Day 37 of the challenge has seen a struggle within oneself won.

After such wonderful news yesterday the very concept of a future seemed to be within reach no matter how long or short that future might be it was a future to look forward to none the less. Besides I have two children to get through their education and settled in to a happy and healthy life as well as the many miles of footpaths left to walk, rivers left to paddle and mountains left to climb in the UK before I can even think about calling an end to trying to Beat the Beast. There is Europe to tackle after all this!! But then, late last night, as I took Georgie out for a short walk before bed the very foundations of a future plan were rattled and the fragile bubble of hope, I talked about last night, burst as it became snagged in the branches of the realities of life overhanging the river flowing gently towards a new future. I had another, quite long winded seizure. The filthy metallic tastes and smells were overpowering in the mouth and nose and I became disorientated as the swarm of bees encompassing my head became more and more agitated, noisily signalling some form of aggressive intent as I stumbled through the area of the Ponds I thought I knew so well searching for a reference point or something to ground me. I saw the hide next to the main pond and immediately knew where I was. The swarm dissipated, normality returned with the hooting of an owl in the woods and I made it home. I was feeling weak and shaken but much worse, frightened, my bubble had burst.

This morning therefore was difficult. The children full of excitement, or buzzing (as Heather calls it) for today’s rehearsals for their various shows, lifted me somewhat. However I needed to find the determination and the desire to get out there and do something to bring those converging streams of life together to create the turbulence required to churn up some more bubbles, some hope, some dreams to drive forward towards a future. Sure enough, as I logged on to facebook looking for inspiration – there you all were, my family, friends and supporters sending me such wonderful messages of love and support. I said a quiet prayer, packed my daysack, grabbed my map and off I went.

The No A1 bus dropped me off in Dunblane. I moved up to the cathedral. Got my bearings and headed off towards Ashfield along the Allan river. It was a cool, claggy day. One of those days that just didn’t seem to ever be able to burn off the mist. On I plodded a dark cloud growing ever darker and hanging over my head as I searched for hope, tried to hang on to those dreams, reignite the fire for a new life supporting and guiding the children through their education towards a happy, healthy and fruitful life. I had been inspired to action and felt the warmth of that support in my body but for some reason, like the mist the dark cloud hung on to me and refused to budge. Swelling emotions of sadness were gulped back, time and time and time again as I plodded on, mile after mile after mile willing the mist to lift so I could breath in some inspiration and love of life back in to me. I knew Ashfield to be a pretty village that spoke of bygone days of true community living that appeared to be very much alive and kicking in this delightful little place. Perhaps this was why I choose to come this way – looking for inspiration from such an idyll – instead I found a quiet village. Not a sole seen anywhere. A cat ran across the road in front of us but nothing –no birds singing, no car noises, just the plod, plod, plod of my boots against the gravelly tarmac as I carried on in my search.

On I pushed to Kinbuck before coming round to head South back towards Dunblane. Mile after sorry mile passed – raw emotion welling up further and fighting hard to be released, to be heard in one almighty shout, a cry for mercy, a cry for hope. I eventually crossed back over the Allan River to return back on the other side of the River. Still the cloud hung over me, while the mist clung defiantly to the river and the valley I was in. I hit an area within the sparse woodland alongside the river that had recently been eroded by the river giving only a very narrow path. I was looking down at my feet on the path when out of the corner of my eye I saw a large black shadow move silently and swiftly through the mist and down the river valley. I searched the mist intently wondering what it was then questioning whether I had seen anything at all when Georgie’s ears pricked up, she too seemed to search the mist, this time with her nose, before turning South and heading up the path. Her pace quickened, my pace quickened too. What was it I had seen? It was a big beast, what was it as I scuttled along this narrow path my arms outstretched to help with my balance as I slipped and slided my way along the path as quickly as I could to catch up with the dog.

Georgie after the chase in one of the ponds at Kinbuck
Georgie after the chase in one of the ponds at Kinbuck

Then I saw it, with a long and powerful swish of his broad, flat tail determination had mixed the water, created some turbulence, the water gurgling over a small rapid of boulders, bubbles!! The mist lifted, the sun came out and the dark cloud dissipated. I was smiling again. I had been chasing a Heron through the mist but found hope. I set my head back and looked up to the clearing sky and instead of a cry for mercy, I laughed. I giggled. I sat back down and decided to rest in the sunshine. It was the most extraordinary mix of emotions that I had to fight so hard to shake but it was the unexpected and frankly ridiculous chase up the path after the mystery Heron that lifted me out of the particular doldrum I had been in. It was hard, desperately hard in that place but it was now behind me and the day got better and better as it warmed in the afternoon sunshine.

I stopped at the Beech Tree café for a celebration Mocha and as I drank it in the sunshine my tired dog lying by my feet a charming young man came and sat on the table next to me and got his laptop out. Connected to the WiFi and me with no Flyers left I couldn’t resist. He was a great guy and as I left he was searching for the challenge on facebook. A clear, happy and hopeful head I decided to walk the 4 miles back to Doune rather than bus in to Stirling and bus back to Doune. Off we went meeting some lovely couples on the way. Everybody was smiling again. It had been a horrible 24 hours when it should have been fantastic but was fantastic then. Is fantastic now. I just had to get out there and find hope again. To not let the bubble burst when the foundations are rocked so. It was a temporary setback from a seizure, that was all, that had an effect out of all proportion to the seizure itself but I beat it with 15 miles walked, a Heron and an overactive imagination!!

Thank you for having enough faith in me to sponsor me.

Yours aye