I have wanted to do a long distance canal walk for some time, but two things encouraged me to actually do it: Firstly it was a bit of a joke that got out of hand! You see, I have a daughter who lives in London and I have been very unlucky with train services when travelling to see her. Last time I caught the train after work to take her out on her birthday but due to 2 hours delay I could only grab a quick pizza with her before having to catch my train home. Yet throughout the many delays I could always spot lovely stretches of the Grand Union Canal near the tracks – reminding me of a less hurried era when it took a week to get to London. I joked to my daughter “next time I’m walking down to see you”. And so it has happened!
Secondly, earlier this year I had been talking to Jo and Robbie Brough about raising money for an anti bullying charity in Erdington that struggles hard in order to do great work with children who are going through very traumatic circumstances. Robbie Brough, a Spice Member for over 20 years, died in June 2017. He was a thoroughly decent and lovely man who added greatly to the life of our group. It therefore seemed appropriate to do the walk in memory of Robbie and for that cause.
UPDATE: As the charity has recently closed, I have agreed with the family that I will raise money instead for BBC Children in Need, which supports a number of these types of charities. The Grand Union Main Line is the longest canal in the UK, Some 137 miles. So I am taking it at a gentle but challenging 20 miles a day over a week. I am doing the walk alone and carrying all my kit. However, I would love it if any Spice Members want to walk with me for short stretches or perhaps link up with me in the evenings (anyone with physiotherapy or podiatry skills would be a particularly welcome drinking partner!) I will be staying in B&B’s/ Hotels and will publish my schedule nearer the time. I will set off on Thursday 12th at around 10am from the start of the canal which is at Proof House Junction, beside Birmingham Proof House and Typhoo Wharf (where the tea came daily by narrowboat, having been unloaded from the tea clippers at the London ports). From there, it will be something like this, God willing!:
Day 1: Birmingham to Warwick/ Hatton (Ev Premier Inn Warwick)
Day 2: Warwick/ Hatton to Daventry/ Flecknoe (Ev Mercure Daventry Court)
Day 3: Daventry/ Flecknoe to Blisworth (Ev Walnut Tree Inn)
Day 4: Blissworth to Fenny Stratford (Ev Premier Inn, Milton Keynes South)
Day 5: Fenny Stratford to Tring (EvPendley Manor Hotel)
Day 6: Tring to Harefield (Ev Denham Grove Hotel)
Day 7: Harefield to the Thames at Brentford. Meal with Daughter & train home.
I will fund all the expenses of the trip so that any money donated is guaranteed to go to the charity in full.
Children in Need (Note Change to original Charity)
Registered Charity Number 802052.
Stated aim: “We provide grants to projects in the UK which focus on children and young people who are disadvantaged. We are local to people in all corners of the UK and support small and large organisations which empower children and extend their life choices. We are currently supporting 2,400 projects all across the UK. The projects we fund help children facing a range of disadvantages for example poverty and deprivation; children who have been the victims of abuse or neglect or disabled young people”
How to Sponsor Me:
I have set up some options to sponsor me fixed amounts by clicking to book this “event”. However, if you want to give a different amount, just call 0121 353 6161 and we can do this by phone. Alternatively there’s a Just Giving Page There may be an advantage of using this method if you are eligible to Gift Aid your donation.
Thanks very much to anyone who sponsors me, comes to support me or just comes to know a little more about our wonderful heritage of canals through following my challenge.