FINAL DAY OF THE WALK!
Peacehaven to Brighton
So. The very last day of the entire walk. 6,072 miles. Three and a half years in the doing. 370 days of walking. 6 pairs of boots. Over £60,000 raised so far.
I went out for breakfast and then followed the concrete walkway round towards Brighton. The waves were crashing into the wall, catching me out at one point but I escaped a complete soaking! I felt fine for these last few miles but their significance wasn't lost on me!
At 1.00 pm I arrived at Cafe Rouge in Brighton Marina and was greeted by a restaurant full of balloons, banners and cheering. There were around 45 of us there for lunch and I received a big cheer. The other customers looked puzzled, then cottoned onto what the lunch was all about and joined in too! Family and friends had travelled for miles to be with me today as I crossed the finish line.
After lunch we all set off towards Brighton Pier. But first we had to negotiate the multi-storey car park. There was a crowd of us carrying banners and balloons threading our way through the car park ramps and staircases until we were able to get out onto the promenade.
In the last few hundred metres the occasion finally got to me and although I tried to 'man-up' I think I failed epically! What a wonderful and special and emotional moment as I crossed the line under an arch of arms and ribbons and banners. I will never forget it. Thank you everyone for being there.
Afterwards I tried to say a few words but really couldn't manage them very well. After which we all had a drink and hung out at the end of Brighton Pier collecting money as we did so.
That evening we all went out for dinner at Cafe Delice where I was presented with a cake. Philippa had commisioned it and it featured a miniature me in hiking gear complete with rucksack, walking poles, boots and a Red Arrow - the rest of the Red Arrows team weren't available! The Italian lady who had made the cake had left off Scotland, not realising that it is in fact part of the British mainland. Indeed, walking round Scotland accounted for about half of my walk! It looked brilliant all the same and tasted delicious. We finished the evening in the hotel bar!
The following day Philippa and I joined hundreds of other walkers at the Alzheimer's Society Memory Walk in Brighton. It was an emotional and fitting way to finish this stage of my adventure. More will follow, and I will continue to raise money for Alzheimer's in the years to come.
'Watch this space', as they say!