John’s Walk for Freedom

This journey started last year (2018), when we were in Scotland with our daughter Zoe, who had just started working for IJM UK. We were in an outdoor shop on a wet day, John picked up a book on walking from Land’s End to John O Groats and said ‘maybe I’ll do that next year when I’m 60’… Zoe then pipes up ‘you could raise money for IJM while you walk’… so started the plan!

We have been challenged weekly by the stories of success and pain that Zoe shares with us, so looked carefully into all IJM do and find they are so successful in helping people escape the bondage of modern day slavery. We also have a child-free house for the first time in 25 years so are ready for an adventure.

So here goes, 2+ months in a friend’s camper van, 1,000 miles and supporters all up the British Isles to meet up with, tell the story to, walk with, eat with, borrow a bed for the night and rekindle friendships (and make new ones) we have neglected while working probably too hard for a long time.

Please join us, either physically or virtually and help us to help lots of others walk in freedom – Thank you!

Just Ride finishes… ready for LEJOG!

Apologies for the lack of communication for a few days. I expected to have plenty of time to put pen to paper, have an extended quiet time undisturbed as I fed and watered 9 cyclists a couple of times a day…that didn’t happen! 40-60mph winds delayed the ferry for a day and made cycling a wild adventure with a strong element of danger. Our time schedule was very tight… the cyclists went at different speeds and the first time I stopped to assist 2 cyclists to repair a puncture, the drivers door was wrenched out of my hand by the wind, damaging the hinges…so I had to use the passenger door from then on.

Stunning scenery

The Hebridean locals were very helpful and generous…several people donated money in cafes, at events and on the ferries. The team of cyclists worked more and more as a team and managed to complete the Hebridean adventure of 185 miles in 2 ½ days! On one day 4 members of the team managed to complete 85 miles in just 6 hours.

Anderson team looking excited!

Our accommodation in hostels was very welcome before another challenging day on Monday. Navigated by the cyclists at times in torrential rain, particularly on the steepest climb. We needed to be at a cycle shop/café by 19:30 to have our celebration gathering with several of the local supporters of IJM and their friends and families. Zoe hosted the event very well and spoke of some of the amazing rescues that IJM have been a part of recently.  She announced that £15,000 had now been reached by the sponsored cyclists…funding 3 entire rescues (their original target was £10,000!).

Tuesday morning involved 10 cyclists (Zoe cycled part of the way!) completing the final 37 miles to the Butt of Lewis. What joy for everyone when they reached the finish! The sun shone and the scenery was magnificent. There are very sore muscles, aching knees but a real sense of achievement. Friendships have been built for life and another significant step has been made to make slavery a thing of the past for precious lives. Well done everyone involved!

They did it… 185 miles of the Hebridean Way, here seen at the Butt of Lewis

We took the ferry from Stornoway to Ullapool and reached Edinburgh at 23:00…exhausted and ready for bed.

Tomorrow (after Zoe talks about IJM to University students in Edinburgh) we fly to Bristol and on Friday morning the walk begins! I am a little apprehensive, but ready for the next adventure!

God delights to answer prayer

I am currently on Barra, an island in the Outer Hebrides, with the IJM cycling team of 9 tackling the Hebridean Way- Just Ride ’19. Ferries are cancelled today because of high winds, so if the weather permits the team are going to get extra miles under their belts today, because tomorrows day on Uist is going to be very short.

Just Ride 2019 team

Zoe (my daughter) has managed to rearrange accommodation and catering arrangements, all with limited WiFi! Sponsorship now up to £12,433.75 including Gift Aid. Thank you SO much.

Last night the Just Ride team learned from Zoe of a new successful rescue operation, that has occurred in the last week! Your giving is impacting lives and giving people freedom. This time next week the walk will have started – bring it on, but maybe not wanting too many days with 40-50mph winds!

Tackling the Barra winds…
Note from the Editor… don’t feel too sorry for them!

They are off!

Checking in this morning, ready for the adventure!

John and Kate have left the Isle of Man this morning all fired up for this 2 month adventure. John will be supporting ‘Just Ride’, the IJM charity cycle along the Hebridean Way, which Zoe (eldest daughter) is organising and Kate (middle daughter) is cycling in. He then moves swiftly to Land’s End and starts walking….

Trainers walked in, fluorescent tops packed, compression leggings ready, route sorted, friends to stay with, amazing sponsorship (now able to fund 2 rescues), Farm covered, John is ready and raring to get started. Do follow our progress and come for a cuppa if we are near you.

Countdown is on…

The countdown is on… John leaves the Island on 11th September to support Zoe as she organises a 185 mile cycle ride on the Hebridean way which daughter Kate and friends Elspeth and Dick are cycling in, then on 20th September he gets to Land’s End to start walking each day!

We had a great auction on John’s 60th birthday last week and there are now several items still being auctioned – Sue will tell you more about this later.

Photography lesson from Paul Marriott (Paul Marriott Photography)so blog posts should be improving each day. Great practice walk with Paul, up the west coast of the Island as the last one before walking 1,000 miles!

Heading north over Peel Hill
Looking back towards Peel
On the old Ramsey railway line near Devil’s Elbow