Ben wanted to raise some money for Norwich Samaritans and he did it by walking around Norfolk. Read his story, in his own words, below...
Step by Step
On the morning of September 13th at 6am I set off from Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth on a 7 day challenge to walk around the border of Norfolk then back to Norwich Samaritans centre. In total this was 220 miles and if this was not challenging enough, I’d be carrying all my kit including my tent on my back.
In the build up to the event I’d been delighted to secure sponsorship of each leg by some very generous local companies. My aim was to raise £5,000 and thanks to their generous support I was well on the way to hitting this target. This was important, as every day when I woke up early, aching and sore from the previous days exhaustions, knowing I had at least 30 miles to walk, I had the motivation of knowing that each step was securing valuable funds for Norwich Samaritans.
Day 1 and the first 34 miles passed quickly and both physically and mentally I felt positive and in good shape and slept well in my tent.
Day 2, I awoke to rain and the rain didn’t stop all day. Physically, I felt good but as I trudged along A roads between Scole and Thetford getting soaked by spray from passing vehicles my mental strength was tested. Mentally, day 2 was the toughest of all the days walking for 12 hours in relentless rain saw me soaked to the skin despite the fact I was wearing a poncho and waterproof coat. Cold and wet, I had a poor night’s sleep but awoke to a dry day three. Joined by a good friend, day 3 was an enjoyable walk; the 30+ miles flew by with long stretches structures along footpaths with beautiful scenery and the sun shining. It was in stark contrast to day 2.
Day 4 saw me make a few unnecessary loops in dense woods near Sandringham, adding a few extra miles to my day, but soon I was picking up the Norfolk Coastal path. With the shore to one side and an ever-changing coastline, I was feeling positive and managed to maintain a steady pace, reaching Holkham Estate and my camping pitch just about on schedule.
Days 5 and 6 became a hard slog as I made my way slowly down the Coast from Wells next the Sea right down to Caister. By now my pace had dropped quite dramatically and I was walking almost continuously with no real breaks just to ensure I stayed close to my schedule. At the end of Day 6 though I had a bed for the night as one of the Great Yarmouth Samaritans kindly put me up in their holiday cottage. A bath and a cup of tea have never felt so good and that night I slept soundly knowing I only had 26 miles left to walk.
The final day and I woke to find that my legs were putting up quite a firm protest; the first mile that day took me well over an hour as I plodded towards the Acle marshes. Both legs were swollen and the pain in my knees and ankles was like hot knives yet I slowly managed to lift my pace. The longest stretch of the walk seemed to be from Postwick to St Stephens Square, there was a moment on Prince of Wales Rd when I genuinely feared I might not make the last mile. The relief as I arrived at Norwich Sams just 10 mins behind schedule after completing my 220 mile walk was immense. I was met by the day & sponsor Abel Homes who were kindly waiting with champagne in hand ready to toast the completion of quite an epic challenge.