Alex, a very loyal supporter of West Berkshire Mencap, organised and took part in an amazing trek in aid of West Berkshire Mencap. We are so grateful to Alex for doing this and being so supportive of our work.
By giving up his very valuable time and doing this trek he raised for us over £500 of vital funds that will help us maintain and expand our high quality services for local people with learning disabilities, which is absolutely amazing!
We wanted to share Alex’s experience of his trek, so please find below his summary of his adventure!
As the day for the start of my trek from Plymouth to Dartmouth drew nearer, I knew I would need some company. So I decided to take a Regent Lettings Duck with me.
After having loaded my rucksack (17kgs) with all I needed, including tent and food; I left Thatcham Station at 7:14 on Thursday 25th July, bound for Plymouth.
I started from Plymouth Station at 10:40 and my first stop was at The Barbican to catch the Mount Batten Ferry. The South West Coast Path was joined and it wasn’t long before I was out on my own; seagulls wheeling and calling overhead.
The first day was quite a strong walk before arriving at my first camp site in Newton Ferris after crossing the Yealm on a small ferry. The campsite was very nice and I was welcomed by some of the other campers. Everyone asked about the ‘Regent Lettings’ duck. Some asked if he kept me sane and others if he was shouting encouragement. Well we didn’t argue so we must have got on ok.
Day 2 saw a blisteringly hot day with clear blue sky and a temperature, in the afternoon, of 33 degrees. This was a real slog and the cool sea breeze was very welcome. For those who know Beacon Hill… there were about 4 similar climbs on this section of the path. Also I had to cross the River Erme at low tide. The duck proved very popular with the people I met, some kids asked if the duck was going to carry me across – I wish.
The water was well above my knees as we crossed about half an hour before the recommended time to cross. There were people in their swim suits wading across so I knew it would be safe.
Day 3 saw a leisurely start as I needed to cross the Avon River and needed a ferry. The ferryman had a dog that looked like a wolf – he had a sniff of me and my rucksack; nope you can’t eat it! This was the longest day in terms of distance and hills. A hard section which was accomplished after 8 hours walking. I was very ready for a rest, but the campsite was about 1.5 miles up a road. I was so glad to find my pitch and set up my tent after walking the last 2 hours in the intermittent rain.
Day 4 was hard with rough craggy terrain and slippery slopes. It poured with rain about 3 times and I got wet feet, which led to a blister on my little toe – ouch! I needed a break and found a brilliant pub where I had the best Steak and chips ever; followed by a sticky toffee pudding – Needed that! The campsite was over a mile away up hill away from the path and I was lucky to meet a local farmer who gave me a lift for the last 3Ž4 of a mile.
A good night’s rest and an early start saw the beginning of my last day – soon to be in Dartmouth. This was also a strenuous trek with rain and wind that made it even harder.
I finally arrived in Dartmouth at 13:50, 10 minutes inside my 14:00 target time; where I was greeted by my family – so good to see them.
This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done – glad I did it though. Day 1 Plymouth to Newton Ferris, Day 2 Newton Ferris to Bigbury, Day 3 Bigbury to Salcombe, Day 4 Salcombe to Torcross, Day 5 Torcross to Dartmouth. Then a little stroll around the Eden Project on Day 6.
With the last pledge for £65 (£1 for every mile I walked) from a good friend, I will be over my £500 target to donate to West Berkshire Mencap (WBM).
A last thought… even though I was tired and had blisters, I was soon feeling ok and my feet are now almost back to normal. This is not the case for the clients and families that WBM looks after – they have a life sentence – 24/7, so I will never dare to moan about my life!