Featured

Cancer Research – What are your donations funding

Every penny you help us raise for our Hadrian’s Wall walk goes to Cancer Research and helps them develop new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

1 in 2 people in the UK will be diagnosed with Cancer at some point in their lives now. This disease is so common and our experience at Tesco fundraising on the treadmills for our walk and Stand Up To Cancer really bought it home to us just how many people were and are effected by cancer.

Help us to raise funds for this worthy cause that is effecting so many of us and so many of our friends and family by donating via our Just Giving Page. Thank you for your support.
JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

To find our more about what your money is helping to support please take a look at this link: Cancer Research UK – what your donations are funding

Featured

In Memory of Mum – Rosemary Alexander

On Mothering Sunday March 6th 2016 Rosemary Alexander lost her battle against Ovarian Cancer and passed away peacefully in her sleep. To remember her life and how she did her utmost to help others, often putting herself and her health second, her husband Alan (My Dad) and myself (Sarah) along with my Auntie June and my good friend Laura will be walking Hadrian’s Wall to raise funds for Cancer Research. My Uncle Tim will be our support vehicle driver. On the 31st May 2017 we will be starting off our Walk in Newcastle and will be splitting up the route over 6 days ending up in Bowness-on-solway. The route is 84 miles in total.We want to raise as much money as possible to help this charity keep fighting to find a cure and support families that are going through what we went through. This page is set up to help us fundraise, to make you aware of some of our supporters, to keep you up to date with training and to keep you in the loop with the progress of the walk itself. Please visit our fundraising page and make a donation, every penny counts and please share with your friends and family JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Day 6: The last leg – Carlisle to Walls End

We woke up on day 6 to heavy rain and the knowledge that we had a lot of mileage to cover to complete our walk today. We were all tired from an awful nights sleep in the worst hotel ever and the worst breakfast probably didn’t fuel us up enough. I can honestly say I will never return to the County Hotel again. Mouldy bathrooms, non flushing toilets, rank breakfasts, noisy night clubs under the rooms, a stink of glue, all added up to us being a bit deflated this morning.

We set off with a plan to walk 7 miles to our lunch stop and then to complete the remaining 7 miles after lunch. It ended up being so much further than that. We were determined to do it and set off motivating each other and singing songs again to keep our spirits up in the rain. We must have looked like a right bunch of idiots plodding through Carlisle in our sodden wet weather gear.

We were told this would be a long hard slog of a walk but that it was all downhill from Carlisle. We should know never to trust anyone that says that. The day seemed to be filled with steps, endless gravel paths and hills that just snuck up on you when you realised you were at the top and had been walking slowly up hill for miles.

We knew today was going to be emotional as we were finishing this challenge and because we were all thinking about Mum. We were often in our own little worlds today, digging deep to keep going one foot in front of the other, and many tears were shed for different reasons. Each one of us had our reasons for doing this and you could see the gritted teeth and determination become more evident on our faces with each step.

We stopped at an incredible pub for lunch, the Greyhound in Burgh-By-Sands,  and met a lovely group of elderly locals having their weekly lunch meeting. They all very kindly donated. Some were touched by cancer in their lives or their family and friends, some were moved by our story, some even never donated to charities but when they saw the state of us all soaked to the skin from the rain and sweat and totally exhausted they then broke their rules and donated to motivate us.

After lunch we had a long hard march along very long roads and gravel paths. It seemed like we would never get to the end of them. We had to have quite a few pit stops to refuel and rest our burning legs.

Along one path as we were all struggling along we passed a man on crutches with his wife and granddaughter. He asked what we were doing and Auntie June explained about Mum, he said that he could see she was digging deep and wouldn’t tell us his story as it would make us cry, he said he would just ask Auntie June to take a £10 note from him to keep in her hand to get her through the last few miles to put in our charity box at the end of the day. This kind man has no idea how much he helped to spur on Auntie June as she clutched that note all the way along and Uncle Tim had to pry her hand open at the end of the walk.

So many people have supported us along the way and so many people have shared their stories of surviving cancer or losing loved ones. This day was a tough one emotionally for me as all I wanted was Mum to be there at the end to give me a cuddle and say how proud she was just like she used to at the end of my Race for Life’s that I used to run. I was crying to myself with each step at parts of the journey thinking about all that she was missing but determined to make the most of every day that I have. Life is too short and too cruel and we have to take what is given to us making the most of it and living life to the full. Don’t wait to do the things you want to, don’t hesitate to tell people how you feel, rise to every challenge as we are all so much stronger than we believe we are capable of being. I know that this journey has shown me that I can do anything that I set my mind to and so can Auntie June and Dad and Laura! How she walked as far as she did with her feet as bad as they were I don’t know.

IMG_20170605_134247_175

As we plodded on and on it got harder and harder. We finally got to a point where we had marched across the marshes and up a sneaky hill and I stopped to catch my breath. A builder came out of his house to talk to me and very kindly guided us to an honesty cafe and toilet. Laal Bites, I think it was called. We had a coffee and some chocolate, writing in their visitor book and used the converted cow barn toilet. I’ve never been so thankful for a well-earned break. I laid on the picnic bench in the brief moment of sun and struggled to get up afterwards.

We then had to walk along more gravel paths which seemed never-ending, I felt every stone in my blisters, by this point Dad and Auntie June had blisters too and we kept plodding on step by agonising step. We walked past some very creepy farm buildings with dead crows hanging from the buildings, like something out of Deliverance. Finally we reached the coastal path and at this point I could see how much Dad was struggling, his teeth were gritted and every step looked like it was costing him every ounce of energy.

As we were coming to one of the final gates of the day a local man stopped to talk to me about his neighbour who was doing photographs for a donation of walkers that passed his shack. Rounding the corner we were welcomed by a sign with different mileage on it from places other walkers were from. The gentleman who ran this was named Roger and was a prostrate cancer survivor who also supported Cancer Research UK so we had our photo taken with Mums name on the signpost. I burst in to tears at this point. I miss Mum so much and it broke my heart to see her name up there but she would have been so proud of us…the sign said 83 miles from Newcastle. We had 1 mile to go!!

IMAG0643

We really didn’t know how we could do this last mile so Roger pointed out the landmarks along the last mile, and we could see our B&B in the distance. At that point my phone rang, it was Tony calling to say keep going, it was so perfectly timed, I needed that motivation to get me through the last mile. Thank you Babe.

I am so proud of my Dad and how he made that final mile. His teeth were gritted so firmly and every step was like walking a mountain at that point. I love him so dearly and I could see the emotion on his face. I am so lucky to have him as my Father.

We finally made it! We walked the 84 miles from Newcastle to Bowness-On-Solway and stamped our passports all along the way. We all cried at the end and there were many many cuddles shared. We then had to walk to our B&B, Walls End Guest House, I sobbed my heart out when I got to my room from exhaustion, relief and pride. I had the most luxurious steaming hot bath and got myself ready for dinner. Dad and Auntie June both have rashes on their legs from the walk and we all were walking like cripples but we managed to hobble up to the pub, The Kings Arms for a delicious dinner and a very well-earned drink.

Thank you Uncle Tim for supporting us all week, driving all over to meet us and provide us with food, water, changes of clothes and foot SOS.

Thank you everyone for your donations and messages of support. We have raised over £5300 so far to help Cancer Research UK try to find a cure for this disease that is stealing so many loved ones from us all. Every penny helps us to help them make a difference to so many lives and one day maybe in the future people will look back on cancer as part of history. If you want to support us and donate please use our Just Giving Page:JustGiving - Sponsor me now!
IMAG0648

The Greyhound

Kings Arms

Walls End Guest House

Day 5: Walltown quarry to Carlisle…It’s along way to go!

We’ve eventually made it to Carlisle. It’s been a long day today, harder than any of us could have imagined but it has also been an incredible experience with stunning views and support from so many people along the way. We have walked through beautiful pastoral landscapes, peaceful woodlands, and up more and more hills. We have been hunting for fairies in trees, seen really cute fluffy cows and giant fungai.

My phone has died today so I have no idea on how many miles we have done. But we are finally in Carlisle. What an awful hotel and an awful come down from the luxury of last night. We really needed a pick me up after the mileage covered today and to prepare us for tomorrow. It’s an early night tonight for all of us as we have about 14 miles to cover tomorrow and it is forecast heavy torrential rain.

I have 4 more blisters today and am dreading tomorrow but the nagging pain from my feet keeps reminding me why we are doing this. Every penny we raise helps to fight this awful disease and is nothing in comparison to what Mum went through. She had such strength right up until the last. She continues to inspire me and keeps me walking forward, step by step closer to Walls End. I hate gravel, and I will be so happy to never see a gravel path again, you really can feel every stone through your shoes when you have blisters.

I’ve been renamed by Dad as Mountain Goat today for finding the best paths, and also Magnet as people seem to keep stopping to talk to me. It’s wonderful how many people we have met from all over the world. We have also been singing songs to ourselves to keep us going today. We came across two fantastic Honesty box snack bars today, in particular one run by Matthew. What a brilliant and kind idea. I’ve also never been so happy to see an emergency port-a-loo, I did not care about the state of it.

We are staying in the worst hotel I have ever been to. The County Hotel in Carlisle, and when we arrived there was a press conference going on for the Labour party and Jeremy Corbyn was here.

Me and Dad are sat planning the final day tomorrow as we have a glass of red wine in my room failing to open a packet of crisps as he is so tired. We will do this, but oh my legs are killing me and I pray we do not get too rusty in the torrential downpours forecast for tomorrow.

Please support us in our final push and donate via our Just Giving page:JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Day Four: Housesteads Fort, Steelrigg and on-wards – Oh what a beautiful day!

I’m broken today. I actually felt ready to collapse today at the end of our walk and did end up laying on the floor to recover in the car park where we were picked up.

The B&B we stayed at last night was wonderful but the breakfast was even better. You can’t beat Croissants with Nutella then a full fry up when you have such epic hikes ahead of you.

We started from Housesteads Fort, which was a mile walk up hill from the car park drop off point to join the wall again. We then had to defeat Steelrigg which was the hardest walk we have done to date. I’m so proud of Dad and how well he did, we defeated that bad boy!

The walk has been breathtakingly beautiful but one hell of a craggy rollercoaster of a walk. It is definitely not undulating and our guide book is being burnt and a nasty letter sent when we get back. The mileage is so out and we are walking further than we thought we would have to and that is without the hills up and down.

The sun has shone brightly for us today and as I was walking up one hill I was belting out ‘Oh what a beautiful morning’ only to be echoed from the other side of the hill ‘oh what a beautiful day’ from another female walker. I had thought I was on my own with Dad. The support from other walkers to each other has been amazing and has kept me going today.

My knees have been agony today as we have been up and down so many hills with steps which were so slippery and steep and craggy. We’ve walked past Lochs, Robin Hoods tree, loads more sheep, turrets, I’ve hidden in holes in the wall, talked to runners as they passed us and made friends all along the way. What has really kept us going though is the messages of support from our friends and family at home. We’ve shed tears.

We’ve also laughed loads today but probably from delirium but also because Laura has been on top form making me crack up. Laura is a Trojan and walked miles on her numerous blisters today, whilst I moaned about my few like the big girls blouse that I am. She puts me to shame!!

We had lunch on the route again today as there is just no way of knowing when we are going to get to certain points any more. It such a tough and long slog and we cannot really plan times anymore.

I could have cried today at the end of the walk when we got to our amazing hotel and she offered to make us a pot of tea and there were biscuits and chocolates waiting for us. I’ve been dreaming of a pie and mash and gravy all week and thank heavens tonight I am having steak pie with short crust pastry! I’ve already opened a bottle of wine as I write this and me and Laura are singing to each other as we get ready for dinner laughing about the people we have seen along the way today and the state of our feet.

If you have had a beautiful day and want to support us and our trek with wounded tootsies please donate via our Just Giving page as every single penny is helping us to help Cancer Research find a cure:JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Oakwood Park Hotel

Day Three: Chollerford to Housestead Fort – Hills?? Undulating?? Yeah right!! That was a hard day!

We cut today short. But what an incredibly beautiful awe-inspiring day. Wow that was hard going!!

I don’t know where to start or what to say today apart that I am proud of all of us today.

We have all had our moments where we have had a cry and we have all had magical moments today too.

We started off at a slower space determined to enjoy today and take our time. The sound of bird song has been almost deafening. I’ve been chatting to sheep, cows and followed by a friendly yellow wagtail watching my progress. I have lain in buttercup fields and soaked up the sun’s rays whilst listening to the birds, sheep, and the sound of the wind. We’ve climbed some massive craggy hills and struggled with the descent. I’ve never been so grateful for a walking pole. My blister has nagged me all day.

We stopped at Brocolitia Fort and had a fantastic cup of coffee from The Corbridge Coffee Company. The best coffee I have had so far on this trip. I was watching the blackest clouds on the horizon and praying that I wouldn’t get soaked through. The coffee vendor promised me it wouldn’t rain today and said I could have a free coffee if I got wet this afternoon. It didn’t rain and the sun kept coming out for us today.

We were then passed by a group of men who were staying at our hotel the night before who were running it, I was jealous at first of them running the wall but later as the ascent and descent got harder I realised just how crazy a run this would have been. Walking down those descents was hard enough with a pole.

There were no loos on the route at all and I was so grateful for all those squats I do in my gym work out to keep me balanced. It was almost impossible to find anywhere private so I apologise to the county of Northumberland for my bare pale butt.

It was a short mileage day today but it was probably the hardest but most rewarding day so far because of the climbs and the views.

One climb in particular led to a breath-taking view over a lake and as I stood there I was overwhelmed by the fact that a few years back at over 22 stone I could never have done this and never have dreamed it possible. I felt so alive and so in my element stood at the top with the wind blasting my face and the sun shining over the view stretching for miles. I have never felt so proud of myself and the strength that I now have. Life has thrown a lot at us recently. Dad came up the hill and said Mum would be so proud of me, we had a huge cuddle and I cried my eyes out. I miss you Mum and I will keep making the most of every moment and living life to the full and enjoying everything that I can now do and keep challenging myself. Whatever life throws at me now I know I am stronger than I ever used to be.

Cheese over now! No more motivational emotional stuff….

We cut the walk short today as we were all exhausted and pushing ourselves beyond the point of enjoyment. It made sense to cut the walk short at the Fort to head back to the B&B and recharge. We don’t know how far we walked today as all of our trackers kept playing up but we think we have walked about 11 miles at least. I think me and Auntie June needed the cuddle we had in the back of the car on the way back. Dad is still looking for a decent pint and he so deserves it tonight. I love you Dad and really am proud of how you are doing.

It was great to get my shoes off and check over my feet. Laura will be joining us again tomorrow as her feet are a little better. When we got back to the B&B the runners were there stood outside in their bare feet. I think I will need more toe SOS tonight.

We are staying at the Grey Bull B&B tonight and will be eating at Twice Brewed where Dad can have a pint. I am going to enjoy some well-earned cider.

If you want to cheer us on please share this blog or donate via our Just Giving Page:If you want to donate to support us please use our Just Giving Page: JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Grey Bull Hotel

Twice Brewed Inn

Housesteads Fort

Corbridge Coffee Company

Day Two: Heddon on the Wall to Chollerford. Blisters on Blisters.

Even shorter blog today. Walked over 17 miles! Ouch!

We met some lovely people on the way, from American tourists to three Volunteers who were on the way to work on path maintenance along the Hadrian’s Wall route and very generously donated to our fundraising efforts. I was very touched by how much they donated and their kind words.

It’s been a long hard slog, I’ve got blisters on blisters but not as many as Laura. She is a legend!! It has been a beautiful but hard walk and if I ever see another ladder or stile again after this trip I will cry!!

We had lunch at a great pub called the Errington Arms at Port Gate, the sandwiches were delicious.

Tonight we are staying at the George Hotel in Chollerford and I am too exhausted to use the pool and Jacuzzi.

Getting to the hotel tonight and seeing Uncle Tim waiting for Auntie June almost made me cry, I’d have loved to have seen Mum there waiting for Dad. It’s why we are doing this to help raise funds for Cancer Research so other people don’t have to lose their loved ones or family members in the future if Cancer Research can help to find a cure.

I’m tired and emotional and ever so proud of my team mates today. Especially Laura who had to drop out because of blisters and she still carried all of my crap up to our room whilst we were still completing our daily mileage.  Auntie June for her determination and great pacing, and Dad for keeping going and getting there before me today as he was so desperate for the loo! and of course Uncle Tim for the foot surgery on me and Laura.

If you want to donate to support us please use our Just Giving Page: JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Day One: Segedunum to Heddon on the Wall. Happy 30th Birthday Laura!!

I’m going to keep this short as I am shattered! We did it. We completed day one. We walked 16.72 miles from Segedunum to Heddon on the Wall.

IMAG0316

We thought it was going to be a 15 mile day but the route ended up being a bit longer than expected and we only stopped for lunch after 12 miles. We stopped for lunch at The Boat House in Newborn and Uncle Tim checked over our feet and gave us all foot massages and SOS treatment.

Carrying on we were chased by dogs playing with our shadows, chatted to some lovely families, saw upside down rainbows and cloud Angels. Mum was certainly with us today but would have been in the pub at the end with a large gin and slimline tonic laughing at us crazy fools.

What a day! We started through industrial paths to walking along the River Tyne, through lovely parkland and wooded walkways to finally up one MASSIVE hill!!!! Finishing at the Three Tuns in Heddon.

Our legs are shredded. Our feet hurt! and we have sun burn.

As it was Laura’s 30th Birthday today we went for dinner to Ottoman a delicious Turkish restaurant not far from the hotel. Stuffed and aching it is time for bed.

If you want to support us and our seriously aching limbs please donate via our just giving page:JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

These two places we ate/drank today were great: The Three Tuns and Ottoman

 

 

Hello Newcastle – Let’s do this!!!!

ra0001-croppedWell the time is finally here! This morning we set off from Norfolk to drive up to Newcastle to start our Hadrian’s Wall trek tomorrow morning. All the training has been done for our 84 mile walk and I feel so unprepared.

My Dad has had a UTI and is still weak, Auntie June has had a middle ear infection, Laura has just got back from a hen weekend in Italy and is hanging, and I have Osteoarthritis in my knees and a dodgy hip. What a rag taggle bunch we are but we are going to do this! We will complete the 84 miles over the next 6 days.

We picked up the support vehicle over the weekend which has been loaned to us at a discounted rate by Enterprise Cars in Chelmsford. My Dad (Alan) and my Uncle (Tim) shared the driving whilst me and my Auntie June chatted in the back of the car. It was lovely to see the Angel of the North and it reminded me of why we are doing this. We are walking to raise funds for Cancer Research and in memory of my Mum, our own Angel of the North, who passed away from Ovarian Cancer last year. Dad has spent the last year organising this trip for us independently and his nerves are shredded as he has never organised anything like this before. We are all anxious but excited and want to get started.

We finally arrived after lunch and checked in to the Jurys Inn Hotel in Newcastle. After dumping our bags in our room we went to check out Walls End Fort at Segedunum to get our Hadrian’s Wall passports so we do not have to worry about getting them in the morning before starting our walk tomorrow. We have our first stamp in the passport and we are set to go at 9.00 tomorrow morning.

It will be an early night for us tonight after our lovely meal at The Victoria Comet and a few bevvies so we are all fighting fit for tomorrow. I’m so looking forward to my comfy bed. We will have 15 miles to cover tomorrow. Bring it on!! The pain in my legs will be nothing in comparison to what Mum suffered and so many of my friends and family are suffering or have suffered through cancer.

If you want to cheer us on then please support this bunch of misfits and sponsor us via our Just Giving Page
JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Here are some useful links and supporters:

Enterprise Car Hire Chelmsford

Segedunum

Jurys Inn Newcastle

Victoria Comet