Andrew’s Challenge


Andrew Walking Alfreds Tower1Walking to Alfred’s Tower

It was an email from my sister that prompted me to undertake a challenge in order to boost funds for the Neil Mackenzie Trust (Neil was my nephew). Just at the same time Country Walking Magazine announced a challenge for its readers – inviting them to walk 1000 miles in the year 2017.

I considered this a bit too much of a challenge for me, as at the age of 75 and having recently undergone a hip replacement, walking 19 miles a week didn’t feel achievable. So I decided 10 miles each week was a reasonable alternative. So for each mile I walk this year I will pay 50p up to 500 miles. Any miles above and beyond 500, my wife, daughter and son will donate 50p to encouraging me smash the 500 mile target.

I’m nearly three quarters of the way through the year and have walked 475 miles. So already just 25 miles short of my target. I’m averaging around 15 miles a week so I’ll fly past 500 in no time. The total was boosted by a holiday to the Isle of Skye and the borders of Scotland where I walked 73 miles in just a fortnight. One of the highlights and quite a strenuous walk was from Kirkbost to Bell’s Bothy. We got the opportunity to admire the refurbishment of the bothy – namely new bunks and tables courtesy of the Trust and Neil’s parents, Angus and Margaret.

Andrew Walking ScotlandThe hill out of Camasunary is a tough one!

A benefit of the challenge is my improved level of fitness. And not only that bonding with my family. My daughter has recently returned home from travelling the world and has regularly accompanied me on my walks. One recently from Stourhead Gardens to King Alfred’s Tower, included 176 steps to climb to the top of the tower. It was a glorious summers day and the 360 views span Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire.

Andrew Walking Alfreds Tower2At the top of Alfred’s Tower

One of the more unusual benefits is that I am a bit of a technophobe so to my wife’s and daughter’s amusement all this walking has encouraged me to take my iPhone out and about with me wherever I go. It records my mileage, even around the garden, where I’ve been known to walk over two miles.

With the autumn approaching and the summer weather taking a turn for the worst I’m determined not to relax let the mileage slip not only for my fitness but so I can raise as much money as possible.