From the beginning of July until the end of September, I updated my progress via Twitter! If you look at my "Tweets" you will get a broad idea of my progress from Exmouth, along the south coast of Devon, into Cornwall and round Land's End. Then along the north Cornish coast and back into Devon.
In the middle of September I slipped a disc in my lower back, and then strained various muscles and ligaments in my left leg later on! As a result, with only a couple of days to go before I reached the end of the South West Coast Path at Minehead, which was tantalisingly close, I was forced to stop walking and rest my body for most of October. I received treatment on my back and leg over a four week period. Having spent the summer walking along our glorious coast, I was not a "happy camper" when forced to rest, but it was essential. As the walk has progressed, I have come to appreciate that the eventual distance I will hike round our coast will probably run to well over 6,000 miles at least! There is simply no point in damaging myself and preventing me from completing the walk.
In the last week of October I returned to Lee, near Ilfracombe, and completed the last four days of the South West Coast Path round to Minehead. In blustery conditions, and accompanied my friend Ben Whitworth, I plodded up to the magnificent sculpture on the seafront in Minehead marking the beginning, or end
of the Path, depending on which direction one chooses to walk it. I embraced it (rather worryingly), after which Ben took my picture.
This section of the walk, The South West Coast Path, as I have probably over-stated by now, is 630 miles long with over 115,000 feet of ascent : four times the height of Mount Everest. Under any other circumstances I would have been proud to have a pint at this point and return to the day job. But it marked the completion of over 1,250 miles of the walk, and the start of the next 5,000 miles or so.
At this stage, you wonderful supporters of the Walk have helped to raise nearly £27,000 for Alzheimer's Society, which puts us ahead of the fund-raising schedule for this point in the walk. However, tough times are ahead, both on the coast path and in our economy. I really am so grateful for the incredible amount you have all donated so far, and hope that as new followers come along we
can maintain the fund-raising momentum...
From the beginning of November until the end of March 2011, I will divide my time between working for a couple of weeks every month and then walking for the remainder of the month. Wales in winter. Then Scotland in the spring and early summer. You are welcome to come and join me, and if can provide some
logistical support including accommodation and local knowledge along the way, I will be very grateful!