Just Around the Corner

Covesea The Moray WayAnd we’re off. Garmouth to Covesea and we opted for a car at each end. I start to think about the bits of the Moray Coast Trail I have completed and realise – I have only got as far as Spey Bay. I did walk to Spey Bay from Fochabers (and back) last spring. I had only just begun my training. It was an unseasonably hot evening and a relatively short time window. The result was a very sore back from a new airflow frame daysack and a pace which resulted in my boots giving me Continue reading

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So What Happens Now?

Which Way NextThis Easter sees me finally handover my fundraising to two charities. I will have raised in excess of £4000 including Gift Aid, with over £2500 going to Moray Women’sAid and the rest to WaterAid. After a year of walking well over a million boot steps, that is over 500 miles, and taking myself well out of my comfort zone by agreeing to walk some of those steps in the Sahara, that challenge is done! Continue reading

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Sahara: Epi(b)logue

Sitting here with my head against the window, music playing through my ear “buds” I feel a sense of something I can’t explain. I knew even before the first step in the Sahara, today would be a deeply emotional one for me. The moment I stepped from the car nearly a week ago and saw Pauline with her fabulous pink hat I knew this was going to be a memorable week. On many levels. The excitement in the car on the way to the airport was more than you could imagine anyone feeling, especially at 4:45am in the morning.  Poor Mr Smith must have thought he’d picked up a school trip by accident.

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Sahara: The Final Steps..

Sahara BootsWow! Well that’s a birthday Claire won’t forget in a hurry. Our lovely Claire was 40 yesterday. 18 miles she had walked over stones and boulders – with her dodgy knees 😉 And then we and the camp had a surprise for her at dinner. Elaine was charged with keeping her occupied while the camp boys dressed the mess tent with balloons, banners and fairy lights. They had even baked a cake and brought a bottle of wine for the occasion. We had all (thankfully) eaten and were just settling into a glass of red to celebrate with a piece of cake when suddenly Bang! The whole mess tent shifts with the wind. Bang! a corner leg is down. “Tent down”. Bang! There goes another. There followed much activity as folk held onto the central pole, held up the sides while Ahmed, Ibrahim “Brian”, Dawoud “David” ran around the outside trying to re-erect poles and make it safe again. We knew the wind had got up, but not to this extent. We had arrived in camp to find them re siting the toilet tent to a more sheltered location. You would need your boots and torch and a ball of string to find it (and your way back) to the tent tonight. I say “toilet tent”. Imagine a plastic pedal bin (it wasn’t but I mistook it for that on Day 1), sat over a hole, inside a makeshift frame covered in green polythene. With said polythene now flapping wildly and horizontally in the breeze I doubt many would bother trying to protect their modesty in there tonight.

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Sahara: The Longest Day

“I wonder if they could just leave me in my sleeping bag and put me over the back of the camel?”.

It was 4:00 am! Last night we had a lovely meal. Pasta and a spicy meat sauce with hand baked flat bread here on camp. The first evening I had really eaten my supper and enjoyed it. Headache gone and ready to enjoy the company. We had a lovely inspiring message from Moray Women’s Aid and then most opened letters/messages of support from family. Then we were given our rise time. Eek! Better get to bed early then. And that was where any thoughts of a good night’s sleep ended. The camels were particularly noisy, the tiring day had snoring from all four corners of the camp. But mainly I was fitful in a way I always am when I know I need to get to sleep and stay asleep when I have to get up early.

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Sahara: Nobody Said It Was Easy

“Morning!”. I woke with a start. What time is it? 5:30am. Gosh I have slept the whole night. I hadn’t even heard Rosie leave in the middle of the night and return to the wrong tent. And we were sleeping literally a foot apart. I had had to excuse myself early after supper last night as my migraine had set in. My head was pounding, I felt feverish and sick. All symptoms also associated with dehydration but I knew it wasn’t that, I was drinking lots and taking on supplements, salts etc. No – lack of sleep had finally taken its toll and so it needed to run its course. I popped a couple of Migraleve kindly given by my fellow trekker Elaine and took to my bed. As I lay with my ear plugs in and my travel pillow pulled up over my ears I must have looked a sight. I could hear the rhythmic sound

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Sahara: A Bucket Load of Tears

Maries Million Boot Steps“Morning!”. Pauline’s greeting each morning never fails to make me smile. It’s 5:30 am and the camp has stirred. A couple of tents with music on, others quietly coming round. I fall into the latter, I like to gently wake, like the dawn turns night into day.  Even the Maroc Nature team seem to rise slowly and quietly, awaiting the first voice from our tent before beginning their morning routine. The mess tent is first to come down and pack away – breakfast in the open and then little by little they dismantle camp and load the train of camels.

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Sahara: We’re Coming to Getcha!

Sahara-Trek“Are you decent Rosie?”

Rosie is my roomy (and tent buddy) for the next week. We arrived at the Ibis in Oarzazate a little after midnight and after rearranging bags, rucksacks ready for an early departure we had both managed only a little fitful, excitement fuelled sleep. Eight very excited and nervous Trekkers had been up at 3am on the Thursday to fly from Inverness. The remaining two coming in from Aberdeen. We all ten would unite, alongside our Trek Doctor Neal at Heathrow. So I was now almost three days without no more than perhaps five or six hours of real deep sleep. Not the best preparation for what was to come but the adrenalin would see us through the six to seven hour drive into the Sahara today.

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Five more sleeps

“Anyone up for a final walk this weekend?” went out the call earlier this week. Me please! Me please! Me please! One by one the hands went up. Four hours was all we wanted. One final half distance and then it’s a case of maintaining with a little stretch each day until we fly on Thursday. Continue reading

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Women on a Mission

This week has seen a significant shift in my fitness. I am not sure why. After having my “wheels fall off” exactly 14 days ago I suddenly found myself not only able to walk over 14 odd miles exactly one week later, but wake up feeling fantastic the day after. Now that is a first! So fantastic in fact I was eager to find more walking time this week. So the diary came out and I put a big fat “WALK” across three days. Yes, three! And not content with that I decided to squeeze a wee fourth one in too.

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