Thank you for helping us support the MS Society

Since Alex and I completed our challenge two months ago to hike Offa’s Dyke in aid of MS Society – things have been pretty hectic. Dropping back into normality was surprisingly difficult and, along with my health scare, has meant tying up loose ends has progressed slowly.

Well – I have finally finished collating all the cash and cheques we received..

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Angel – a hiking dog’s story

Throughout the build up of this challenge I haven’t really talked much about my dog. Angel is a German Shepherd re-homed from Wood Green Animal Shelter in March 2007. Her exact age is unknown, but she is approximately 5 or 6 years old.

When I first met her at Wood Green I fell instantly in love with her. Although she was pacing up and down in her cage (like a trapped tiger) and barely had any time for me, there was just something about her I liked.

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Keeping motivated whilst hiking for 13 days

I have never walked more than two days in a row, and the biggest non-physical problem I can see is staying motivated.

Like it or not we will ache, we will have blisters, we will be tired, we will sometimes be miserable – but if we stay motivated then we can still keep going!

There are four key ways I think we can stay motivated (and you can help with at least three of them).

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Final preparations for Offa’s Dyke

With just over a week to go, final preparations are well under way. My lounge now looks more like a branch of an outdoor store, with camping equipment and hiking gear strewn across the floor.

Fund raising and publicity has  gone up a gear, and I would like to thank everyone who has donated so far (big or small, every donation means a lot to us!). We have hit our original target of £1500, and so have decided to move the goal posts to aim for the more ambitious £2500.

It is probably worth noting that we our covering our own costs for this challenge, so every penny donated goes to the MS Society (well except Justgiving’s card payment fees!), and we are so grateful for our sponsors Viewranger, Powertraveller, Brasher and White and Bishop for helping us out with some of our equipment!

Publicity is going really well – we got a mention on Jim’s morning show on BBC Radio Shropshire (the mention is 1 hour 46 minutes in if you want to skip to it) – thanks Jude (@jabberingjude) for letting Jim know about us! I have been interviewed by our local paper, The Chronicle and Echo, for an article next week (the photographer comes on Monday!). Both White and Bishop and my local shop have posters up and are collecting donations on our behalf, and as usual our followers on Twitter have been brilliant at helping spread the word!

Equipment-wise: my new pair of Basher hiking boots (Supalite II GTX) should be arriving early next week (after I finally killed my old pair on Black Mountains), we have a new Vango Banshee 300 (big enough to share, so we can split the weight), Viewranger are kindly lending me a Nokia smartphone for mobile maps and to power my online route app, and my Orikaso folding plate/bowl/cup sets and MP3 player (for audiobooks and radio) arrived a few days ago. That just leaves a few bits and pieces to sort next Saturday (as well as having my haircut to avoid hat-hair/camping-hair issues!).

I am excited – very very excited. But also very nervous. There is no getting around the fact that this will be hard. Probably harder than part of me is expecting. I have been trying to not think about the fact that this is the same as taking my longest hardest walk, with a full pack, and walking it 13 days in a row. We have to do it – £1500 is a pretty big mandate – but it is going to take every ounce of strength, determination and motivation we possess.

Oh I did I mention that Alex and I have to share a tent…. with the dog…. for 13 days!

First walk of 2010 – Circular walk from Everdon via Woodford Halse

After the excesses of Christmas and spending a lot of time in bed with various bouts of illness (what is it about evolving colds that won’t go away this winter!) the Offa’s Dyke team (well everyone except Alex) decided to break in the new year  with a 13 mile walk around the Northamptonshire countryside South of Daventry.

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