Day 4 – Minions

Monday 23rd September

Bodmin to Bray Shop: 24 miles, 3,081 ft ascent, 6.5 hours, 45,000 steps, 3,068 calories burnt…

We didn’t need to use the accommodation advertised as we entered Bodmin…

…as we had a very comfortable stay with out host Nadia. Zoe was able to enjoy a lie in as I headed straight from the B&B at 8am – negotiated a tricky busy roundabout before tacking the Cornish Country lanes again.

Using the laminated cycle path guide cards I noticed a common thread of words reoccurring…’climbs up’, ‘becoming steeper’, ‘dropping steeply’, ‘climbs steeply’, ‘climbs very steeply’…Jogging downhill became more frequent.

Met several wild ponies on Bodmin Moor.

Heavy rain after 3 hours, which found me very exposed on Bodmin Moor…the sheep took shelter and I followed suit when reaching Minions Tea Room…

1st Cornish pasty as we waited inside for 2 hours whilst the heavy rain fell and strong winds blew!

Was making good progress on part 2 of the day…until I took a wrong turn…

3 extra miles, so another day of over 6 hours walking and managed to get the steps up to 45,000…

At least I managed to find the biggest marshmallows in the world!

Drove to University friends, Mike and Jane for a wonderful reunion after 40 years!

Looking forward to spending the next few nights catching up!

Thankful today after hearing an IJM rescue story from Zoe. Last week the team were able to rescue 44 boys and 32 young men who had all been trafficked 1,000 miles to a jewellery factory. They were monitored in the factories day and night as they made hundreds of pieces of gold jewellery – often handling harsh chemicals and breathing metal dust without protection. Apparently, upon being told they were going home the boys danced, excitedly packed their belongings and hugged IJM’s staff with joy. They are now resettling home, with the IJM team following up on their aftercare needs.

That one rescue brought freedom to 76 people – this is what it is all about! Thank you so much to all those who have contributed so generously to my Fundraising Page and goal of raising enough to fund 3 rescue operations – we are so close, at £13,306.25 (inc GA) so far! I cannot wait to hear the stories of rescue and freedom to follow!

Day 3 – Goodbye to the Beaches

Sunday 22nd September

Perranporth to Bodmin: 26 miles, 2,937 ft ascent, 7.5 hours, 3,547 calories burnt, 51,316 steps…

Another full day walking, scenery very different – high hedges and narrow country lanes, not a beach or cliff in sight.

Sadly I will be nearing John O’Groats before there is sand between my toes again!

Nice cabbages though…

The diet as I walk, of water, crisps, apples and the odd bar of chocolate ticks the box…but might be a bit tedious after 8 weeks! Still to taste Cornish ice cream of Cornish pasties…so need to do that before leaving the country!

Had picnic in Churchyard in St Columb Major with Zoe before an afternoon of wet walking. Lovely to hear the sound of worship coming from inside the church. Reminded me that today marks International Justice Mission’s (IJM) Freedom Sunday – globally, 14,000+ churches are uniting to give a voice to the millions of people held in slavery and rally the Church to the fight to end slavery in our lifetime. What a privilege to be part of such a movement.

The highlight for the muscles was sitting in a river at the end for 10 minutes. If a cold bath is not available then this is a good alternative…following instructions from Nurse Shimmin!!

Zoe testing the temperature…

Ready for a good nights sleep and an early start before heavy rain is due in the afternoon! Excited to spend tomorrow night staying with 2 University friends…who I haven’t seen for over 30 years!

Day 2 – First and Last

Saturday 21st September

Hayle to Perranporth: 25 miles, 3461ft ascent, 8 hrs.

Learned this morning that not only have we eaten at the first and last pub in England…but our Air B&B host was the first and last transport manager in England…!!

Well signposted South West coastline path all day…so no traffic problems. Sand dunes for an hour…including an invitation to participate in Gwithian Beach Club aerobics routine!

Thought I could maybe do without an exercise class…

Then beautiful, steep cliffs and caves…surfing country and a bay full of seals!

See if you can spot the seals!

A lunch-break at Portreath, where blisters were treated by Zoe, before passing a large M.O.D out of bounds area…they obviously didn’t want anyone stealing their cabbages!!

Rain for 2 hours before meeting Zoe for last 2 miles to Perranporth .

Good news is that we now have a camper van for October and November – hallelujah!

Name suggestions being taken…

That’s the end of the coast for me…roads tomorrow!

Day 1: The Walking Begins…

Friday 20th September 2019

Well day 1 is over…so much seemed to happen in just a few hours…

A wee message to start…

The view was too tempting so I decided to walk the first 10 miles on the South West Coast footpath – beautiful scenery, friendly people and too many stops for photos!

The range of expletives that followed my saying where I was walking suggested to me that not many people travel LEJOG by foot…although for those who can remember that far back…the cricketer Ian Botham did it twice – in 1985 and 1999!

Met Zoe in the beautiful village of Zennor for our first cream tea lunch, then carried on and was picked up at Hayle, where I will start from again tomorrow.

I definitely overdid it for the first day…26 miles and over 3,000 ft of ascent equates to a marathon and a Munro (a Scottish mountain) and approximately 9 hours of walking.

Definitely need to find quieter roads tomorrow…hopefully all ‘B’ roads or the coastal footpath to Perranporth. Today the strong wind was from the East…not helpful!

Finished the day with a swim in the sea with Zoe, which was invigorating and just what the body needed! I will sleep well tonight!

Friends we need your help!

Whilst Zoe supports me this first week, we are hosteling, but from then Fiona was meant to be joining me in a camper van. Sadly, we found out today that the lovely camper van friends have very kindly lent us is not suitable to take for such a long journey, so we are very stuck.

It’s a big ask, but do you know anyone with a camper van in good condition (able to drive 2,000 miles safely) that would be willing to lend it to us for two months from next weekend, ?

It is a big adventure for us, but it is more than that. We are already raising the profile of modern day slavery as well as raising money to fund as many rescues as possible.

If you do know of one then please comment below or call Fiona on 07624 475330. It could be on the Isle of Man, or somewhere she could pick it up from in the UK.

Thank you so much! More body, route and scenery updates to follow tomorrow…

I will update this weekly so you can keep track of where I am!

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

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!