The story of a 55-year-old adventurer, 56 days and 630 miles!
Why now and why this path?
A long-held bucket list dream, a love of the South West Coast, and the chance for a sabbatical from running my own successful but immensely busy business, have together culminated in this challenge. And as a 55-year-old woman, with early stages of arthritis, it’s not going to be a breeze. But I need to get on with it and I’m sure the coastal charities I have chosen to support, will help me to push on through and achieve my best! The RNLI, YHA, and the South West Coast Path Association are my beneficiaries. Who could be more worthy of our support?
Where and when?
I’ll be starting out in early September and walking the whole of the South West Coast Path in 56 days and nights until I finish, hopefully, at the end of October. 630 miles in 8 weeks, and in doing so climbing four times the height of Everest! I am funding the whole challenge myself, but over forty accommodation businesses and the YHA, have supported me by donating some of the accommodation. Each time a night has been donated, I am making a subsequent donation in lieu of payment, to the charity pot. In addition, some amazing outdoor and sports clothing companies such as BAM, Cotswold Outdoor and Rab, have helped ensure that I stay warm, dry and super comfortable throughout my journey!
Preparation, fears and excitement
Walking the whole of the SWCP in its entirety, over 56 days and nights could be life-changing and I am excited and terrified in equal measures! I am in training, but it’s always a worry that I won’t have done enough. The squats, the stair climbs, the morning power walks and the weekend longer hill walks are all helping. Not to mention a few days training in the heat of the Mallorcan hills in July! But will it be enough? Only time will tell I guess.
I’m thinking that the rain, the wind, the heat and the hills might be tougher than I fear. Then there’s the isolation to consider. Will I be lonely, or will I love meeting so many new people on the path? Right now, I’m hoping the latter. Will my arthritic knees survive and will walking poles help? All of this will be discovered before too long. But whatever the path brings, I know it will be a once in a lifetime adventure and I am ready to embrace it, the ups and the downs and the highs and the lows. I feel so very lucky to have this rare opportunity to take the time out for myself, to appreciate the awesome coastline, and in doing so, support three brilliant causes, save lives, and help others to enjoy the outdoors.
I would love you to follow me on my journey as your donations and words of encouragement might be the only thing that will get me to the end of the Path!
Huge thanks to the YHA, the RNLI and the SWCPA for supporting my challenge, and to BAM, Rab and Cotswold Outdoor for making sure I keep comfortable, warm and dry! Not to mention all the hoteliers and B & B owners along the way.
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Follow Rachel’s journey
Planning a fundraising challenge on the South West Coast Path?
If you’re planning a fundraiser on the Path, please consider the South West Coast Path Association as one of your beneficiary charities, to help ensure it is always there for challenges like Rachel’s and the many others that use the Path to raise funds for brilliant causes.
Find out more www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/fundraise