So what did 2014 ever do for me?

The year 2014 of walking was better than I could have ever imagined. Not only did I achieve the Land’s End to John O’Groats walk, but I was sufficiently enthused to carry on regular distance walks and to take on another walking challenge for 2015. In fact, two – the Wight Challenge on 2-3 May and the much more sedate walk to Ventnor (which I promised to do if Sarisbury Athletic Cricket Club won promotion) which will be in July, now the fixtures have come out.

I haven’t calculated it but I must have walked well over 2,000 miles this year, including those statistics I now know only too well: 1,026 miles between 16 February and 29 April. Plenty of highlights there – eight months later the most abiding memories are the really tough day on West Highland Way (‘Loch and Roll’) and the torrential walk to Bath. But there were very few bad days – and enjoyed the visits from people who walked some of the distance with me – Pammy, Lorna and Paul (days 1 and 2 – Cornwall), Neil (day 14 – Somerset), Colin and Linda (day 23 – just south of Birmingham), Sheila (day 26 – South Derbyshire, about one mile of it!), Pammy (day 50 into Glasgow), Mark (day 52 – the first on West Highland Way) and Pammy and Dangerous Brian (days 72 and 73 – the very very north of Scotland). I will always be very grateful to my four Kentish friends who almost carried me through two and a bit days to Fort William and it was great to see friends I hadn’t seen for a while – Mik (lunch on day 26) and Critch (evening meal on day 31). Grumpy Matt also visited a couple of times. Also to the people who put me up for free – Monty and Sarah, Sandy, Carolyn and Graham, Joy and Dave, Sheila and Alan, Russell and Vicky, all superb hosts. Very very grateful for all that support and the phone calls with the ONS COOF meetings. Certainly the whole thing was a fantastic experience and still people want to talk to me about it!

Even more importantly, over £11 thousand was raised for SANDS from that walk and the ball has started rolling for the Wight Challenge. Not expecting such a lavish collection but if I can raise a bit, all the better. https://www.justgiving.com/Keith-Spicer2

I have heard others say they have been inspired to do their own things, and that is great. I was just as humbled by two people in hospital who said that my blog really lifted their spirits. 561 views on 29 April, the final day of the walk. Wow!

So a New Year is almost upon us. Wishing all of the regular and irregular readers of my blog a very fine 2015. Long day walks to come from me as the days get longer and lighter…….

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