Day 83 has seen 16 miles walked, more great people met and another great day spent chatting with a friend. 

Shaun and Tricia at the Leith Walkway Vistiors Centre
Shaun and Tricia at the Leith Walkway Vistiors Centre

It started early to be up and give Georgie a good 2 mile walk before Breakfast. Back to wake the children at 7am. Breakfast at 0730. Packed lunches distributed. Dog fed. Final check that the children were okay and instructions issued before catching the 0803am bus to Stirling. The bus was bang on time and gave me 10 minutes to buy my ticket and get to the platform. Perfectly long enough to witness a gentleman stop to help an older lady struggling to get up the stairs in front of him with her suitcase to another platform. The lady had broken her arm and was not long out of her cast so had a weaker arm. My train hadn’t arrived so there was nothing for it but to go and introduce myself and the challenge to this very kind gentleman. He was Graham Kelly. I very much hope that he comes to find me and join the journey. It would be great to have him on board. Onto the train to meet Allie at Edinburgh Waverley at 0934am. 

All worked perfectly so met Allie with time even for a Mocha before catching the bus to the start of the walk. 12.5 miles of the water of Leith walkway. It was a lovely walk with surprisingly gentle weather on surprisingly gentle and well kept paths. We walked and talked. Talked and walked before stopping at the excellent visitor centre at the half way point for lunch. I couldn’t, of course, leave the visitor centre without introducing the challenge to Shaun and Tricia. They were very receptive and I very much hope that they too come to join me on the journey.

Once reoriented we set off for the final 6 miles. There were some confusing twists and turns as we navigated through the charming canal and riverside architecture of Edinburgh so progress was slow but we were in no rush as we chatted about a multitude of subjects with the river making its way gracefully out towards the coast, runners and cyclists whistling past with smiles and rosy cheeks. Night fell quickly and we giggled as we bounced off each other trying to navigate the uneven path in the uncertain light of distant street lamps. I could have got my head torch out but we both felt that it would just spoil the fun and the adventure. So onwards we stumbled, the eerie silence of a city almost at slumber, broken only by the tinkling of a bicycle bell, the quaking of ducks and the giggling of 40 somethings banging into each other on the dark paths. Victoria bridge reached and we had finished the walk covering 13 miles in total but was never going to get to Waverley in time to catch the planned for 1833pm train. We popped in to a shopping centre for the loo before a messy accident occurred and made the next plan. I had missed the last bus from Stirling by missing the 1833 train so we could either do a Mocha and flapjack to catch the 1933 train and a taxi from Dunblane or have tea in Allie’s local deli the Porto & Fi in Newhaven before catching a bus to Waverley and the 2033 train & taxi. I was having such a good time and knew that the children were being looked after because I suspected that it was going to be tight to finish in time to get back for the last bus so had a plan in place. We walked the extra mile so 14 miles walked now in total. Went to Porto & Fi and had a great tea and a mocha.

Fed and happy we caught the bus for Waverley. With 15 minutes we had time for a final chat, an exchange of Christmas Presents and a lovely prayer from Allie before a quick thank you hug and making the Dunblane train. Allie thank you for such a lovely day. For sharing your thoughts with me and answering my questions and critiquing my ideas so honestly. It was a delight walking with you today.

There were one or two roudy customers on the train but they were dealt with quickly and efficiently by Donald the conductor who looked after us all so well. I hope that he too will come and join me on the journey as well as the two young men who were unfortunate enough to have me sit in front of them on the train!

Some of the notable architecture along the Leith Walkway
Some of the notable architecture along the Leith Walkway

As I waited in Dunblane for a taxi a good friend Viktor pulled up and offered me a lift. I called and cancelled the taxi and jumped in to be delivered home with a Christmas Card and Christmas wishes for the family. Thank you Viktor and Happy Christmas to you too.

So the challenge in numbers total since the start:
Days completed: 83
Total Miles Cycled: 477
Total Miles Walked: 416.5
Total Miles Run: 25.6
Total Distance Swum: 300 metres
Total Miles covered under own steam.920.1
Total Height Gained under own steam: 31,645 feet
Mountains Climbed: 5
Hills Climbed: 17
Days of Voluntary Activity: 5.5
Organ tunes learnt and performed: 5
Salmon Caught: 0!
Curling Matches played in: 4
Curling stones placed on the button (the centre of the target): 1
Weight Training Sessions: 8
Aerobic Circuit Sessions: 3
Press Ups: 188
Pull Ups: 48
Sit Ups: 188
People Met and Hands Shaken: 289
Pots of tea shared: 19
Prayers joined on the top of a hill: 2
Prayers joined in the street!: 2
Prayers joined in a Train Station: 1
Pills popped: 354
And most important of all – Money Raised as at Day 77 – £5,395.

Considering I started this challenge 12 weeks ago very quietly with no target beyond a fiver, thanks to the brilliant advice from a friend of mine, I am absolutely thrilled and again thank you all. So far that is £70.06 for each and every day that I have managed to find the will and energy to do something worthwhile and my goodness it has been worth it for my peace of mind, for my healing and for the five wonderful charities you are supporting through your generosity. Long may it continue.

Thank you all for your incredible comments and support. Please continue to spread the word.

If you see me around do please give a cheery hello and shake my hand or toot your horn and give a cheery wave to show your support and encourage me on.
Thank you

Yours aye