The first week... (April 11th)
Monday Not the best day to start this challenge - weather awful! Doug was joined by two members of the Wick Rotary Club who walked with him from the famous John O'Groats signpost to Wick. After stopping in Thrumster, had a pleasant meal at Mackays Hotel in Wick. Very successful collection at local Tesco. Spent the night in Wick courtesy of a lovely policeman who lent us his flat!
Tuesday Although the sun shone brightly, Doug found prevailing winds made for hard work today but kept to schedule.
Wednesday Headed off from Newport (Scotland - not Wales!) Doug tackled Berrivale today - a very long windy road that he had been warned was very dangerous - no problem for Doug though! Arrived Bora to view a lovely stretch of sandy beach. Sue says scenery very similar to Dartmoor - except they have mountains! Accommodation was provided by two Rotary members and they were invited to the Wick Rotary meeting, given dinner and presented with a cheque for £100 - hoorah!
Thursday Leaving Bora they called into Dunrobin Castle (as you do!) for a trip around the battlements. After some problems with a bad back (probably due to all those battlements!) Doug had to visit a chiropractor in Dumoch who gave him a timely warning to warm up before the walk and then warm down after.
Friday Ended the week in Alness. Will travel to Inverness on Saturday to do some collecting.
Ah well - first week over - 10% of walk completed - well done Doug!
The second week...... (April 18th)
Monday After a successful weekend spent collecting in Aberdeen, Doug and Sue left Alness on route to Fort Augustus. So far, on schedule.
Tuesday Arrived at Fort Augustus. Doug's big adventure tomorrow is to cross the Corrieyairack Pass.
This Pass crosses the Monadhiliath Mountains, connecting the two communities of Fort Augustus in the Great Glen to the North and Laggan, in Badenoch to the South. The 25 mile Pass takes you through scenic glens and past ancient woodland to open moor and high hill, following the historic route used by travellers for centuries. Although an old military road, the Pass has fallen into disrepair and, even in summer, can be a dangerous trip to undertaken. However Doug will be walking the Pass with a Regimental Sargent Major and two Sappers from the TA. In safe hands then! Which is just as well as Sue has to wait back at base for him. Sue reports that they have seen their first red squirrel - unfortunately iit was also their first siting of a dead red squirel! (hit by a car)
Wednesday On the way to drop Doug and his escorts off at the start of the Pass they were rewarded with the awesome sight of a herd of Deer, the Stag just standing looking at them - quite unconcerned. Let's all hope Doug turns up at the other side - more news tomorrow
Thursday Collected over £200 yesterday. Doug arrived at B & B at 8.00 pm - exhausted but happy - he did it!!! Spent the day today walking from Laggen to Dalwhinnie, where he picked up a cycle trail which ran alongside the A9. Finished the days walk at Dalnacardoch. Spent the night at The Poplars in Pitlochry
The proprietors, Janice and Gerry, are great supporters of Help for Heroes and provided Doug and Sue with free accommodation. Both Doug and Sue are astounded by the generosity of people like this. "We wouldn't be able to manage this walk without help like this and the help we also received in Brora and Golspie with free accommodation"
Friday Went from Dalnacardoch to Trinafour over a very hairy road (in Sue's opinion - not Dougs!) to Tummel Bridge with its Hydro Electric Station, finishing the day's walk at Coshieville.
Saturday was spent driving Sue to Edinburgh to catch a plane home for a weeks break. Phil Browne from Christow is kindly taking over the driving - he flies up as Sue flies down. Doug would like to thank the kind lady in Kenmoor who gave him £50 as a donation!!
The third week..... (April 25th)
Monday - Pretty uneventful - walked Kenmore to Crieff - staying on schedule
Tuesday. Good collection day in Crieff today. Made all the better by being given a free meal at No.24 Bistro in Crieff and made very welcome by Waitress Carron Copland - thanks Carron we really enjoyed that meal!
Wednesday RSM Derek Roy and two Sappers walked with Doug today. While collecting in Asda, were treated to a meal by the Cafe staff. Once again overwhelmed by the kindness of people we've met.
Thursday Bang on schedule - met a grandmother on way who has a grandson (a sapper like me) who served in Afghanistan
Friday Had a very pleasant two days and two nights in Falkirk, kindly hosted by the Lord Provost. We were very well received and well treated by the Council. Many thanks to the Lord Provost and Councillor Bob Spears, who also helped with the very successfully collection on Friday when we raised the fantastic sum of £750. We cannot thank them enough for the wonderful support we got.
The fourth week........ (May 2nd)
At border now between Scotland and England. Had a good day collecting in Carlisle. Whilst standing in the shopping centre with a member of the Rotary Club, a young soldier jumped to his feet and came running over. He had returned from action in Afghanistan and came home via Headley Court (the military rehabilitation centre). So good to see who this money is helping!
Our story is getting out - my walk raised a mention on local radio station!
Would like to thank the Thistles Centre for giving us permission to collect. This played no small part in boosting our collection - in excess of £800. Best wishes to all and much success with your own Charity collections.
Thursday 5th May. Today I leave Scotland with mixed feelings. I am pleased to have achieved the first part of the walk successfully, but sad to be leaving because we were made so welcome and the generosity of so many people was very heartwarming.
A big thank you to Scotland! We have raised over £4,000 on the road - pointing once again to the generosity of the Scottish people both in spirit and their ability to dip their hands into their pockets!
Am now looking forward to the next part of the challenge. It's good to be back in England and we await with interest to see if the English are as generous as the Scots.
Come on England rise to the Challenge!.......
The fifth week..... (May 9th)
After a few days unable to communicate with either email or phone, finally back in touch.
Monday saw us in the Peak District - walked up from Garsdale Head which was the steepest climb to date. Fantastic scenery, lots of viaducts - of all the places so far this is our favourite, Ribbleshead in particular. Got caught in a hail storm and Doug indulged in some bottom skiing !!!!!!!! More on that later!
Tuesday - Bang on schedule we arrive in Settle expecting quite an easy day - only walking eight miles and relaxing in Settle for Market Day.
Thursday - Have reached Mount Tabor, next stop Holmfirth. Had a BBQ at Tudor House, Bel Busk, where we met many Settle and Skipton Rotary members who swelled the coffers. Contributions on the night were over £200, meaning that two days in Settle/Skipton Area raised in excess of £820, making the total raised so far, off line, to over £6,000.
Friday Arrived in Holmfirth, home of Last of the Summer Wine. The house where we were being hosted, once again by a Rotary member, had been featured in an episode of the programme.
Saturday saw us collecting in Huddersfield, once again helped by Rotary members and helped by the Cadets as well. We had generous donations from Huddersfield Pennine Rotary Club and Huddersfield Rotary Club. We made cash collections from the very generous people of the town of £1,300. The best to date in one collection. Thank you Huddersfield, we hope to come back to your beautiful City sometime.
Sunday: Sue went back to Devon by train, Doug had a rest day from walking. Had his evening meal in Compo's Cafe which was excellent.
We've now gone International - a class of school children in Hong Kong are following our progress on the web site. Will keep you up to date.
The sixth week....... (May 16th)
Doug's Diary for this week... (Sue back in Bridford this week)
Monday Taking over as driver whilst Sue is back home is Dave Bishop, a fellow Royal Engineer Junior Leader.
Walking to the Mast at Holm Moss. Seen off by a contingent of Huddersfield Veterans in full regalia, Doug was joined by 4 walkers from Holmfirth Rotary and Molly the dog! At the mast it was very windy and he was met by Liz Meherzi from Glossop Mountain Rescue and said goodbye to the Rotary. Liz kept him company for the rest of the day through Glossop finished walk at Hayfield.
Tuesday. Met by Liz and collegue Pete Stewart who used extensive local knowledge to take Doug the best route thru Chapel-en-le-Frith to Buxton, where they collected in Morrisons and raised £187.90. Doug finished walk at Parsley Hay last part on dedicated walking track called Tissington Trail, made from disused quarry narrow guage railway.
Wednesday Parsley Hay - Doug on his own carried on walking the Tissington Trail taking him to the middle of Ashbourne, then on minor roads, a slight hiatus (cock up!!) at first but then Dougs's sense of direction triumphed - Wyaston was found as planned for south of Boylestone.
Friday is the 11 Squadron weekend reunium. Doug will be spending Thursday night with his eldest brother, John, in Burton on Trent.
Saturday - we have a planned collection day in the City of Coventry
Sunday - Spending the day going to a Dragon Boat Race in Warwick
The seventh week....... (May 23rd)
Sunday: Walked to Leamington Spa, stayed with Paul and Janet Reynolds, again made very welcome, we had dinner with their friends Audrey and Michael, who do a lot of fundraising for H4H by way of coffee mornings and a Christmas mince pie and drinks evening, their granddaughter makes biscuits for sale too.
Monday invited to Stratford Rotary Club lunch by David Stephenson, thank you all, a fantastic amount of £156 was collected. Met the new Mayor, had a photo shoot. Doug walked on the Greenway from Stratford a walkers route.
Tuesday: Collecting in Stratford-on-Avon, stayed at Temple Grafton with a Rotary member, looked after us really well, thanks David and Alison, shame about the toast!! lovely meal at the Cross Hands Pub, thanks for making us very welcome, we came away with £36 collected. Bishops Tachbrook - met up with Sue's cousin who she had not seen for four years and had a wonderful lunch. Doug had a deer jump out of a hedge in front of him! Finished day in Mickleton - looked after by their daughter Debs in-laws[
The eighth week........ (May 30th)
Out of contact by email and relying only on text messages - diary pretty short this week!
Stratford to Prestbury passing through lovely Coltswold villages. Spied Pete Waterman going to the railway station! - didn't talent spot Doug for the X Factor! Still staying with son-in-laws parents - thanks a lot Tony and June.
Saturday Our son-in-law Trevor and grandchildren Ellie, Kiana and Oscar together with Dave Yeo helped us collect in Bristol - where we raised £500 - thanks a lot!
Sunday Stayed in Wickwar thanks to Anne Free who put us up again. .
Tuesday Ended today at Radstock, staying at the Dog Inn in Old Sodbury. Yesterday went to Tetbury and had lunch with Joe and Grace Nash. Joe had very kindly contacted all the Rotary Clubs on our route down - without their help we would have struggled at times.
Met Chris Fairhead, District Governor of Gloucestershire Rotary, together with members of the Chipping Sodbury rotarians who had arranged bed and breakfast for us. Rained most of the day.
Wednesday Braved the rain to collect in Shepton Mallet today. Finished day at Wraxall - skirting Worthy Farm (Glasonbury). No time to stop but even Doug would never had been able to scale such high fencing! (A few days previously Doug had to climb over a pretty high gate and got caught up in his shorts - pity we have no pictures! Stayed with Paul and Liz Treby - thanks for the lovely meal at the local pub!
Thursday - Today on to Somerton (lovely Somerset village) and beyond. Will be giving a talk at local Somerton and Langport Rotary club. Stayed with Clive of Somerton and Langport Rotary Club - Thanks a lot.
Friday Reached Devon border at Bishopswood. Went along Langport and Westport Canal today.
Saturday - Bishopswood to Broadhembury. Coming home for weekend.
The ninth week...... (June 6th)
Wednesday - Broke off from walk to return home for Charity Auction. Stopped off at Dunsford School to meet pupils and have our photo taken
Thursday. Stayed in Tavistock - thanks to Trevor and Liz Williams. Reached Gunnislake Station. Arrived at Cornish border at around 4.00 pm
Friday Travelling through Callington and Liskeard - would you believe its hailing!
The tenth week.... (June 13th)
Sunday saw us returning to Tony and Liz Pipers in Liskeard, coming back across Dartmoor it was shrouded in mist raining cats and dogs. Met quite a few cyclists - could they have been making their way to John O'Groats?
Monday We said goodbye to Tony and Liz who had hosted us for two nights. Thanks very much! Doug started at Middle Taphouse, weather not too good. Stopped in Lostwithial for a coffee break in The Duchy of Cornwall Tea shop - lovely cheese scones Charles!! Passed through St. Austell at lunch time and finished the day at Grampound. Our hosts on Monday were Evette and Mike Flux of St. Austell Bay Rotary Club. We were invited to their Ladies Night for dinner. Doug told them about the walk and The Club presented him with a cheque for £350 - brilliant! Thanks to Evette and Mike and members of the Rotary.
Tuesday - Day dawned with an interview at 6.08 am!!! on Radio Cornwall. Four Royal Engineers from Barnstable met us outside Truro and two sappers walked into the Town with Doug. They stayed with us all day collecting and we raised the princely sum of £1,247. Thanks Lee, Christian, Nick and Bobbie - your help was very much appreciated. Tuesday evening saw us at the home of Steven and Sally Horne. Steven is from Truro Rotary Club. We had a really good evening - thanks very much Steven and Sally.
Wednesday - Started in Truro walking past Steven and Sallys in Greenbottom. Walked through St. Day. The Landlord Mark Graham of The Star Inn at Vogue St. Day treated us to our meal. Thanks very much. Finished the day at Praze-on-Beedle. We stayed at Kerris Farm - make very welcome at this lovely B and B by Sue and Geoffrey Giles - highly recommended. Fellow guests gave us a very generous donation - Thanks!
Thursday - Weather OK - went through Penzance - quite a bustling town. Ended day at Catchell - back to B and B for the night.
Friday - Woke up in the rain - started in rain finished in rain. Last leg of journey. Met by two Royal Engineers at Cashell who walked to Lands End with Doug. Mike, our son, Sam Newman, a friend, also walked the last leg.
We were met at Lands End by Jo (our daughter) and family, Mary and David Howell, Mike and June Piggott, Wendy and Tony Eatherington and Tony and Edna Blight with their daughter Angela.
Champage bottles popped, glasses were filled and Photos taken. A big thank you to everyone for turning out on such a miserable day, weatherwise.
Many thanks to all of you who turned out and joined us for a celebratory lunch at The Star Inn at St. Day. A great ending to Doug's latest adventure!