Saturday 7 June 2008

Blog for John O Groats to Lands End - 2008

If any "Ramblers" out there want to read this years Blog it's:

It's slightly out of date, as I've now just reached Barnard Castle. I'll endeavour to catch up with it a.s.a.p!

Wednesday 5 December 2007

A Sell-Out Show for Sophie!!!

The final major fundraiser was held at the Adrian Mann Theatre on Sunday 2nd December. Commencing with a powerpoint presentation of all the fundraising events that have been happening throughout the year, the audience enjoyed a variety show of music, dance and comedy sketches, performed by the Banstead 5 churches youth group, "Six of the Best" Dance Troupe, Rosebery School's Big Band & the Sixth Form Singers, The "Fusion Players" amateur dramatic society, along with some of Sophie's friends reading her poems, and a wonderful rendition of "Music of the Night" by Joe Claus.
We were delighted to present a cheque for £40,000 to Darren Hargraves, the Oncology Consultant who is researching into paediatric brain stem tumours at the Royal Marsden. He said every penny will go into this vital research and it WILL make a difference...
That has made it all worth while.
Thank-you to everyone who has helped in their own way to reach this amazing total.

Monday 6 August 2007

Update on Fundraising

Elliott has completed his parachute jump (brave man!) and hopefully we will be getting some photos soon...

Another fund raising event is being planned for December 2nd. "A Concert for Sophie" at the Adrian Mann Theatre involving many of Sophie's friends from school & the local community.
More details later...

As well as money donated "On Line" many other donations have been sent direct to the Royal Marsden.
Rosebery School raised £1,416.68 from the charity fortnight. A fantastic amount of money! Banstead District Scout Council donated £1,133.50. Together, with many other donators, including family, friends, national banks & companies, & local groups & societies the total amount raised so far "Off Line" is an incredible £6869.68! So, Thank you to all of you for your continuing support & generosity.

I'm still walking, trying to keep up my fitness level, although I'm only averageing around 5 miles now in circular routes around Banstead. Trouble is, I keep getting lost! I'm just going to have to get an OS map of the area I've lived in for the past 12 years!

Tuesday 31 July 2007

Mission Accomplished!

So, now it's all over. It has been an amazing adventure, not quite "the lark" it was depicted to be. This was a blog , after all, not a personal diary. There were some high points, of course, but some very low ones as well. However,I have fulfilled my promise to Sophie, and I know, through many things that happened along the way, that she was walking beside me, every step of the way. Together, and with the overwhelming support and generosity of so many people, we have achieved what we set out to do. "To try and help other children not to have to go through what she did" (her wishes)

To more than double the original target is a major achievement,(with still more fundraising events to ahead!) So, it's to all of you who have made his happen in so many different ways, I say a HUGE thankyou.

Many people have helped and supported me on this journey. To be able to start on April 8th (Sophie's 15th Birthday) meant there was little time to prepare ahead. So I would like to thank...

My three sisters , not only during the walk, but since April last year they have given Me, Keith & the girls imeasurable support.
Jill, for providing me with a bolt hole & preparing me mentally & physically for the challenge ahead
Hilary, for playing the role she's always played in my life, looking after me.
Lynne, for being my best friend, always there for me when I've needed her. During this walk, on the end of a phone (thank goodness for mobiles!)

Stephen, for setting up this blog in the first place (even though it's been a pain) for being my PA and Press Officer, and just saying "I'll deal with it" when I got in a panic

Bernadette, for producing the T Shirt design, and getting them printed A.S.A.P.!!

Liz, for doing a stirling job as "OS Map co-ordinator" back at base camp.

The Scout Association, whose kind and generous members, helped with transportation, many times at the last minute, and sometimes for many miles! As I write, "The World Jamboree" is in full swing, I'm so glad the sun is shining on you all.

The Hosts, who provided me with a bed, food , transportation and most importantly-a base.
Gary & Yvonne in Ottery St Mary, Devon
Jane & John in Whiteparish, Wiltshire
Andy & Jo in Nottingham
Jane & Neil in Sheffield
Rachel & Andy in York
Chris & John in the Yorkshire Dales
Ruth & Roy in Peebles
Angela & Peter in Stanhope, County Durham
Mari-Anne in Edinburgh
Margaret in Glasgow
Chip on the "Great Glen Way"
Hilary in Dornoch

The Walkers- (and three dogs) for sharing this journey with me. It has been, for me, more about people than places.
Jill & Kenny in Cornwall
Yvonne, Gary, Nathalie, Stephanie, Danielle, Charlotte, Matt & Barney in Devon & Somerset Jane in Somerset & Avon and The West Highland Way
Linda (Thelma) from Wookey Hole to Street
"Meg" on the Monarch Way
Lauren & Caitlin in Somerset & on the Pennine Way, in the Dales/County Durham
Hilary & Maurice in the Cotswolds. Hilary on The Pennine Way, Northumberland & the Highlands, Scotland
Keith in Worcestershire, The Yorkhire Dales, The West Highland Way & The last day
Clare & Bryony in Staffordshire
Liz & Cathy in Staffordshire
Caroline & Gemma in Staffordshire
Emma in Derbyshire
Jane, Beverley & Glenda on the "dreaded" Pennine Way, Derbyshire
Sally on the Pennine Way in the Dales (with a digression!)
Andy & Claire back on the Pennine Way in the Dales
John on the Pennine Way in the Dales/County Durham
"Little" Hilary & Jenny in Northumberland
Ruth, Seonaid, Emma, "Angus & Katie" in The Borders
Margaret & Gavin on the Edinburgh to Glasgow Canal
Stephen on The West Highland Way
Chip, Ann & Linda on The Great Glen Way
Emily in the Highlands
Lynne & Dave in the Highlands
and last, but by no means, least...Orange hat, rucksack & stick. Unfortunately we parted company with "stick", and no, I didn't lose it, it broke! - consigned to the refuse bins at the Glasgow flat.

What I would have liked to have done John O Groats is turn around & walk all the way back to Cornwall, but I had to go home & be a wife and mother. So my final, and greatest thanks must go to Lauren & Caitlin for letting "Mutti" go on this mad venture, and to Keith, who knew he couldn't stop me. However, to go with his blessing (and the credit card) made all the difference.
So, that's all folks, apart from a photo display (hopefully-if I can manage to do it) Thankyou for reading my blog. There will be updates on the fundraising of course and I hope we can REALLY make a difference...K.B.O.

Sunday 29 July 2007

Keiss to John O'Groats - The final destination!

The first thing I must do when I get home is look for that 'Final Destination' DVD and return it back to the library...

The day dawned grey and drizzly which matched my mood. Now ,the last day was here , I didn't want it to end. It was only a short walk of 8 or 9 miles, according to opinion, and it seemed like a dull end to what had been a really purposeful journey. Anyway, to keep our spirits up we played a few alphabet games e.g. Think of a band name beginning with A etc...

Every so often the mist cleared and we spotted sights of JOG and beyond to the Orkney Islands. Then they'd disappear. The approach seemed a long one and I was surprised there were so many B and B's and houses, generally, as I had been lead to believe there was nothing there. On arrival there were three gift shops an information and tourist centre a cafe and sadly the closed down hotel looking very desolate on the cliff. Of course there was the sign where we needed to take the obligatory photos. At £9.50 per photo,we were wise to this rip-off (flash back to Land's End) and took it out of sight of the official photographer. Entering the cafe and the shop to buy postcards we wondered where Alan was. He suddenly popped up outside the shop and we went back to take MORE photos of the two of us at the sign. Taking him to see Dave, who was in the car nursing his feet, Alan asked Lynne "Did you sleep in the van as well?" I think he was confused about Lynne and Daves relationship and so it seemed was The Station Hotel in Thurso. More of that later.

We drove back to Keiss to pick up the van and then drove on to Thurso, stopping at Dunnet Head to look at the views. This was Daves surfing ground but even if there had been a good swell his poor feet would never have got him onto the board. I tried to admire the scenery along the way but I was just so tired. I suppose all the adrenalin had left me and I slept my way to Thurso.

On arrival we were given our 'rooms'. Firstly, some confusion, Lynne and Dave were in a "Twin room" but apparently that wasn't a problem as they had an apartment, two bedrooms, a lounge, kitchen and bathroom. We could have all stayed there! Keith & I were taken to the 'Crossroads Motel' style room on the other side of the car park.

Keith had brought congratulatory cards and presents from friends at home which cheered me up and ,after an aperitif in the apartment lounge and a look at Dave's corker of a blister, we had a lovely meal at the hotel followed by a walk along the front in a beautiful sunset. Even though Dave still walked like he had spent three days on a horse he managed to hobble, around fortified by alcohol, to regale a few stories of his wild escapades with his surfing pals in Thurso.

Somewhere on the A99 to Keiss - Slick Dick and the Tripwire

At breakfast we met another 'Jogle' family of four. Father and daughter were cycling down to Lands End in twelve days to raise money for her 'World Challenge' trip to Borneo and Mother and younger daughter were the back up team. Now I know all about World Challenge trips and gave them a few fundraising ideas. They were a really nice family, we swapped email addresses so I can see how their getting on. 'Slick' strolled in attired in his full lycra regalia, proudly announcing to all , the weather conditions at 'JOG'.

We drove the van to yesterday's finishing point and started walking back towards Keiss, plotting and planning how to knock him off his bike. Tripwire across the road? No, we didn't have any. All dancing across the middle of the road as we saw him approaching, thereby making him swerve and fall off ? To late, he was approaching at great speed "Oh, that's what I like to see! Keep up the good work!" He obviously had no intentions of pausing for a chat. Afterwards we thought of the best idea. We should have said we wanted to take his photograph as we were so impressed with his prowess. Then he would have stopped!

Walking on towards Wick, Dave was beginning to suffer a few foot problems, so the first port of call was the sockshop, where the delightfully young and good-looking Hamish sorted him out with some thick socks AND recommended an alternative route along the beach to Keiss. The only problem was the Wester river that ran down from the loch onto the beach and crossing it was dependant upon the tide. Lynne chose to stay on the road but Dave and I were up for the challenge!

It made a real change to be walking on the sand; it was exhilirating! Then we approached the was wide, it could be deep. This was turning into a spiffing "Famous Five" adventure...


"I say Dave, old bean, be a good sport, do the manly thing and cross the river first!"

"Of course, I'm a chap, I might even find that hidden treasure we've been looking for"

As I watched him sink deeper and deeper up to his thighs I thought "crikey" and rolled my shorts up as far as they would go!

"Come on old girl you can do it! It's not that frightfully difficult!"

"Can you see anything glittering between those pebbles and stones" ?

"Can't really say. It's jolly difficult keeping one's balance without looking for treasure as well!"

I slowly and carefully made my way across to the other side.

"Well done!" Said Dave slapping me heartily on the back, "Not bad for a girl, what say I treat you to some homemade fruit cake and lashings and lashings of ginger beer. I think I spotted a jolly apple cheeked farmers wife over there" I beamed with pride...

That story was true apart from the last part; there was no farmers wife and seemingly no way off this beach other than scrambling over the rocks which we did. We found the footpath but it lead back to the A99. That's not what we were looking for. The village was only a quarter of a mile ahead of us across the field, we could even see the hotel. So we ploughed through the nettles thinking "this can't be right, surely the locals would have made a path to the beach?" And of course they had. We finally stumbled across it and met Lynne (and Keith who had arrived and picked her up on route) back at the hotel.