Monday, March 28, 2011

Jan's Big Walk

I have added a link to another walk blog. You will find the link to "My Great Adventure" on the left hand side of this page, but here is the address so you can go directly to it.

Jan recently turned 50 and discovered walking. She took on one challenge, demolished it, turned to a far bigger one, and is due to start that on 4th April. The fact that she calls me a guru is not the only reason why I am encouraging her and will be following her with interest as she attacks the 600-mile South West Coastal Path Walk (in the UK). Her story is inspiring.

In 2007 she found herself facing the future with no partner, young adult offspring still living at home, and a home that she liked but did not feel was her own. I get the impression that the future looked a little frightening and that, like many women and men in such a situation – starting out on a new life in her middle years - she doubted herself and her ability to cope.

Her experiences working with young people and the realisation that she was not too afraid to face new challenges (such as rock-climbing!) started to boost her confidence and encouraged her to face her fears.

She listed things she wanted to do as she passed 50 last year. One of these targets was to walk 50 miles to celebrate her birthday, although she had never done anything so strenuous before.

So on 4th April 2010 she set off to walk from Faversham to Folkestone following the Saxon Shore Path. The walking bug claimed a new victim – not only did she reach her target but decided to complete the 160 mile route. She did this later in the year.

While researching the Saxon Shore Walk she came upon details of the South West Coast Path Walk and decided this should be her next challenge. She will walk from Poole to Minehead, probably in instalments. She has lost her job in the South-East and had hoped to gain a new one in the South-West, which would have given her the ideal base for her challenge. However, that job has fallen through. As some have pointed out, there are not 600 miles between Poole and Minehead – if you drive – but Janet will be walking round the coast, which is extremely indented. The official website divides the walk into 53 one-day sections.

Janet says she weighs 17stone and is very unhealthy. She loves food and is a bit of a fair weather walker. Her map reading and orienteering has, up until this point, consisted of an OS walking book and good friends. She has never carried a rucksack and is a very slow walker.

She has considered doing the walk for a charity but as she is “not technically doing it all in one go and it is purely for me to discover and confirm the real ME I feel that any suggestions for sponsorship would be misleading and hard to prove/verify”. She adds “BUT if you enjoy reading my blog and want to follow it and think I should do it for a charity then feel free to put some coins into a collection box of your choice when thinking of me!”

Please add Janet’s blog address to your favourites and follow her progress, encourage her with comments to her blog, and applaud her as she steps out on another adventure in her new life.

The picture is from the official website for the South West Coastal Walk Path

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