Friday 1st July 2011
It had always been my intention to celebrate my 75th birthday with a 75 mile walk. Late in 2009 this ambition was severely dented when I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. However, due to the highly skilled and dedicated team led by Professor Kingsnorth at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, the tumour was removed and after 18 months gradual recovery I was able to complete the 75 mile walk from Bath to Reading on the Kennet and Avon canal towpath in late July 2011. I was accompanied by my long standing walking companion John (Spike) Thorne and we had a superb back up team in Malcolm and Liz Peters who did the trip as part of their holiday on their narrow boat “Water Lily” and we met up with them at each nights mooring for a very convenient floating B&B.
Unfortunately Malcolm had this terrible habit of selecting a mooring adjacent to some of the wonderful pubs which proliferate along the K&A, we felt it only polite to make use of these establishments each evening.Because of the need to meet up with the boat each evening our walking distances per day varied with the number of locks and swing bridges for Water Lily to negotiate each day.
Although we did put two 16 mile days in the average was nearer 10 per day and on one day only walked 4 miles . (Although we did work some 31 locks to get the boat to ascend Caen Hill at Devizes.) Walking is easier! We enjoyed a week of superb weather and much enjoyed the splendid scenery as the waterway wended it’s way through Wiltshire and Berkshire.
During one of my post op check ups with Professor Kingsnorth I floated the idea of a sponsored walk as thanks for his and his teams wonderful work. He pointed me at Operation Hernia web site and I was immediately committed to helping this wonderful work. I am proud (and very humbled) by the henerous support of my friends and family which has raised in excess of £3000 for the charity. It has also raised awareness among those contacts.