Over the last 4 years I have raised £16,000 for Sue Ryder and Macmillan charities and this year I wanted to do another charity event but for a smaller charity. I trawled the internet and came across a children’s charity based in Halifax. They are called Yorkshire Children’s Trust. They are not government funded or receive any money from the lottery. They rely totally on sponsorship and donations. I also wanted to get my children involved in this so chose to walk The Dales Way as we all have a love for the outdoors.
In July we walked the full 75 miles from Ilkley to Bowness on Windermere, whilst camping along the way over 6 days. I’m an experienced walker who has walked every mountain in the Lake District as well as the 3 big ones in the UK and I’ve cycled coast to coast, but this long distance walk really opened my eyes. It was a serious challenge.
We never saw a soul as we walked through and over dales past the How Gills to the delight of the Lake District. The scenery was breath taking, the banter was good.
We had a full day walking then had to set up 4 tents, have tea, then get the bags packed for the next day’s walking. In the morning we had to pack away all the tents, stoves, beds etc. into a trailer and wait for the relief drivers to take our trailer to the next site. Wet boots were put on everyday over dry socks and blister plasters.
This journey was full on and encouragement had to be given all day long, the sugar rushes from jelly babies and skittles were in endless supply for the children!! A member of the party left after the 1st days walking and 2 more members left after the hardest day’s walking on the Thursday through injury. The week was taking its toll which only spurred us on further. Giving up was never an option!
The weather was as kind as it could be to us and nearly all the rain was through the nights. It was a relief to reach the last campsite as we knew we had 2 nights there which meant we could leave the camp set up so we had an extra hour in bed!
The last days walking was beautiful leaving the rolling millions of years old Howgills and we could see the mountains of the Lake District in the distance. We came off the fells to the houses and streets of Bowness, we battled our way through the last mile of tourists trying to reach the shores of Windermere to wet our boots in the lake to complete the walk.Congratulations to us all, what a fantastic achievement.
The aim of this walk was to enjoy it and to “make a difference” to children who aren’t as fortunate as mine. We certainly did that!
When the founder of the trust says that the trust was set up with tenners and fivers out of peoples’ pockets then someone like me walks off the street and gives him a total of £11,604.00 – he then cries!!
Now that is making a difference!!
Thank you to all who have supported me on this one and to all who sponsored me, YOU have all made a difference!!
Merry Christmas to you all.
Written by Colin Slingsby – Facilities Team