I will have walked around the Guernsey cliff and coastal path network on 52 separate occasions this year, been around the island 13 times, covered some 500 miles over the year, and I will have walked up/down 45,487 steps over the 52 week period on 13 occasions between St Peter Port and Pleinmont.
In addition I also completed the Sally Davies Walk in April from St Peter Port to Pleinmont as well as walking around Herm in 2015.
Steps, steps and more steps
There are 1,575 steps between the Aquarium, St Peter Port, and Icart Point.
There are 1,924 between Icart Point and Pleinmont.
The legs from St Peter Port to Pleinmont have a total of 3,499 steps.
There are 87 steps between the Aquarium and Clarence Battery.
There are 273 steps, including 46 in the lower section of steps up St Martin’s Point.
To climb down to Petit Port you will need to go down 294 steps – and back up!
To climb up the steps from Saints Bay to re-join the cliff path at the top, you will need to climb up 304 steps.
My most challenging leg
This has got to be back in August on the Icart to Pleinmont leg, which I had to do solo, in torrential rain at times, and with my arm in a sling. I am most grateful that my wife Angela checked me through the various stages, wherever possible in her car.
Most poignant memories
Two very much stick out in my mind:
I was cleaning steps in the Saints Bay area when a mum and three children came by, two boys and a young girl; the mum stopped and made a generous donation into my collecting tin. The two boys rushed past me with beaming smiling faces and headed to a bench and viewing spot above Saints Bay. Somewhat bemused by their behaviour I asked mum why were they so excited, she then told me the two boys were from Chernobyl here on holiday and had never seen the sea prior to arriving in Guernsey. I was in absolute pieces when she told me that!
On another occasion I had just finished a leg from Pleinmont to Pembroke Bay on a lovely, warm, sunny day, and I was waiting in the car park beside the beach kiosk for the bus to come down. All of a sudden I felt a tap on the back of my leg. Looking around, I saw very small boy, maybe 18 months – 2 years old, who never said a word but held out both his hands out to me. He opened them, still not saying anything, and they were full of small change to put in my collecting tin – a lovely moment, and I was most grateful to his parents, who were visitors to the Island.
The generosity of people has never failed to amaze me, as I have never approached people for a donation – they have always approached me and put money in the Autism Guernsey collecting box I carry with me on my walks. There are certain times, like above, which I have documented in my blog (www.angebg.com), where I have almost been reduced to tears with the individual generosity I have experienced.
I am very much indebted to my regular walking colleagues, Clive, Anne and Sue, and to my son Andy – who dreamed up and established Autism Guernsey and the 365 Challenge – who have joined me at regular times during the year, and to other individuals who have come along for a one-off walk.
The oldest walker was Alex at 83 who did the Icart to Pleinmont leg comfortably, and the youngest was my 6 year-old grandson, George, who completed the 11 mile stretch from Pleinmont to Pembroke Bay, along with his Uncle Andy on a day in August – a lovely, proud family occasion. He even wanted to walk back!
Considering that the average age of my regular walkers is well over 60, it is in part their drive, enthusiasm and passion that has inspired me to keep going. With Club Bons Amis already providing outdoor opportunities for walking groups for older people here on the Island and the emergence of a U3A branch here in Guernsey, the future is bright for activities for our more senior citizens.
I really cannot emphasise enough how much more I appreciate the natural beauty of this fabulous island of Guernsey, where I have been privileged to live and bring up a family since 1982. Throughout this marathon session of 52 weeks of walking the cliff and coastal paths I was continually stimulated by everything around me on the 36 miles route, available to both locals and tourists alike, in whatever sections you may wish to walk .
Guernsey’s greatest asset is its natural beauty and tourists will always come here to enjoy walking in and around all parts of the island.
Finally I would like to say a big thank you to my wife Angela, who has been my main rock in seeing me through this challenge in 2015. Although Angela did not do any of the weekly walks (dodgy knees!) we worked together on cleaning the steps in and around Moulin Huet and all of the work in editing and compiling the weekly blog is very much down to her skills and commitment, a huge task.
ANGELA – a very small task in comparison to the actual walks! Eric is amazing, very determined, and has pushed himself to the limit on these walks, some of which have been quite “hairy” – see Eric’s comment “My most challenging leg” above! – and I am full of admiration for his strength of will and purpose in completing this challenge, and his integrity in ensuring that Autism Guernsey benefits every time – the fact that it is our son’s “baby” is a spur – we are both so proud that he made his dream reality and has provided the island with a service it desperately needed. I am including below a tweet from Guernsey FC following their last match before Christmas:”@boroeric won £396 thanks to the 50-50 and £100 in the raffle, which he donated back to GFC and @autismguernsey”. This is so typical of the wonderful man I am proud to call my husband.
ERIC – I am completing this section of the blog prior to us going off to the mainland for Christmas with our family and having, hopefully, completed leg 51/52 from Pleinmont to Pembroke Bay; to date (22-12-15) the total raised is a very healthy £1,548 with still 2 legs to complete.
A very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all who read our blog and best wishes to everyone concerned with Autism Guernsey for the year 2016.