comments iconDay 25: One last push for Manchester


Today walked: 24.00 miles

Total walk:  373.30 miles

Today raised:  £0.00 + ¥ 7,833.00

Total raised fund: £  8,898.38  + ¥ 61,691.45 

This is my nineth day of walking without a break.

I have covered 170 miles since my last rest day in Newport, Wales.

I have walked nearly 8000 miles over the past six years but I have never walked more than six days without a rest day.

I am absolutely exhausted.

The reasons for the punishing schedule for me is twofold–first I slowed up due to a foot injury and was only able to manage 15-17 miles per day because of the pain and second, because my son was returning to Brazil next Wednesday and I wanted to see him before he left.

Continuous walking doesn’t just affect me it impacts on Xuelin also–a rest day means we don’t need to move accommodation. A rest day means that there are no route runs to check the way ahead of me or food and drink runs to keep me going.

There is a cost for a demanding schedule for Xuelin it means less time being able t devoted to fundraising for the UK Solidarity Fund. For me writing the daily blog which used to be a daily pleasure is now a demanding task to be completed between getting out of the shower and getting into bed.

I recognise that the blogs over the past eight days have been a bit rambling with long sentences. I would apologise to our wonderful team of translators who still faithfully try to make sense of my writings in Chinese–I am reliably assured that they read better in Mandarin than in English.

There is another problem, a delicate matter, to do with weight.

On arrival into Manchester I had completed over 370 miles in just over three weeks, yet I had gained weight, not lost. I normally bank on losing a few kilograms along the way to ‘lighten my load’ so to speak. Xuelin blames my consumption of fizzy drinks and red wine rather than water and tea. I ‘blame’ Xuelin for energetically packing away the contents of the all-inclusive breakfast buffet in her bag and then bringing them out for lunch and dinner breaks.

Fortunately I had a person more able to adjudicate in such matters, Dr Zhu, our friend who is a heart specialist in Nottingham and had come across to Stafford to give me some advice.

Dr Zhu seemed to place a very close interest in my toilet visits which I will spare you the detail of but seemed to get Dr Zhu very interested.

His conclusion was that my problem wasn’t my heart but my liver. My liver wasn’t functioning properly and so food was not being converted into energy as efficiently as it should be. ‘What could I do to help improve the liver function?’ I asked ‘Less alcohol, more water and green tea?’ Xuelin nodded with self-justified enthusiasm.

The next suggestion was less obvious–rest. The harder the body is forced to work the less the liver is able to do its stuff. Under stress the liver can be reduced to only 30% of its healthy efficiency. This would go someway to explain why over the past eight days my weight had increased. He suggested that after every hour of walking I take a ten minute rest and drink some water or green tea.  He also suggested that I took some liver supplements–Liverel each day.

Dr Zhu’s advice was really helpful because a) I could understand it and b) I could probably follow it (need to clarify the red wine limits though).

So I was back on the road with Manchester in my sights. It was a beautiful Cheshire Sunday morning as we set off from the Waggon & Horses in Marton.

There was an early spectacular sight–a beautiful wooden framed church–St James & St Paul in Marton. It is one of the oldest timber framed churches still standing in Europe. I was only 15 minutes into the walk but a wonderful wooden bench outside the church on a sunny morning seemed a perfect place to get my first rest in.

My route took me through the posh Cheshire village of Alderney Edge  famous for being the home to celebrity footballers such as David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo and some very poor and run down Manchester suburbs. Walking routes don’t discriminate between rich and poor, safe and dangerous neighbourhoods, they are just a route on a map and you take what comes which is a good thing.

I then walked up Parrs Wood Road in Didsbury which must be one of the longest residential streets in the country–at least 2-3 miles long. Then it was on familiar territory into Rusholme and ‘Curry Mile’ and then the University of Manchester.

Xuelin had intended to travel in to meet me in Manchester at the end of the days walk but I was running late and this meant that I would be arriving into the City Centre just as Manchester United’s first game of the season against West Ham was finishing and 74,000 happy or sad fans would be making there way home (actually they won 4-0 so they were very happy). So instead I was to Manchester Piccadilly Station and caught the train out to the suburbs and met Xuelin there.

It all happened quite fast at the end on account of trying to beat the football crowds to the station, but this was a momentous day. It was the end of Stage 2 of the Walk–London/Cardiff/Manchester. I was back on schedule with the walk. I had completed 24 miles in a day for the first time since Day 2– thanks to more frequent rests as recommended by Dr Zhu.