First an introduction:  I’m Richard and I’m in my very late forties. My walking partner, David, is a couple of years my junior.  We kind of got to know each other through our children and the various playgroups etc that they attended twenty years ago.  These days we can basically be termed drinking partners.

This wasn’t my first time.  I completed the Coast to Coast in 1997.  The baggage carriers hadn’t really got going then, everyone carried their own kit and, of course, laptops and GPS’s were absent. Somehow I, and everyone else, managed it and to top it all it didn’t rain once.

In 2007, whilst working away from home (following the floods in Yorkshire), David had a stroke.  His physical recovery was excellent, but he still has trouble communicating, especially speaking.  He hasn’t returned to work.  At the end of 2008, with all this time on his hands he started to think that perhaps he could do the C2C himself.  I was asked if I would go along as well and, of course, I agreed.  We also agreed to take one of my dogs along.  It would be either my Jack Russell, Maggie, or Border Collie, Elsie.  After more deliberation than perhaps it deserved I chose Maggie.

We also managed, almost by accident get ourselves a bit of sponsorship.  Almost as soon as friends, colleagues, family etc. knew about our plans we were asked if we were being sponsored.  It wasn’t out original plan, especially as the principle aim was to have a good time, but by the start of the walk we had been promised a couple of thousand pounds for the Stroke Association. 

To prepare for the walk and build our confidence we conspired to get out on some of our local hills at the weekends.  Some rather convoluted routes were devised around Macclesfield Forest and I had the perfect excuse to visit the Lakes in the preceding weekends.  The idea wasn’t to get super fit, but just to get the body used to the daily routine.

All photo credits belong to David.