Update from Rachel
Day 34…An early train to Weymouth and then out onto the coast path. Although the day was lovely, there was still a cool breeze, and I had forgotten how much rain we had had. I had a very squelchy walk along the bottom of the White Horse Hill in Sutton Poyntz/Osmington which meant by a third of the way through my feet were saturated. However, the path up and over the hill was well worth the while, and the descent meant that I could call in at The Ranch again to thank them for helping fundraise when I was in Poundbury, Dorchester.
There was a mist which almost completely enveloped Portland and the causeway, bringing back childhood memories when we could not get across to the island from Wyke Regis. It also reminded me of the fog horn from The Bill which would sound on full foggy days, hearing it for seemingly miles away, and the number of times that all cars going off the island would be stopped and boots searched when a prisoner from The Verne had escaped. Happy days!
Day 35…Another early train to Frome followed by a hilly run with a stop to visit the Rotary members running the Frome shop. The shop has to close within a month as the landlords have found paying tenants, and so there is a huge sale of goods…do visit and support this amazing venture as it has raised an extraordinary amount of funds over the years.
I also met up with Radek again, the chap with additional needs who has been supporting my challenge from the start. He ensured that he met me at the end of the day, and escorted me to the station. He also had had a sale of goods in the town, raising £20, and he gave me all the new goods that he had been given by Asda in the town. These goods all still have labels on and should raise a further £50-100 at the next sale in Sherborne.
Day 36…An early start with a train ride to Bath. I was very much looking forwards to meeting members of Bath Rotary Club and the Mayor of Bath in the Mayor’s Parlour halfway through the day. The sun shone, the run was amazing taking in all the sites, and the canal path was particularly fun.
The T-shirt is now attracting a lot of attention! A cyclist along the tow path called out as he past me “Keep going, you’re doing really well!”, followed by “I now have seen someone more nuts than me!” Possibly a Rotary member or just a member of the public who had heard of the challenge? It goes to show that by getting out into busy places with the Rotary Foundation/International shirt on, people are curious. I have been asked many times about what the challenge is, and when I have returned, my treasurer has asked me if I know names that have added small amounts to the GoFundMe. Very rarely have I recognized names, but they have coincided with the days that I have spoken to random members of the public. Every £5 added has ensured through the GoFundMe alone, over £900 has been reached. Please keep spreading the word!
We had a lovely hour with the Mayor…what an interesting history is in the Parlour! The Mayor not only gave us a short talk about the items in the room and what the Mayoral role is in Bath [over 800 community events are attended each year!!!], but he was also incredibly interested in my challenge and what Hidden Needs Trust is all about. He is a larger than life character, full of fun and enthusiasm, with a great wish to support the local community in whatever way is required. A cheque handover was made £150…and so huge thank you Bath Rotary Club!
Day 37…A change of route today so that could call in on my sister with cancer. A hot and sunny day running over the hills to West Coker, stating at Hardington Mandeville. Not many people out and about today, but once home I totaled up the mileage…998.10 miles which averages out at 26.9 miles per day. On target for the 46 marathons in 46 days, and so I am happy.
Day 38…Another hard West Dorset coastal run which incorporated Colmers Hill, Thorncombe Beacon, and Golden Cap…the highest coastal point in Dorset…ending at West Bay to a tremendous welcome from Bridport Rotary Club. Today was a particularly good day as many people were out in the sunshine and again the t-shirt attracted much interest. One cyclist I past at a field gate said “I keep seeing you everywhere!” which made him question what I was doing.
Bridport Rotary Club were fantastic…bucket runs on the promenade, a finishing tape for me to run through, and then much needed tea at the end. Thank you all so much!
Day 39…Anoher early trip to Trowbridge on the train, complete with night bag as I was staying with parents of one of Trowbridge Rotary Club members at their B and B. I was collected from the station, quickly dropped my bags, and then was off on the canal tow path towards Bradford on Avon, Avoncliff, and Bath. The tow paths were full of walkers, cyclists and families enjoying picnics, the canal boats in both directions busy with all enjoying the glorious weather.
At Avoncliff I bumped into two Rotarians from the North of England, and so for 10 minutes or so we put the world to rights and exchanged ideas on what works/does not work for our clubs. Sadly, their club is dissolving after many years of being extremely proactive due to lack of younger members. It goes to show how important membership drives are!
As I ran later on the tow path I suddenly heard a horn blasting from in front of me…the two Rotarians were on a narrow boat making their way towards Bath! If I had known that they were on the water I may have been cheeky and asked for a lift…I have not been on a narrowboat for many years! It would have been a fun diversion for an hour, just making my day a bit longer finishing off my running miles!
Another fun meetup was with a group of chaps who were on an RNAS Yeovilton narrow boat. I bumped into them three times, and of course then the questions of what I was up to…let us hope they spread the word.
In the evening I decided to take a short diversion off the tow path to explore Trowbridge and to grab something to take back to the B and B for supper. I then returned to the tow path only to miss the bridge that I needed to take, ending up several miles down which added a few miles to the day. Needless to say I slept exceptionally well that night!
Day 40…I was up and breakfasted by 9am and off, again on the toll path towards Devizes and ending up in Lacock. The wildlife is stunning, full of cygnets, goslings, ducklings, and bird song from the rushes and hedges. Everyone on the narrow boats are always smiling and friendly, willing to help with directions or queries that I had.
Having reached Devizes I stopped for a drink and snack, and then decided to run through the villages to Lacock…a long haul but off the main roads, or so I thought! I got spectacularly lost as nothing seemed to be signposted. The roads were full of lorries, cars speeding, little or no pavements and twisting turns meaning running would be just too dangerous. For 3 and ¾ hours of speed walking I tried to find a better way to Lacock, but my sat nav on my mobile cut out [apparently there is little signal in the area at the best of times!], and so I admit I started to panic a bit as I was nearing finishing another marathon in terms of mileage and tired. However, I did come across a farm shop on a junction to a busy A road and called in for some advice. The lady running the shop was with a local lady, and both said that there was no way to Lacock avoiding the dangerous roads. Very kindly, I was offered a lift to the road that would take me safely through Bowden Hill [beautiful views] and on to Lacock which was a complete relief. Thank you Amanda! Tracker off for that 10 minute drive, and then on again as I went off on the final 5 miles. The road was indeed a death trap with lorries going through the narrowest of village roads with a speed limit of 50mph.
Amanda and I chatted about the challenge and she was returning home to get onto the website and to share it with others who may benefit from Hidden Needs Trust in some way.
The last 5 miles seemed to take an age but I ended up in Lacock with over an hour to spare before meeting Stuart Gilbert, our DG Elect who is taking on the role for 2 years…much more sense than just for 1 year in my thoughts. So, time to take in the village, the history, the architecture, and to buy the essential fridge magnets for the children before having tea and talking all things Rotary. Thank you Stuart for your kind support, and of course lovely to meet Louis the dog!
For those of you who would like to stay in the Trowbridge/Bradford on Avon/Devizes/Chippenham/Lacock areas, where I was kindly put up would be an idyllic location as the tow path is a short walk away and all the towns only a short drive away. Sylvia and her husband are so welcoming, the rooms are all spotless, and they offer a good range of breakfast options.
Paxcroft Cottages B and B
Next time I send an update I will have finished my challenge…the days have past so quickly!
President and Secretary of The Rotary Club of Sherborne Castles
Founder, Chair of Trustees, and Sole Fundraiser of Hidden Needs Trust
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