A charitable break

london2brightonOld friends and long-term readers of this blog will remember that I spent the summer of 2006 walking from John O’Groats to Land’s End to raise money of brain tumour research. This was in memory of my brother Simon, who died from a brain tumour in 2005.

Now that walking bug has caught on with some other members of my family who are taking on a different walking challenge. Although I walked over a thousand miles in total, the most I did in a day was about 30 miles and that was partly thanks to me not realising quite how far I was going that day.

At the end of May, my brother Andrew, my sister-in-law Julie and my niece Lucie will be walking 62 miles (100km) in a day as they take on the London to Brighton Challenge. It’s a massive distance to walk, and one that I’m not sure I could do in a day even if I got back in training.

Like me, they’re doing it to raise money for brain tumour research and so they’re looking for sponsors. If you’ve got a spare few quid and you’d like to support them, then please pop along to their JustGiving pages – Lucie’s is here, Andrew’s here and Julie’s here – and make a donation. Every bit helps, and I’ll give an update on their progress – and hopefully, their successful completion of the walk – when the time comes.

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Walking north

No meetings today, and the weather was reasonably good so I went for my first long walk in a few months – probably the first proper walk I’ve done since the Roman Circus one back in February, actually.

Mostly places I’ve been before, starting with the back route to West Bergholt (detailed here) and then following the Essex Way up as far as Boxted, then heading off towards the Stour on the way out of the village, rather than carrying on the Way towards Langham and Dedham. From there, it was a just a short walk up to Stoke-by-Nayland to complete 13 miles with a rather nice sandwich and pint at the Angel. Here, have some pictures:
Oilseed field between West Bergholt and HorkesleyView from the bridge, crossing the River Stour near BoxtedWisteria-covered barn between Boxted and Stoke-by-Nayland
I’m going to try and blog a few more walks this summer – just like I promised to do last year, of course – and am thinking about doing the full Epping-to-Harwich Essex Way this summer. It’s been a while since I’ve done a long stage walk like that, and while it’s not the full 1,000+ miles of John O’Groats to Land’s End, it should make an interesting challenge.

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Just to let you know that you can now directly donate to Colchester Archaeological Trust through Justgiving as well as through Charity Choice.

In other news, Sunday’s weather forecast is still looking dry. Fingers and crossed and wood is being touched in the hope it stays that way.

The route

After some playing with Google Maps, I think I’ve managed to plot a rough outline of the route we’ll be taking on Sunday:

View Roman Circus walk in a larger map
If there’s nothing showing above, then click here to see it on Google.

It’s slightly approximated at points because it’s hard to follow footpaths on Google Maps, so the southern section (along the Roman River and through Friday Woods) shows up as basically a straight line when it’s anything but, but a look at Ordnance Survey maps on Streetmap will show you how many routes there are through there.

So, if you live near Colchester (or were watching The One Show last week) you’ll have heard about the appeal to raise funds to save Colchester’s Roman Circus.

Well, as part of the appeal, I’m putting my walking boots back on and hitting the road this Sunday to help raise cash. Along with Jo Hayes and my fellow councillor Theresa Higgins, I’ll be walking a twelve mile circuit that starts and finishes at the circus and also takes in some of the other Roman remains in Colchester, including the walls, the Balkerne Gate and Gosbecks Archaeological Park.

So, if you want to contribute then please visit the Roman Circus website and pledge cash there, or contact me for other details of how you can make a donation.

Or, if you feel like joining us for part of the walk then please come along. We’ll be starting from the Circus at around 10am, and I’ll be updating throughout the day on Twitter, and possibly finding some way over the next few days to use the GPS functions on my new phone to report our location.

We’re also arranging a separate shorter walk around the Roman sites in the town centre, which will be led by Bob Russell MP and will cover about three miles around the walls and other sites. Bob’s happy for anyone to join him – they’ll be starting at the same time, and we’ll be covering the same route for a while – as long as they make a donation of £5 or more to the Circus appeal.

So it’s fingers crossed for good weather on Sunday…

Weekly Walk #3: Man-made landscapes

a>We’re heading west this week, and I’ve attempted to give a theme to the walk, of what humans have done to the landscapes of Colchester over the year. People have been living here for thousands of years, and every passing wave of them has left their mark on the area in one way or another. Stone, however, isn’t very common around here, so large walls weren’t always an option, and so lots of earth was moved to provide defences and define boundaries – and some of those boundaries remain today.

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Weekly Walk #2: West Bergholt, Great Horkesley and High Woods

For this weeks walk, I decided to find a route that linked two open spaces that are quite close to me in a non-obvious way. You could walk between these two spots in about ten minutes or so, but I thought it would be more interesting to find a big loop.

Officially, this isn’t a circular walk, as it starts and finishes in two different places, but it wouldn’t be too hard to make it into a circuit to and from North Station. As it is, however, it starts from Cymbeline Meadows, just off the Avenue of Remembrance, loops round through West Bergholt and Great Horkesley, then finishes off with a stroll through High Woods.

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