Shirburn Hill – 51° 39′ 11.9988 and 0° 58′ 0.0012

11 miles yesterday. The terrain was rough and it was the hilliest part of the trail. It rained heavily and there was a biting northerly wind. Andy lost his way  and says, that the mistake ‘cost me an hour and tons of energy.’ It must have done. It was 10 minutes to six pm when he sent his goodnight text and I could feel how tired he was by reading the message. By seven this morning, he was back on the trail.

If you look at the overall map of the trail..

…Andy’s now starting section four, the dark blue bit.

He’ll send us a photo later today. He’ll be walking through a woody bit, and he’ll like that. Not only will the trees provide some shelter, Andy has a natural affinity for woodland; it’s where he feels safest and happiest.

Andy knows that the pressure is now on. He says he’s planning to ‘make good progress’ today. Physically, he’s doing very well (especially considering he’s just turned 50 and hasn’t done a lick of training). The test now is more about Andy’s mental endurance. It’s not easy to keep believing that what you are doing is possible or desirable when you are walking (and sleeping, and eating) in the rain and cold. Andy knew that the first few legs would be the toughest and that the walking would be easier once he got to Oxfordshire. However, when you’re in the middle of a challenge, you can forget that kind of information and feel as though you aren’t doing well enough. Andy will need to keep his energy up; both his physical energy (his huge packet of custard creams that he snuck into his pack will help with that) and his mental energy.

Before the walk, we talked about him taking a break today for a cooked lunch at a pub; it’d be good for him to boost his calories right now. But he’s taken the money his daughter and I raised at a car boot sale for his spending money, and I know he wants to give most of that to Rett Research Trust UK. I’ll bet he makes due with his packet soups and biscuits…

Andy needs four hundred more pounds to make his goal.

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