On the 4th July my Dad, Mother in law and myself met Lisa at the start of the Sandstone Trail in Frodsham and departed to begin the challenge of completing the trail over 2 days. It was raining but still warm enough for us to display our HIP shirts.
Having studied the guide book I had purchased we were confident of the route and hopeful that the trail was well signed, we knew the route was to skirt around Frodsham golf course..... but still managed to cross the golf course on a public footpath and ended up getting lost roughly 2 miles into our adventure. 😊😊. Having worked out where we were and where we needed to be to rejoin the trail we had the small matter of a 3 mile detour to get back on track, a days walking that was planned to be 17 miles turned out to be nearer 20 miles.
About 4 miles into the route my Dad looked down at his left walking boot and thought he had something stuck to his boot and pulled it off, it turned out to be the entire sole of his walking boot. With another 14 miles to go it was suggested he call for another pair of boots to be dropped off for him to change into, Dad's response was "not to worry they're quite nice as the sponge base is comfortable ". Little did he know at the time the other sole would depart the same way some 4-5 miles later. So with no soles on his boots and rain on and off we carried on.
We reached the OS triangulation point at Raw Head and had lunch with some stunning views across the Cheshire plains and into North Wales, as this is the highest point on the trail " it's all downhill from here" and boy were there some downhills.
Some of the less walked sections of the trail are very narrow across crop fields and with the rain were very slippy indeed, In fact it was my Mother in law who was first to fall, having done her best Jane Torvill impression on the way down, thankfully she wasn't hurt, except her pride just a little. Second to fall was myself, skating like a deer on ice as I grabbed a fence post to get my balance, the post snapped and so I ended up in a big nettle bush with the fence on top of me. I am very grateful that the fence wasn't electrified as many of them are along the route. And who knew that nettles can sting through shorts and underwear, I certainly do now.
Due to our detour we managed to arrive at Beeston Castle at about 6 PM, nearly 2 hours behind our planned eta bit in surprisingly good spirits having covered 20 miles, ice skated and basically walked bare foot for the majority of the day.
Sunday started at 10AM and with a new pair of boots on my Dads feet we were off again. With the second day "flatter" we were again in high spirits.
As the route nears Whitchurch it becomes more farmland and towpaths, which sounds idyllic but this brings more worries for a Mother in law who doesn't like sheep, cows, horses, geese, when they are in a field you're walking through. I think the geese were her favourites by the way she was hopping around and couldn't stop looking at them, and they were trying to say something to her by hissing and squawking while chasing her through the farmyard.
We did finally make it into Whitchurch about 5PM on the Sunday to be met by our families and in truth all three of us shed a tear at finally completing the trail.
For me, personally, the trail was a reminder of how far I have come and how much I can achieve since my accident. Although the pain in my back was constant and quite severe I managed to carry on until the end, with the help of two of my family who have supported me massively through some tough times.
The whole purpose of the challenge was to raise donations for HIP and to also tell people about the charity and of the amazing work and support they give to members across Cheshire. The charity is very very close to my heart and I feel privileged to be able to do something to raise some funding for them. At the start of the challenge when the page was set up the target was set at £250, which I thought was way out of reach, I thought if I could raise a couple of hundred pounds for HIP I would be happy.
Having seen the total so far raise to £1250 is beyond anything I could have dreamed of.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article and here's to thinking up the next challenge, just not too soon as my back, feet and legs need to recover first.
If you would like to donate, you can until the 26th July at https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/13482