Days 11/12: Total 149.60 miles.
Donations to UK Solidarity Fund: £3,171.38
It seems an age already since we set off from Finsbury Park Mosque on our 45 day UK Solidarity Walk. Already a quarter of the time has gone but we are short of our target mileage and short of our target fundraising. So this would seem to be a good time to reflect on the start.
First, let me say what has gone well:
Xuelin’s support work, planning and fundraising has been absolutely brilliant. Sometimes the line ‘I couldn’t do this without you’ is offered a bit glibly but in my case this is actually an understatement.
I think the visit to the Finsbury Park Mosque and meeting Dr Mohammed Said and his daughter, Fatima was a great honour and it was exactly the right place to start a walk which is about standing together against those who would seek to divide us through violence. I believe national unity and identity is strengthened by our cultural diversity not weakened.
The British Chinese community once again have been extraordinary in their interest, support and generosity to the cause of the UK Solidarity Fund. From our official send off from Parliament Square on Thursday 21 July, via Huawei offices in Reading, to the end of Stage 1 in Bristol and the fabulous welcome meal by Annie Wong, friends and family in her restaurant in Bristol. Just amazing. Thank you.
Feet–my feet have held up. I have had some other illnesses and pains but my feet are in good shape. This is not always the case–often during the first week I get abrasions and blisters associated with new shoes/socks of just while the skin is toughening up to its new daily routine.
The favourite place we have stayed so far, in my opinion was The Buck Inn in Curridge.
The favourite place of interest I have visited is The Sanctuary at Avebury.
The favourite stretch of walking was along the Avon and Kennet Canal into Newbury.
The favourite short stop was Sweetapples (tea room) in Marshfield.
Best value–£3 meal deal in Tesco’s car park, Hungerford.
Best view–looking across the Bristol/The Severn Estuary and into Wales from the Cotswold escarpment at Toghill on the A420.
The best meal–(Annie) Wong’s in Bristol.
Favourite song on my iTunes playlist–Hannah Grace–‘Praise You’.
Most unexpected act of kindness–two large Waitrose trucks who held the traffic to allow me to walk around a large storm puddle on the A4.
Weather has been good, fairly cool and with mostly light showers.
So what went wrong:
Communications/computers–I left my computer cable at home in London and it needed to be sent via Annie in Bristol again to allow me to write blogs. I responded by getting my cable and then leaving my phone at the restaurant which I won’t be able to pick up until tomorrow. My email crashed making receiving and sending emails connected with work very difficult.
We would have probably liked to be further ahead on the fundraising than we are. The UK Solidarity Fund was established to help those who have suffered as a result of recent terrorist attacks and also will be there to help those who are caught up in future attacks see: JustGiving
Accommodation has been surprisingly difficult to find and quiet expensive when we find it. I don’t mean to whinge because the walk is our choice but Xuelin pays personally for all the costs associated with all of our walks so that 100% of what is given can go to the nominated cause–this doesn’t mean to say that we don’t budget and try to keep costs down wherever we can. We had set a budget of £100 per day for everything (food, accomm, petrol etc) for this walk and with a B&B Guest House costing £120 per night in many places as it is peak season we are struggling to keep within this.
So in summary I would say that compared to previous where the first couple of weeks have been hit by major problems:
201112–Olympia, Greece to London–shin splints and heat exhaustion
2013 –London to Londonderry–blisters
2014–London to Berlin–blisters
2015–Beijing to Hangzhou–Stomach infection and heat exhaustion
2016–Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro–Torrential rain and floods
It is so far, so good.
The next Stage is Bristol to Cardiff.
Thank you for joining us for the journey.