73 miles to go! Almost there! Since the last report in June the group has completed 7 more walks and clocked up another 375.25 miles, giving us a total of 927.00 miles.
Together, our walk group has managed 18 different walks since the end of March 2021: some new walks, some revisiting old haunts, and some with an added bonus. Last Saturday’s walk took us through Parham Park to the Glider airfield near Cootham. It could have been Jan’s biggest health and safety nightmare, as the gliders were taking off alongside us! In true form, Jan had checked things out and we were on a public footpath, along the edge of the air field – such a joy when the pilot waved cheerfully to our group.
The Lavant Trundle walk might stick in our minds for a while – walking on what was probably the hottest evening of the year and getting to the very top of the Trundle, a first for some. We took it easy, with water stops en-route and were rewarded with one of the best views of the 1,000 mile challenge walks.
Each walk throws up its own memories – all shining with friendship, gleaning knowledge about our area and working on a challenge together raising funds for Sage House Dementia Unit. £410.00 have been pledged so far.
Another 2 walks should see the successful completion of the task.
“What are we going to do next?” cried the walkers.
Jan Marsden 20.9.21
To see all the latest photos, and a glider port video, click here.
11 of our members visited the Prairie Gardens near Henfield on 9th September. The owner, Pauline McBride, introduced us to her garden with a lively description about the garden’s beginning: it took 2 weeks to plant 36,000 plants, most which Pauline and her husband had grown from seed, cuttings, and division in Holland. They conscripted family and friends to help by inviting them to a party – which went on for days!
Although, it felt a bit like a party of our own, on a WI outing, the Prairie Gardens proved to be a very relaxing and tactile place – pure escapism for a couple of hours. In a lush and well-formed garden, we immersed ourselves amongst the plants as we walked on paths in the borders, we took in its gentleness as we sat by a pond, and of course we had tea and cake!
Since May’s report the walk group have completed 6 more walks, culminating in its biggest challenge to date with an 8 ½ mile walk at Fittleworth.
Not only was the distance both a group and a personal challenge for some, the torrential rain the day before made walking muddy and wet in places, and hurdles were put in our way! To overcome the hurdles: we explored how many different ways you could get across a barbed wire fence, tested our horse whispering skills and summoned the energy for a sprint up, and down, the highest point in the Fittleworth area!
551.75 miles have been collectively walked by the group, since the challenge started on 29th March, with £250.00 pledged for Sage House Dementia Unit, one of our WI charities for 2021. Only 448.25 more miles to tread before our Annual Meeting in October! Can we do it?
Each walk has a different character – with different routes, different fascinating facts and different corners of the countryside and coast in our area. The relief of covid restrictions easing in May was enormous, not only did it signify less people across the nation were falling very ill, it meant we could walk together in 1 group, so the planning and organisation were simplified.
Not every walk group member walks every walk – they walk when they can if the route and date suits them. Each walk, however, has been in really good company and seemingly enjoyed thoroughly by all taking part. The walks have been to Dell Quay, Slindon Dale Park, Bognor beach and Pagham Harbour, Arundel as well as Fittleworth.
Up to a few years ago I was an enthusiastic member of our walk group, taking part in most of our 4 mile walks. Then old age and arthritis caught up with me so 4 miles was just not on. Hence I was delighted in May when Jan organised a 2 mile flat walk at low tide along the beach at Bognor which I thought I could manage – and I did!
It was a windy day but southerly so we didn’t have to walk into the wind either way. Well wrapped up we started off from the pier walking towards Aldwick. This took us past the end of the prom, where the road comes away from the sea at Fish Lane into what, for me, was unknown territory.
On the way we came across a piece of history … in the water exposed at low tide there is the remains of a floating pontoon, part of the Mulberry Floating Harbours used by the Allies to support the invasion of France on D-Day 6 June 1944. I am ashamed to say that I didn’t know of it’s existence, even though I have lived here for many years.
When we reached halfway we had a rest and were supplied with a piece of Jan’s delicious crisp shortbread – this is an essential part of any BRWI walk – I recommend it highly and have added the recipe to the site – click here if you would like to try it.
I enjoyed my walk very much, coming home feeling rather tired but very refreshed. I must admit that I was full of plans to have more low tide walks on my own, needlesstosay that hasn’t quite happened yet!
2021 – 1,000 mile walk challenge for mind, body, and Sage House Dementia Support Unit
If only we could measure chatter and laughter, or even those amazing views, or the joy from local knowledge researched and shared by our walk leaders. We would have been to the moon and back – 477,910 miles!
Despite the challenges of organising 3 separate covid-safe groups for each walk, chilly weather, discrepancies in the mileage count, and eating shortbread for fear of offending, we have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves since the start of our 2021 – 1,000 mile walk. It has kept us connected through lock down, and helped us focus on getting through these strange and isolating times.
We have felt privileged to enjoy our coast and countryside in such good company, whilst exercising and exploring areas some of us did not know were there! We have learnt about our local history, and wildlife – and even about Jan’s family, as one of our few Bognor born and bred members!
To date, 20 of our members have completed 6 walks, some on all the walks and some walking when they can. We have collectively walked 306.25 miles – the miles for each walk are multiplied by the number of walkers. We are well on our way to the 1,000 mile target by our Annual Meeting in October.
During the summer, strolls, short walks and day long walks will be introduced into the programme, so that as many members of our WI as possible can be involved, if they want to. Another way to get on board is to sponsor the walkers and details about that are in The Buzz. All donations will go to Sage House Dementia Support Unit at Tangmere.