulless town called Morpheth. Honestly I haven’t met a more miserable lot yet! My coffee is rushed down as even the staff at this Costa branch look like a lobotomy would be an improvement. #smilesseemtoberareinnorthumberland. As I approach Rothbury to the epic tunes of johnny cash, #ringoffire #iwalktheline #getrythem #crycrycry. I meet the most glorious of descents with views that have me scarcely believing I was still in England. Miles upon miles of beautiful (pine?) trees…I may be reaching the end of my English leg of my adventure, but these are easily the best views I have seen thus far.The word epic truly comes to mind.

Remember……..£65 will pay the wages of a nurse or the ambulance driver for 1 month (they need 8 nurses)

Day 24 – 21 April 2013 – Rest Day

Day 23 – 20 April 2013 – Darlington – Newcastle – 35.6 miles

day 23gay
“It was all a dream!” The notorious B.I.G’s juicy gets my day started in the right tempo and mood. My meltdown firmly relegated to the back of my mind and I am determined to make up for the half day lost yesterday. Once again not much to see, though a little village called Chester-Le Street offers some colors other than green pastures. But today is about jumping back on that horse and reminding myself this was never gonna be easy, and one cant break down at the first moment, I still have the barren lands of Scotland waiting for me….
Angel of the North

Angel of the North

After a long old day, I spy the Angel of the North and head on to take pictures; my would be photographer fancies himself a bit and I have to pretend to enjoy shuffling up and down the place #justtakethepituremate. My hosts, the lovely doctors of Jesmond pick me up in a freelander #lovelandrovers and already I get the impression these are no ordinary hosts…

As soon as I arrive, my clothes are whisked off me and put in the washer, a glass of red is thrust into my hand and I am offered options to hit the town, see a movie…now normally 3 blondes offering one a night out in Newcastle …should never under any circumstances be declined…ever. But alas 35 miles is no joke either and we settle for a night on the couch watching a documentary on two young men with a particular social problem…they just cant stop maths debating…apparently.
Amazing watching this giant of a man look after his daughter...was so touch and sweet had to take a pic!

Amazing watching this giant of a man look after his daughter…was so touch and sweet had to take a pic!

Day 23 Stats:
Darlington to Newcastle
  • 9hrs 35mins
  • 35.6 miles
  • 3.7m/hr
  • 6.8m/hr
  • 5549 kcal
  • Bodyfat not recorded
  • Best mile – 8 – 14.54
  • Worst mile – 15 -17.51
  • 95/121 bpm
Obesity in kids...its not a suprise with cafes selling meals like this!

Obesity in kids…its not a suprise with cafes selling meals like this!

Remember……….£500 will pay the salary of 1 doctor for 1 month (they need a minimum of 2)

Day 22 – 19 April 2013 –  Northallerton – Darlington – 17.6 miles

Morning gang! Tough one today, for some reason I get in a depression and struggle to get my legs moving any real distance. I’ve also forgotten to charge my ipod; and music is usually a good ‘pick me up’ if am struggling to hit a reasonable pace. Forced to settle for my thoughts with my only distraction being the depressing array of dead animals strewn across the roads. This route is so bleak and empty, no livestock or wild life to spy on, and even the fields are barren…I feel so lonely and my thoughts are too depressing to make it to Durham,  I call Katy in desperation. I won’t be able to make it and will do a half day and stay in a place called Darlington,  I just need to get off the road. Katy gets to work and miracle upon miracle comes up with a hotel in just 3 hours…what a woman. The most frustrating thing about today is that the body is fine, the aches and stiffness are no greater than usual, but for the first time, I really want to go home and accept I have underestimated  the loneliness of a solo adventure. I collapse once again in a barren field, trying with all my might to find some…any motivation to make my already shortened journey…its amazing how one only thinks of the bad decisions and wrong ones they made in these situations! Carol, calls me randomly as I struggle on, I am so grateful and keep the poor woman on the phone for a while, so grateful am I to have another human to talk too. Eventually I make it to the Devonport hotel; shower, eat and sleep…praying tomorrow will be a better day…

Day 22 Stats:

Northallerton to Darlington

  • 5hrs 23mins
  • 17.6 miles
  • 3.1m/hr
  • 5.9m/hr
  • 2672 kcal
  • 11.13 oz
  •  Best mile – 11 – 17.06
  • Worst – mile – 5 – 21.37
  • 89/127bpm

Remember……..£65 will pay the wages of a nurse or the ambulance driver for 1 month (they need 8 nurses)

Day 21 – 18 April 2013 –  Harrogate – Northallerton –  30.8 miles

northallertonI am up and functioning…amazing after only about 6 hrs sleep…the fear grips me about today’s journey but I am distracted by an over zealous train conductor who thinks I am carrying fake money!!!!! but my fate in the national railway system is restored by Harrogate train station staff, who even make a donation to Joedy. The little incident gets me running and moving quicker than usual, helping me block the bleak and lifeless terrain…if much of this continues I am sure its going start effecting me; it is quite lonely. northallerton2The Lovely Golden Lion hotel cant come quick enough, as I stroll through the pretty town of Northallerton,  I smash through the worlds biggest donner kebab (only 4 quid!) Hit the shower, hit the bed! Another day, another marathon in the bag.

Days 21 Stats:
Harrogate to Northallerton
  • 7hrs 33mins
  • 30.8 miles
  • 3.8m/hr
  • 6.9m/hr
  • 4628 kcal
  • 14 oz
  • Best mile – 20 -11.04
  • Worst mile – 29 – 18.03
  • 113/159 bpm

Remember………..£125 will pay the wages of the Matron for one month

Day 20 – 17 April 2013 – Huddersfield – Harrogate – 31.8 miles

day 17.1

Up and running after sharing breakfast with a gentleman called John, who also drives me back into Huddersfield center. He is taking his young daughter to have a look at Newcastle University, her first choice for later this year. I feel so old and envious of the little lady, all her future ahead of her, so much potential and possibilities ..wish I had appreciated my time at Uni more…sigh #feelsoold.day17.3
 Not much to see or report on this journey, unless your a fan of endless pastures and bored looking sheep…though I do discover a pub selling pints at 2 quid in Bradford…beginning to have a few great locations for my next fundraising event…Joe Mbu the drinking man @drinkstaggerfall should be epic! Harrogate on the other hand is defiantly not the place for a pro cheapskate like myself, though it is beautiful, with lots of people exercising or at least looking like they will in a minute; flashy cars everywhere. One gets the impression this is where the well to do of Yorkshire hang out…I’d best be moving on then! #forthe5thtimeiamNOTagypsy. My old mate from the rugby days in France, Jen comes to pick me up and instantly we cant stop chatting/gossiping, we have a lot to natter about, I think its almost been 6 years since I saw her last. A quick bath and I am soon sharing a glass/bottle with Jen and by the time we reluctantly call it a night its midnight…another night I don’t write a blog and I know mother (Carol) will chew my ear off tomorrow…oh well better finish off that bottle then. I go to bed knowing its another night where I run longer than I actually sleep…this cant be good.
Day 20 Stats:
Huddersfield to Harrogateday17
  • 9hrs
  • 31.8miles
  • 3.2m/hr
  • 6.1m/hr
  • 4733 kcal
  • 16.51oz
  • Best mile – 4 – 14.13
  • Worst mile – 19 – 21.53
  • 94bpm/140bpm

Remember………£20 will feed a patient for a week.

Day 19 – 16 April 2013 – Marple – Huddersfield – 27.3 miles

16.4
Up and running by 7.00 today, the locals have been trying to scare me with tales of monster hills in Yorkshire, so I prepare myself mentally for a tough one. No sooner have I left the planet of the ducks do I meet a 1 mile bad boy, who adds a couple of mins to my mile, but if this is as bad as it gets, I’ll live. I skip on through enjoying the warm weather and spy a little rainbow, I stop to take in one or two views.#yorkshiredoesntscareme. Not long after I settle into my jolly stride, do  the heavens open up and it starts to pour, and I start running down a monster downhill segment…this usually means one thing,., if the  hill is this steep going down, things are about to get real. I am in full hiking mode by the time a little village called Stalybridge saves me…my 15/16 min miles are nowhere to be seen now, so I stop kidding myself and just make sure I keep moving.16 I notice a little park on another pesky hill that has tombstone slabs embedded on the ground of the park. Mainly Victorian fonts but I spy a few 18th century dates as well, my curiosity is aroused and I wander in to take a closer look.
The engravings are beautiful and touching words written and I soon realise almost everyone here didn’t make it past their second year; I have encountered a childrens burial ground.
Instantly my mind goes back to Boki and the burial days that are held every Friday…the cries of the mothers of dead children and their mourners through the night and the whole thing gets depressing, I have to leave with only one positive thought, these children must have one of the best views ever, overlooking their city like that, much better than a church grave yard I reckon.I go through a few other villages deep in thought and emotionally shielded from the hills and the rains, but by the time I start to hit the peak district, Yorkshire lets me know my day isn’t done pretty quickly. This time I take on the traffic and monster tail winds with things getting tricky/scary as my backpack constantly overbalances  me and I end up being dragged all over the place once or twice encroaching onto the roads #brutal. So…while the hills will be alive with the sounds of Mbu screaming, they weren’t quite up to Dartmoor standards and I keep on trucking #forjoedy.
16.3Day 19 Stats:
Marple to Huddersfield
  • 8hrs
  • 27.3miles
  • 3.3m/hr
  • 5.4m/hr
  • 4120 kcal
  • 20.12 oz
  • Best mile – 1 – 16.51
  • Worst mile – 26 – 20.47
  • 93bpm/avg
  • 134bpm/max

Remember…..£5 will pay for a mosquito net to protect a child or pregnant mother

Day 18 (days 16 & 17 Rest days) – 15 April 2013 – Congleton – Marple – 20.6 miles

15.3Morning beautiful people! Out the house by 6.45 all bright and bushy tailed, re energized and more determined than ever #forjoedy. Though I am a little cautious to not over do it after last week’s melt down (day 10). I’ve only got 21 miles to smash through, so hopefully will be done in six hours..which is a nice easy start to day 15. Flats after flats and the sun is shining; I am in heaven! And am soon bopping to Queen, daydreaming of being a 80’s rockstar #fatbottomedgirlsanyone. Hit Marple soon enough and cruise by the canal for the last ten miles, enjoying the boats and millions of ducks just chilling; we are all enjoying the sun and lovely weather. I think today is the first day I have truly enjoyed every second of my run and as I run to my host’s pub I realise there are ducks everywhere not just by the canals, so relaxed I have to get out of thier way, its like a town of ducks with some humans wandering around. They also seem to be in pairs which is cute, though I see a pimp duck with a gang of ladies in tow #musthavemasteredthatpiedpiper’stunethen. 15.2 Eventually hit the Ring O’Bells where my host and landlord Mark welcomes me warmly. Having showered, and with plenty of time on my hands…#nicenottoarriveatnightforonce, I stroll around town, its a quite little old place but that’s to be expected when Daffy duck seems to be in charge here.
Anita the landlady tells me a duck used to keep her as a pet!!! but got bored and buggered off when she got too big…at least am sure that’s how I heard it! Oh and yes, ducks do have a soul partner for life…apart from the odd pimp duck.
15Day 18 Stats:
Congleton to Marple
  • 5hr 27mins
  • 20.6miles
  • 3.6m/hr
  • 5.6m/hr
  • 3030 kcal
  • 11.53 oz
  • Best mile – 8 -15.26
  • Worst mile -18  – 17.45  (Yes boss!)
  • 97bpm/142bpm

Remember……..£2 will pay for a short course of antibiotics.

Day 15 – 12 April 2013 – Stone – Congleton – 21.2 miles

congleton
Wake up with no intention of missing breakfast today, good thing too, as this ‘full English’ fully competes with Nick’s of day 3/4..delicious! #freshproducewinseverytime. Marvel one last time at the size of ‘that pig’ and set off. As its the last day before my second break and only 21 miles, I cruise, enjoying some Ray Charles on the way …unchain my heart anyone?
Not much of note en route though the village of Leek looked rather nice and quaint #notclosetorickfordthough. Once I get to Congleton, I happily shut down the GPS and jump on a train to Manchester, while waiting for my host to pick me up, I getting chatting to a dapper gentleman who likes my story and gives me a fiver for Joedy #everylittlehelps.
Sebastian, a friend of the lovely Franky turns up, also looking daper #everyonedressestoimpressinmanchesteritseems. As we stroll down to his apartment  I am pleasantly surprised by the diversity and hustle and bustle of Manchester city life; after so many miles of sheep and tractors, I am rather looking forward to a couple of days under the bright lights of a big city, and as it also happens to be Seb’s birthday maybe a cheeky one or five Can’t wait to write all about it…#nobloggingondaysof…Oh dear, well have a great weekend people!
Day 15 Stats:
Stone to Congleton
  • 6hrs 15mins
  • 21.2 miles
  • 3.2m/hr
  • 6m/hr
  • 3087 kcal
  • 13.48 oz
  • Best mile – 9 – 16.39
  • Worst mile – 13 – 20.45
  • 88bpm/114bpm

Remember…….£65 will pay the wages of a nurse or the ambulance driver for 1 month (they need 8 nurses)

Day 14 – 11 April 2013 – Walsall – Stone –  26.4 miles

Reluctantly leave the Moathouse without breakfast as I have to have an early start, as am going all the way back to Walsall. My host informs me of a special collection for Joedy from his guests over the next few days, I am touched by his kindness, efforts (he got up at an ungodly hour to return me to Cannock) and his very amusing response to my ‘what/who would you run a thousand plus miles question’ #goodpeopleinstafford. We also have a bit of a natter about the late Lady Thatcher and I get a wonderful and detailed lesson about how the Midlands was effected by the closures of the mills; very sad how these tough decisions effect everyday hard working family men. By the time I arrive at Walsall, it starts to rain and generally compliments the place, now am sure there are wonderful places in Walsall, but I didn’t seem to walk past them…just barbed wires, bars on doors and broken windows; thought I was back in Nigeria for a moment!day13
Pop into a little cafe in a little town called Bloxwich,  for my delayed breakfast. The place is empty, bar an older gentleman and myself, as I nip over to the loo I bid the gentleman a good morning to which he sweetly replies ‘ good morning to you too darky’, I have to laugh as his smile is so sincere he can’t possibly think he has been (mildly) offensive. The owner, a Turkish national tired of the rat race of London #knowthatfeeling, pops in and proves to be very chatting and I soon have everyone learning about my little adventure and Joedy.
The elder gentleman wishes me luck and throws in a couple of quid to the cause, when I tell the owner about our amusing morning exchange he just laughs and says our friend is the local ‘crazy’, Apparently last week, he tried to park his scooter inside the cafe, alcohol was involved! #funnystoriesinbloxwich. After promising to visit the delightful Bloxwich again #blatantlie. The owner who also doubles up as an estate agents tells me he has a lovely 2 bed room apartment for £280 a month #tryfindingashoeboxforthatpricinlondon. As I approach the little village of Stone; to my horror I begin to realise my B&B s not called the Highlands for ironic reasons…for the last 5 miles I feel like am back to the bad old days of Cornwall and Devon and the rain is relentless #brutal. I wander into the Highlands B&B, calling but to no replies, so I rest a little and take off my trainers to free my sore feet, Eventually I wander round the back to be greeted by two super cute horses , that I instantly want to adopt. My host the wonderful Jennifer comes round the corner and tells me they are also farmers! and I get shown a 130kg female pig called Sally..amazing, if I had a pigs this big in my farm, I think I’d scare the locals, the average size of our local breeds are about 70/90 kilos after a few few years, impressive breeding programs going on in the UK. One of the other lodgers wanders over and before I know it I am invited to dinner with him and his kids#goodpeopleeverywhereigo. His kids are lovely and I lend an ear to their disgruntled tale about Alton Towers shutting down after a power cut two hrs into their opening, worst still, no cash refunds were giving, just some vouchers for the next time… completely useless as my new friends are Australian and returning home in a couple of weeks.#surelyaltontowerscandobetterthanthat. I rejoin my hosts and have another robust debate on Lady Thatcher and those ghastly ‘death’ parties being organised around the country; Irrespective of where one stands on the merits of the lady, I believe more respect should be afforded the dead, especially a prime minster no less. #freespeechgettingoutofhand
Day 14 Stats:
Walsall to Stone
  • 7hrs 45min
  • 26.4 miles
  • 3.2m/hr
  • 6.9m/hr
  • 4000 kcal
  • 12.8oz
  • Best mile – 7 – 15.08
  • Worst mile -11 – 20.45
  • 95bpm/avg
  • 135bpm/max

Remember…….£50 will pay the wages of an admin assistant for a month

Day 13 – 10 April 2013 – Redditch – Walsall –  27.4 miles

Morning folks! Treated to a royal breakfast at my castle, note to self must work harder so previous sentence is a reality. I set off feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day’s challenges. May not be breaking any speed records but am moving forward one step at a time and smiling #forjoedy. Go through Hollywood, which is almost as glamorous as its L.A counterpart…almost. Eventually hit Birmingham and feel real satisfaction as am now well and thoroughly in the midlands and making good progress. Birmingham is a big sprawling city and while not as pleasing to the eye as the beautiful countrysides of Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, it is nice to see people going about their day and offering me a kind smile or wave every now and again. #tiredofseeingonlysheepsandcows
 Take a break on the outskirts of the city in a pub, only to discover pints of larger selling at 2.30; in London you celebrate if you see a pint under 4 quid #mustrelocatetobirmingham.
Eventually make it to Walsall station, where I call it quits for the day and jump on a train to Cannock, where a gentleman by the name of Chris picks me up and takes me to his family’s hotel, the 4 star Moathouse in Penkridge. I later found out this was also home to the best restaurant in Staffordshire, but more about food later! A little while afte and I am all settled in to my lovely room; I get a knock on the door from a master physio called Brett offering me a massage! #icouldkisschrisrightnow. Now if am prepared to start kissing men for a massage you must know my body is on the verge of breaking and Brett is very good and helps with all the knots and aches that have built up over the last 12 days of punishment.
We also get chatting and I find out he is the head physio for the multi medal winning Canadian Paralympic basketball team and I get scolded on not taking in enough calories as am in danger of having my body eat into my muscle tissues, as I don’t have anymore fat reserves …I think its the first time i’ve ever gotten in trouble for not eating enough!
Luckily he tells me one of his clients is a food critic; tells him the best restaurant in Stafford is right here in Chris’ hotel…and I almost drop kick Brett out of my room to get downstairs to the restaurant! After Brett is done with my crumbling body which he refuses payment for #goodpeopleinstafford, I head down to the restaurant only to be told its been booked up days in advance! #damnit. So I order room service, a cheese and bacon burger.I have eaten a burger of some sort everyday or nearly everyday since I started, and some have been down right gourmet levels, so I had my best critic hat on ready for what was to come my way tonight. Complimented with lightly fried onion rings that weren’t drowned in salt got me going…the burger it self was well minced and melted easily , lightly toast bun/muffin, easy on the mayonnaise (homemade I reckon) and Dijon mustard…no ketchup in sight…sign of a confident burger! The bacon was grilled not fried….lord have mercy on my cholesterol filled soul! #greatfoodinstafford
Day 13 Stats:
Redditch to Walsall
  • 7hr 50 min
  • 27.4miles
  • 3.4m/hr
  • 6.0m/hr
  • 4214 kcal
  • 19.54 oz
  • Best mile – 4 – 16.51
  • Worst mile – 27 – 19.52
  • 96bpm/average
  • 131bpm/max

Remember……………………….£65 will pay the wages of a nurse or the ambulance driver for 1 month (they need 8 nurses) 

Day 12 – 09 April 2013 – Tewksbury – Redditch  28.8 miles

One of the kids screams, as he discovers the family cat has commandeered the other side of his bed and poor Claire has to chase the little fella out the room…and its only 3 in the morning! I go back to sleep, but only for a few hours, by seven I hit the shower and do my stretches ready for another #epic day. Richard and I do the school run and I am amazed by the talent on show! Obviously all the good looking mothers hang out in Cheltenham; It’s a fashion show of business suits in heels and designer cars, as young mothers drop of their little ones with a smile and a little ass wiggle! #surelyanotherreasontohavekids. No wonder Richard insists on doing the school runs! Eventually I return to ‘Ye Old Black Bear’ and hit the road.
My little Castle for the night!!!

My little Castle for the night!!!

Body isn’t as reluctant today and I actually hit a 10 min mile, which I haven’t done since day 1! But a lot of old injuries are beginning to announce themselves again and my first hour is spent cautiously hobbling around trying to second guess how bad things are gonna get by week 5…#epicinjuries. But once I eventually grind out the first 5 miles; I start to enjoy my jog and am amused when a herd of cows join me for a good quarter mile, all eyes fixed on me, I feel like a pied piper of sorts #nowtorepeattrickonyoungfemales. Polish off some sandwiches, Claire so graciously made me; and hit some old school tracks on that evil apple product. #fleetwoodmacanyone A gentleman and friend of Alex from day 9 has kindly booked me in a hotel in Fedditch, and I am delighted to find out its a castle! Although the big hotel chain Great Western have done their best to try and turn it into a Mc hotel… the place still holds a lot of grandeur plus a warm bath, great views and cosy bed to crash in. Can’t complain beautiful people! #forjoedy
Day 12 Stats:
Teweskbury to Redditch
  • 7hrs 13mins
  • 28.8 miles
  • 3.9m/hr
  • 7.1m/hr
  • 4444 kcal
  • 15.92 oz
  • Best mile – 18 – 10.07
  • Worst mile – 28 – 18.21
  • 115bpm/avg
  • 166bpm/ max

Remember…….£25 will fund the generator for a day.

Day 11 – 08 April 2013 – Berkeley – Tewksbury  32.3 miles

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried! I wake up feeling like an extra from Micheal Jackson’s Thriller video (minus the cool dance moves and lust for human flesh). I am so stiff, and have trouble tying up my shoe laces, something I am sure hasn’t happened since I was 8 I reckon. I am seriously regretting over doing it yesterday and I am nowhere near maintaining my 15 min mile targets.worcester

Suppose to hit up to Upton Seven but by the time I stagger to Cheltenham,  I make a bee line for Tewksbury. I am sure there are people in hell who would demand a few mins to think before committing to swapping places with me right now! #feetonfire

I arrive at a pub called ‘Ye old Black Bear’ exactly how I feel #lol. I immediately get the evil eye, as I shuffle in and hastily order a coke in my best ‘am not a gypsy accent’ which seems to work as she becomes a lot more friendly once my money is safely in her till! My senior at school, Richard picks me up and we heard back to Cheltenham to stay at his. Richard has 3 beautiful kids, all under the age of 10 and it was a delight and an inspiring night watching how his wonderful wife Claire controlled 3 excitable and hyperactive kids …a beautiful ballet of organised chaos! Kids refusing to go to bed, knocking/ losing things all over the place! I watched as Richard looked everywhere, for all teddies and barbies, each too important for each child to sleep without! Went to bed thinking more than ever I can’t wait to have my own kids…I just hope I have a good woman by my side! #awomanmakesahomeFACT

Day 11 Stats:

Berkeley to Tewksbury

  • 9hr 06mins
  • 32.3miles
  • 3.5m/hr avg
  • 6.2m/hr max
  • 5028 kcal
  • 20.44oz
  • Best mile – 14 – 15.01
  • Worst mile – 31 – 20.09
  • 95bpm/avg
  • 128bpm/max

Remember………£5 will pay for a mosquito net to protect a child or pregnant mother

Day 10 (Day 09 Rest Day) – 07 April 2013 – Rickford – Berkeley –  33.4 miles

20130408_120040What a difference a (full) day’s rest makes! Alex my friend from school, whose company I have been enjoying on my day off takes me back to beautiful Rickford, and I get running almost instantly; taking in the warm sun and windless day, running mostly flats, but the few hills don’t even register today and I maintain my target of 5 miles per hr, right up to mile 30. I hit Bristol, going through town and right past my old flat from my first year…#feelsoold. In no time at all (just 8hrs!) I hit Berkeley castle and Alex and her husband Jag pick me up again and we return back to their house to a lovely dinner.
I hit the sack a little later than usual, but am feeling invincible, and convinced i have broken through. #nothingcanpossiblygowrongnow………..
Day 10 Stats:
Rickford to Berkeley
  • 8hrs 1min
  • 33.4 miles
  • 3.9m/hr avg
  • 6.7m/hr max
  • 5, 100 kcal
  • 14.77 oz
  • Best mile – 7 – 10.44
  • Worst mile – 30 – 16.30

Remember……….£65 will pay the wages of a nurse or the ambulance driver for 1 month (they need 8 nurses)

Day 8 – 05 April 2013 – Ilchester – Rickford 30.9 miles

Morning! Edd drops me off at the little pub in Ilchester, big bro hugs exchanged…well he’s about 6ft 5, so I am relegated to looking up at his beautiful brown eyes! #bromance #brutonbrotherhood. Unfortunately the 8th straight day of running/walking/staggering proves too much for this old body of mine, and right from the get go I am feeling all kinds of pain, I didn’t know possible to feel; from blister infested feet (every step a joy) to my back tearing up, I am having fun from mile one to mile 30…FUN I tell ya! Run into a few hills to add to the general fun factor, and I realise that I am in more pain going down steep hills than climbing up…jarring knees. To make matters worse I get lost and eat up a couple more miles…now this in itself is not the end of the world, but after struggling on for 20 odd miles and then to find out you’ve spent the last 40 mins going the wrong way…well even the devil would have felt sorry for the dejected figure I cut after that one!
My Wonderful hosts at Millhouse

My Wonderful hosts at Millhouse

It’s 8 in the evening by the time I wander into a little village called Rickford…and what a sight it is for tired eyes, I see a little cottage with its own lake! Its so beautiful if I wasn’t ‘broken’ I’d have taken a picture; turning round the corner I see the very grand house I am staying at tonight and instantly I realise its only a B&B by name…stuttering into her long gravel driveway, I feel lifted by the beauty of the place. Katy has been amazing in organizing this wonderful little secret of a place.
The lady of Millhouse welcomes me with a sympathetic smile and many kind words of encouragement, I refuse the offer of a hot breakfast as I feel guilty I am staying here for free as its obviously a top end B&B and would put most hotels to shame; with the quality of finishing. I leg it to the bathroom and soak those size 13s, bliss!
Meet up with my hosts at the local pub after a wonderful bath and get to meet the wonderful locals of Rickford , who at once make me feel right at home with the right combination of encouragement and banter!
My (little) wallet seems to be no good here as my host refuses to let me buy dinner and various locals offer me a drink,  I am touched and don’t really want to leave…ever!
I wake up…eventually to enjoy my first day off, and am greeted with a warm breakfast (my hosts know me too well) and 70 pounds …a donation from all the locals I met last night #goodpeopleinrickford. Once again to Millhouse (http://bristolbedandbreakfast.com/) and all the wonderful people of Rickford, thank you for making this traveler feel truly at home.
Day 8 Stats:
Ilchester to Rickford
  • 8hr 10mins
  • 30.9miles
  • 3.9m/hr
  • 9.9m/hr max
  • 4514 kcal burned
  • 14.81oz lost
  • Best mile – 4 – 14.13
  • Worst mile – 27 – 21.34

Remember……..£2 will pay for a short course of antibiotics

Day 7 – 04 April 2013 – Chard – Ilchester 20.5 miles

Dax Days

Dax Days

 Completely ignore my 6.45am alarm, then ignore Edd who checks in at 7.30am, only a cup of coffee from a generous host finally gets me out of bed a little after 8…my body is aching… ‘Body dey do me like tanker jam am’ ( my body feels like a tanker has smashed into it)’, getting out of bed is becoming a mental and physical battle. I slowly get dressed but I am prepared to sell my unborn child for a couple more hours in bed. Breakfast is shared with Felix, Edd’s son who I haven’t seen since he was born and he instantly makes me feel very old!  The face of youth is so inspiring in all its untarnished innocence and optimism  I am proud of Edd for doing such a good job with the young man. Dropping the pint and picking up the nappies can’t be an easy change! Eventually hit the road, big toe on the right foot feels like its giving up on me and am forced to hobble the first 2 miles until it realises I won’t stop and quits hurting. #determinedforjoedy. Soon enough I encounter a pheasant trapped in a fence and wander after it to take a picture…obviously, but the little fellow wriggles through and does a ‘Usain Bolt’ long before I can get the camera turned on. #stillwaitingforthatshot. As I wander off, I get barked at by a rather determined sheep dog, who makes to bite me every time my back is turned, so I have to keep looking over my shoulder and making wild arm movements to try and scare off the little bugger, while his owner looks on amused and with no interest in calling off his ‘pet’ #getoffmyland. Eventually escape the dog and hit a pub in Ilchester where I wait for Edd to pick me up again, this time we head to his house and have dinner with another school friend of ours Katy, who now runs a B&B mapping service (http://www.bedandbreakfastmap.net/) that helps bring travelers to the attention of B&Bs on their route; instantly she promises to help me out with places to stay should I get stranded again #goodpeopleeverywhereilook. Dinner goes down well and we talk about school and what everyone is up to, as I get ready for bed Edd…….tired of hearing me moan about always having to charge my tablet because I am using it to listen to music, very kindly gives me his ipod and I finally become another apple fashion victim! #anothersheepinthecrowd.

Day 7 Stats:

Chard to Ilchester

  • 6hr 10min
  • 20.5 miles
  • 3.3m/hr
  • 6.1m/hr
  • 3164kcal burned
  • 9.90 oz of fat lost
  • Best mile – 7 – 16.05
  • Worst mile 20.39

Remember………………………£20 will feed a patient for a week.

Day 6 – 03 April 2013 – Exeter – Chard – 30.38 miles

day2
Leave Haydn’s pad with about a kilo of protein and energy products, I am super grateful but fearful of the extra weight. #tinyscrumhalvesandthierloveofweightgainproducts. Legs feeling a bit heavy and am soon wishing I had been taking my 5 days on 2 days off initial plan.
Within the hour I’ve gobbled up 90 percent of all the protein bars Haydn gave me ….#wellihadtolosetheweightsomehow and have another crack at running…well lets call it an over active trot, after cranking out 14 odd miles I head for lunch at a little village pub in Honiton, where the locals strike up conversations with me. One of them is a big Exeter fan and we talk rugby and soon enough I find out his son went to my old school, Kings Bruton…and he buys my meal and everyone chips in to send me on my way with £30. #goodpeopleindevon. Arrive late yet again, this time at another school buddy’s parents house . I feel guilty because my host Edward has to leave his son Felix to come pick me up around, but as he’s one of my oldest friends so am sure I can be forgiven……… eventually!!!
Felix has gone to bed by the time I arrive, which is a shame because I haven’t seen him since he was a few months old and he is six now #fsthertimekeepsmovingforward. After a great dinner with the gang I rush to my bed. #desperatetogetatleast7hrsthistime
Stats for day 6:
Exeter to Chard
  • 8hr 49mins
  • 30.38 miles
  • 3.3m/hr
  • 6.9m/hr
  • 4795kcal burned
  • 15.68oz lost
  • Best mile – 6 –  12.43
  • Worst mile – 22 – 21.54
  • Bpm 98/avg 147/max

Remember…………….£20 will feed a patient for a week

Day 5 – 02 April 2013 – Mortonhamstead – Exeter – 19 miles

Hitting Exeter

Hitting Exeter

Wake up in the morning and quickly start planning my exit from the hostel, when the Canadian hiker’s hippy wife starts telling me about how normal it is for her to continue conversations while getting undressed in front of other (stranger) hikers #hippiesandthierfreeloveThe decent out of Dartmoor isn’t too bad, so I crack on. pg.woodhouse’s love among the chickens…sooo funny, reminds me of my own little farm. #missmyladies. Natuarally super relieved when I get out of Dartmoor national park #totallyhumbled, but not before she throws one last mile long hill leading into Exeter…won’t forget Dartmoor any time soon! Hit Exeter and pick up the pace as its all lovely and flat now, a young man on a bike rides up to me and he looks like someone I use to play rugby with. We strike up a conversation and I tell him all about Joedy and my rugby days, he smiles and he tells me I might know his brother, turns out am talking to Edward Lewsey, young brother of England great Josh…very random encounter! We run/ride to his where I am treated to a great lunch and a very generous donation for Joedy #nopressurejosh. Refreshed and recharged, I leave Edd’s and head on to the Exeter Chiefs ground to link up with Haydn Thomas, their scrumhalf and old school buddy,

Meeting up with Haydn

Meeting up with Haydn

I am picked up in a classic green defender #lovelandrovers. I get showered there and meet some of the staff and check the ground out…it is such a lovely club and they have stayed disciplined with their expenditure, choosing to grow organically, developing local talents and not spending stupid money on new players, staying loyal with the players that got them in to the premiership and I think it has served them well as they do a third season in the top flight                              #homegrowntalentsalwayscaremore                                 #loyaltystillexistsintopflightrugby. I really wish them well and hope they make the magic 6th place for that Heineken Cup slot next season.

After showering Haydn takes me out to wagamamas #shockhorrorascrumhalfthatcantcook. The last time I saw Haydn, he was in Bath academy with me and I am so impressed at the quiet matured professional I see now, I think sometimes in a big club it can be quite difficult to show your full talents and moving to Exeter in their div 1 days was a great rugby decision which has paid dividends for the young man. He has grown into a top class player but better yet a top class man. #anotherbrutonboytobeproudof. After a little chat I hit the sack again, its around midnight when I finally finish up replying to emails and texts. #needtofindmorehoursinthenight.

Stats for Day 5:

Mortonhamstead to Exeter

  • 5hrs 33mins
  • 19miles
  • 3.3m/hr slowest
  • 5.7m/hr fastest
  • 2965 kcal burned
  • 8.70 oz
  • Best mile – 5 – 15.31
  • Worst mile – 1- 21.48
  • Bpm 102/ avg 141/max

Remember……….£500 will pay the salary of 1 doctor for 1 month (they need a minimum of 2)

Day 4 – 01 April 2013 – Tavistock – Mortonhamstead – 24.5 Miles

Reluctantly get out of bed to a sumptuous breakfast cooked by my host Nigel, it tastes as good as it looks people!20130401_063053 During our little chat I learn that he is on a board for a rugby charity called scrum, helping youths in South Africa. We trade contact details and set off happy in the knowledge that I have a new and reliable contact to help me source doctor,s when we get English doctors doing stints at Joedy. I am dropped a couple of miles shy of Tavistock so I can continue exactly where I left off last night…great! I give him a heartfelt hug and begin my slow decent back into Tavistock #goodpeopleindevontoo

All goes well, but I am still quite tired and my pace on the flat is not good but too tired to care to be honest Eventually I am welcomed to Dartmoor national park / hell and warned not to kill any ponies, as am moving at a snail’s pace I think they need not worry!

I rest up by a cute little cottage just at the entrance and gobble a little sandwich, when a gentleman wanders up curious…I start to prepare to make a hasty exit. #forthe5thtimeiamNOTagypsy But we end up having a really nice convorsation and I earn Joedy another tenner! #peoplewithbeardsarestillnice

I finished brunch and prepare myself for the one hill I can see…shouldn’t be too bad.

WRONG…five miles into my climb I realise the hills of Cornwall were like child’s play compared to this place…it is HARD I am taking on half mile hills every 10/15 mins and some of them go on for a mile, wind doing its best to rip off my face, between staggering I am forced to put my hand out to try and split the wind #lordhavemercy I’ve used up about half a tub of Vaseline by the time I seek refuge from my windy tormentor in an old red phone box…I warm up and eat and rest in said box while drivers and sheep give me a puzzled look… #walkamileinmyshoesthen I realise I am the only one hiking today, bikers battle on while walkers hide in their cars hoping for the winds to drop…they don’t. Eventually I summon courage #afraidthepolicemightstartaskingquestions And get on with it and make the remaining 5 miles to to Princetown passing by Dartmoor prison #gladamjustvisiting

Find a pub pronto and settle down to lunch and charging of tablet…I am quickly tempted to call it a day as the locals tell me the weather is too bad to continue and the nearest place Mortonhamstead is too far to get to in this weather,  I should finish up tomorrow. I almost agree and book a room when I get to thinking why am putting myself through all this

#forjoedy #whatdoistandfor #neverscared

…I CRACK ON

Eventually and its a long and hilly, I make it to Mortonhamstead .I don’t ever want to20130401_181048 run/walk/stagger Dartmoor national park again, I am totally humbled by this awesome, beautiful but unforgiving land…even the wild sheep look sorry for me!

I book my bed and hit the sack

#dartmoordoesntwantboysjustmen

Stats for day 4:

Tavistock to mortonhamstead

  • 8hr 20mins
  • 24.5 miles
  • 2.8m/hr worst
  • 5.7m/hr best
  • 4053 kcal burned
  • 8.03oz of fat lost
  • Best mile – 14 15.22
  • Worst mile- 9-   31.03
  • Bpm 97/hr avg 133/hr highest

Remember………..£65 will pay the wages of a nurse or the ambulance driver for 1 month (they need 8 nurses)

Day 3 – 31st March 2013 – Bodmin – Tavistock – 28.7 miles

day2(3)

Having so much fun with Bodmin Firestation, I leave late for Tavistock and go through St Neot and see some of the most beautiful forests I believe are out there………..simply stunning with

Ahh the countrysideloads of wild pheasants running around the place early in the morning…such a shame they are so camera shy! Also spy a lost Shetland pony on Lux park. After a quick lunch break at a cute little village called St Cleer (4 quid for the best ever bacon cheeseburger! #whoneedsripofflondon) I am overwhelmed with emotion by a lady who gives me £10 on my entering the pub and seeing my shirt…and after hearing my story donated another £20. The generosity of the British people even in these tough economic times never fails to amaze me. #proudofmybritishroots

Finally leave the wonderful Cornwall, home to possibly the nicest folk in Britain (nice folk in chief Mr Paul Thirlby!) Will miss her but not her monster hills!

Tavistock rugby liaison officer checks in to let me know he has a family for me to stay wit,h all sorted…sweet my first camping night delayed for a wee while longer.
Unfortunately he gets a bit nervous at my time keeping and comes out to find me, am so tired that when I see him about 2 miles shy of Tavistock I don’t complain and jump in.
I am dropped at a cute little house where I am greeted by the lovely family dog and Mr Nigel , head of the household. I am instantly made to feel at home and his boys run me a bath and they wash my very smelly clothes #pleaseadoptmenow
Am in heaven as my destroyed feet soak up the warmth of the water…kai! Who no like better thing! (WHO DOESN’T LIKE THE GOOD LIFE!?)
I arrive for dinner and meet a mamouth plate of devon’s finest beef and roast cedaliflower and patatoes in a cheese and cream sauce…instantly I remember why I prefer the countryside to london
#somersetboyfrolife
Of course I cant finish the delicious food and feel guilty #notallrugbyplayersestlikehoreses
If this is what the rest of the folks in Devon are like…Cornwall may have some serious competition!
After dinner I join the boys at a 50 man night club, where an improv rap group is performing
#dontknowwhethertolaughorcry
Within half an hour I am fighting to keep my eyelids open and say my goodbyes to the lads and head to my sack…am so tired I barely respond  to friends and family emails
#sorryeveryonebutsleepishardtofight
I falling asleep feeling guilty I haven’t stretched down and moistureised my poor feet
#mustlookaftermybodyatallcost #neverscared #forjoedy
Stats for Day 3:
Bodmin to Tavistock
  • 8.54hrs
  • 28.7 miles
  • 3.1mi/hr average
  • 5.9mi/hr best
  • 4677kcal burned
  • 14.05oz of fat lost
  • Fastest mile – 5 – 15.10mins
  • Slowest mile -11- 27.38mins
  • Bpm 107 avg/hr
  • Bpm 141 max/hr

Remember……………………..£5 will pay for a mosquito net to protect a child or pregnant mother

Day 2 – 30th March 2013 -Camborne to Bodmin – 35.4 miles

bodminfiresytion

Long day people but apart from a little blister am looking forward to tomorrow. Time to rest well and lets do this again tomorrow! If Carlsberg made super heroes…………Paul Thirlby would be one! Thanks for getting a roof over my head at the 11th hr! Stats for Day 2

  • 35.4miles
  • 8hr 34m
  • Avg mile/hr 4.3
  • Best mile/hr 7.2
  • Bpm…data lost…sorry!
  • Kcal hr avg 655
  • Kcal hr max 1055
  • 5284 kcal burned
  • 11.43 oz of fat burned
  • Best mile –  7 12.02
  • Worst mile 33 – 19.57

Remember………………………£20 will feed a patient for a week.

Day 1 – 29th March 2013 – Lands End to Camborne – 24.1 miles

Lands end with Captain Benbow and the Pirates

Great support and help from the Cornish Pirates and their mascot Captain Benbow at the start of this epic journey. Thanks to everyone for their prayers messages of good luck. Shame the weather couldn’t have been a little better, although it was comical at times attempting to run up hills whilst the wind tried pushing me back! Special big shout out to Paul Thirlby for being such an awesome host!!!!!!!!!!! Stats for day 1

  • 24.1 miles
  • 5hr 43min
  • Avg 4.1mi/hr
  • Best 6.9mi/hr
  • Avg bpm 141/hr
  • Best bpm 180/hr
  • Kcal burned 3869
  • Fat lost 9.09oz
  • Best mile 14 – 11.43sec
  • Wost mile 20 – 18.43sec

Remember……………………….£65 will pay the wages of a nurse or the ambulance driver for 1 month (they need 8 nurses)

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