Monday, 19 June 2023, Julie Barratt, CIEH President
It's June, so we are nearly halfway through the Best of British President's Challenge. Nearly six months in and eight participants have finished, with a couple more within throwing a walking boot distance of the finishing line.
750 miles sounds a lot, but it turns out to be not as far or as daunting as it sounds, especially if you have the advantage of being dragged out on a daily basis by dogs that demand a walk or children who have to walk to school. For those who haven't joined yet or those who have done it once and are wondering what to do with themselves since they have finished, there is still time to join – visit the Best of British webpage to get involved. The closing date is 30 June, but if you start walking/running/cycling now you can back-date your miles.
As I said we are halfway through the challenge, and the first of the walking weekends has come and gone. Despite portentous weather warnings we remained dry for the whole weekend in Hay‑on‑Wye and had a great time. The main walk on Saturday, about 10 miles, varied from the planned route a little in part due to some very protective cows with calves and an absolutely huge bull which then caused us to beat a hasty retreat with our tails between our legs and do some on the spot route variation. Saturday was also International Gin Day, though I should make it clear that Tess Blewchamp hadn't partaken when she slipped and sprained her ankle and had to leave in a taxi, ending up in Hereford A&E, bandaged but not plastered. We also discovered on Saturday that Hay‑on‑Wye has an excellent ice cream parlour where we did our best between us to try all the flavours and Stuart White got many demerits for drinking a vanilla oat milkshake which he took in good part, that Simon Clark is BBQ chef par excellence and marshmallows catch fire very easily indeed but are an excellent local source of heat.
Sunday was less about walking and more about slow wandering, browsing the many book shops of Hay‑on‑Wye and having an excellent pub lunch. It was a good weekend, it was great to catch up with everyone again, do a bit of walking, talking and convivial eating and drinking. Here's to the next one...
And on the subject of the next one, it's now in the diary. It’s the weekend of 9-10 September and we are using the Stonehenge Camping and Glamping site as our base. It will be the tried and tested format – a longer walk of about 8-10 miles (livestock permitting) on Saturday, BBQ on site on Saturday evening and a shorter walk on Sunday morning followed by a pub lunch. There is an open invitation to join – you don't need to be doing the challenge, just come. Come for one day or both, just let me know to expect you so that I can send you the details you need. Well-behaved dogs are welcome to join Loki and Pepper (my God-dog) for walking, patting, fussing and a few sneaky biscuits.
Finally, for those of you who are members of the Facebook group don't forget to enter the final photo competition. The theme is 'Wild & Wonderful', you can enter up to three photos, with no commentary to them just your name and the number of the photo. Details of the four prizes are on the Facebook page. Some really lovely photos have already been posted; the competition closes on August 6 so there’s still time to get involved.
Even if none of that appeals to you, you can still help. All of this is not just about having a good time however it may appear, it's about supporting the removal of plastic from the oceans. If your preference is for armchair support you could make a donation to support us. Go to the Just Giving page to donate.
Join us on the virtual challenge. Join us for the weekend. Support us by sponsoring us. You're welcome to do all or any of them. Thanks very much.
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