Stratford Guild - May 2018

AGM 9th May 2018

followed by a talk by Judith Tallis - Walking from Land's End to John O'Groats

Having dealt with the business part of the meeting, we settled back to enjoy a most interesting talk from Stratford's own Judith Tallis, who walked almost a thousand miles in 2013, and below are Judith's own notes recording this achievement.

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“I walked from Land’s End to John O’Groats on my own between 10th June and 10th September 2013. I had a longheld desire to do this walk, wanting a focus for improving my fitness and a challenge in retirement, but it was the death of my colleague’s son, James Vaughan, from pancreatic cancer during his final year at Cambridge University, that made me put my plan into action.

I stayed at youth hostels, B&Bs, pubs or with friends. My most important bit of kit was a GPS device which could be connected to a computer, enabling me to plan my routes carefully and upload them onto the device to ensure that I did not stray too far. My route (approx 970 miles) included footpaths and parts of disused railway lines (Camel Trail, Granite Way, Strawberry Line) but I also did long stretches on canal paths (Tiverton, Bridgwater & Taunton, Staffordshire & Worcestershire, Shropshire Union, Trent & Mersey, Leeds & Liverpool, Lancaster) and beside rivers (Severn Way, the River Clyde walkway). I also walked the West Highland Way (Milngavie to Fort William) and the Great Glen Way (Fort William to Inverness) before continuing up the coast to John O’Groats.

Some of the high and low points of my journey included a frustrating delay caused by an infected blister very early on, inadvertently setting off a fire alarm in a pub in Wigan, an embarrassing incident in Lockerbie (thinking I’d been locked in the lavatories), being personally escorted through road works in Portgower Scotland by a workman in a hard hat and high vis jacket, as well as an unexpected picnic of champagne and chocolate cake, courtesy of a fellow “end to ender”, on arrival in John O’Groats. There were inevitable many other ups and downs but I enjoyed meeting some interesting people along the way and was touched by the kindness shown by strangers during times of difficulty.

Overall I enjoyed the adventure and often thought of James along the way, remembering his advice that one should never put off something one really wants to do, because none of us knows what life has in store for us. I could not have done the trip without the support and help of my husband, Nick, who helped book accommodation for me and kept me calm when things didn’t go to plan.”

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The gift bowl raised £101.50 for the Pancreatic Cancer charity.

Our next meeting is the Annual Summer Social on 13 June.

Daphne Ponsford