Day 141 has seen 7.2 miles walked meeting 14 incredible people from 4 countries as we climbed a magic mountain with an ascent of 1512 feet but sadly had the delightful post mountain high crushed by unnecessary anger. It has seen respects paid and the life celebrated of a wonderful man. Sadly it has also seen the return of the sort of partial seizure that lingers and a missed opportunity that led to another extraordinary meeting.

The Team (Allie and I) Took on Ben Aan!
The Team (Allie and I) Took on Ben Aan!

I had had enough of wall paper stripping and paperwork. I needed to get out on to the mountains and after a day in which my brain ceased to function felt that I needed to find somebody mad enough to escort me yet with enough empathy to be patient with me should I be struggling. I knew of just such a person who while working very hard on her PhD with deadlines to meet for a first year review board would also appreciate a break and the opportunity to climb her first mountain. One thing is for certain. That is if you meet someone called Dr they have certainly earned it. I could feel the weight of the burden on her shoulders so called Allie who lept at the opportunity.

So on Friday morning, after 1.7 Miles walked collecting a bag of rubbish, followed by breakfast and then morning prayer and a little organ practice I rushed back to the flat to get my kit all packed and ready for the mountains. I made a packed lunch for us both of the usual. Tuna mayonnaise with spinach, rocket and watercress salad and a veggie pick and mix bag of tenderstem broccoli, carrots, red grapes, cherry tomatoes and brazil nuts and not forgetting of course a flapjack each. Allie arrived bang on time and sadly had to wait while I finished getting everything organised in the chaos of a flat mid wallpaper stripping but after checking the weather forecast we were off. The diversion was still in full swing and was a little muddy but it did mean that we could still access the mountain while critical path works were being done to preserve the mountain route and make it safe. The weather was a little cloudy but high cloud so there should be a good view at the top but also allowed the sunshine to permeate through and light up our path up the mountain. It was a weekday so the mountain was quiet and devoid of people but this was Allie’s first mountain and as the summit looms large over the top of us as we broached out of the woodline it can be a little daunting. So to have the mountain to ourselves and be able to take our time gently climbing up the mountain and negotiating the rocky stretches strewn with daunting boulders was a real luxury and Allie tackled the physical and emotional challenge brilliantly. We hit the bit where the steepness of the path and the size of the objective looming large above you can often claim the unexperienced hill walker who succumbs to the apparent enormity of the physical challenge and looses the mental battle of wills in the face of such odds and instead sits on a rock, places their head in their hands and sobbing, convinces themselves that they can’t do it. The reality is that the climb is eminently achievable on this baby mountain but is daunting to look at as it looms so high above you. Allie stuck her chin out, gritted her teeth and resolved to press on, hauling herself up the roped muddy sections and climbing the mountainside boulder by boulder most brilliantly. We were definitely going to make it up and did so easily.

However we were missing something and as we climbed I longed for people to introduce the challenge to and as has happened each and every time I have climbed this mountain the magic mountain produced people by the bucket loads. Not just any old people but brilliant, lovely, smiley, engaging people who wanted to hear a story from this mad man offering to take their picture then accosting them with a piece of paper on a mountain!

This was Allies first mountain!
This was Allies first mountain!

At the top I did my usual and offered to take photographs for couples full of life having climbed to the top and admired the views over Loch Katrine. And in so doing we met Sjoerd (Pronounced Shurd) and Marije (Maaria) who were a delightful couple over on holiday from the Netherlands and I am quite sure that they will enjoy their glass of wine while they watch a video. I very much hope that they come to join me. As they started their descent we had lunch and as I sat eating lunch the gasses started to build. It must have been something that I had eaten at some point in the last two days but I couldn’t fathom what but what I did know was that an enormous amount of gas was building in the system. I had no choice but to let it go or explode, so I let it go hoping that it would release in a gentle and silent exhalation. No. It echoed around the mountain tops like a Swiss trumpet and turned the heads on the other side of the mountain of Callum from Edinburgh and Shane from Reading. I was ashamed by my manners so wandered over to apologise profusely for disturbing their peace so and then in so doing blamed the vegetables, then found myself having to explain why I was eating so much raw vegetable matter. I introduced them to the challenge and very much hope that they come to join me too. So photographs done we started our descent in which poor Allie showed the patience of a saint but then I will never raise the awareness of the challenge unless I seize every opportunity to introduce the challenge personally because I think that it is in having met someone and seen the passion by which they follow a particular path that attracts you to it. Otherwise I am just another hard luck story. So in line of sight I spotted four young people taking photographs. I had a good feeling about them so popped over to offer to take a photo and sure enough found myself introducing the challenge to Cassandra, Vinora, Raymond and Brian from Australia. They were a delightful group of people who appeared to be spell bound by my story. I loved meeting them and very much hope that they come and join me on the journey too. So we pushed on and just as we did we had to step aside off of the path to let a group of 7 or 8 come up the steep slope. Stopping to wait for the others next to me was Andrew McIntyre who engaged me in small talk while we waited and seemed pleasant so I seized the opportunity to introduce him to the challenge. Next thing I knew he was stuffing £20 into my hand! Then below us there was further excited chatter. Allie had been telling the rest of the group what I was talking about and then Diederick comes up to me and stuffs £20 into my hand as well! They were from Belgium and were friends of Andrew and Yasmine. It was such a delight meeting them all and again I very much hope that they do come and join me on the journey and help me to raise awareness. As we continued on our way back down the mountain, carefully picking our way down the rocky path, we saw some primroses hidden in the cleft of a rock. They were thriving in the shelter of the rock and brought to mind the peace and strength of the shelter we can find in God’s presence and that Allie reminded me about in Psalm 91 – ‘He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.’ The magic mountain had yet again delivered such wonderful people and experiences by the bucket load so we completed our descent in high spirits. Sadly though, as we changed out of our boots and into shoes for the journey home I heard angry shouts and looked up to see a large German man berating a poor gentleman from the Forestry Commission because he was upset that the detour was muddy. It finished as quickly as it flared with the Forestry Commission guy very sensibly driving off. It was pointless trying to defend his corner which needed no defence. The detour kept the Mountain open. Yes it was across boggy ground but unless you wanted to walk an additional 7 kms there was little option. So you got muddy boots. This was the countryside in Scotland. Hello!!!! This was clearly no way to behave and brought a really sour note to what had been a gloriously muddy day. This was the first example of negativity and such blagrant aggressiveness that I had witnessed in the last 140 days of the challenge and it sucked the spirit right out of me. Whereas like a leech I feed and grow in strength on positivity. Negativity has an equal and opposite effect. But again there was little we could do so drove off and celebrated Allie’s first mountain with a Mocha in the delightful Brig O Turk Café.

Five wonderful people from Australia who were also climbing Ben Aan today
Five wonderful people from Australia who were also climbing Ben Aan today

So back home after it was time to cook tea. Leeks, courgettes and tomatoes in cream with fresh basil and served with pasta, parmesan cheese and rocket, spinach and watercress salad. Then it was time for a haircut. Viktor came over and did a great job while even better. Allie washed up! I had fallen asleep as Viktor cut my hair so he woke me to ensure all was well before he headed home. I was exhausted but had lots to do. I was heading to the Celebration of the life of Robert Patterson, a friend from the village and with whom I shared a passion for youth and the development of. Robert had left a great impression on me as we walked our dogs in the Ponds in the village and chatted about my ideas for the Future Nation Foundation. He gave me much food for thought based on his extensive 35 years experience as a teacher and I wanted to go to Dunblane Cathedral to say thank you. I needed to iron my shirt and polish my shoes but before that I needed to pray. I needed to practice the organ to train the brain so I headed down to Church and invited Allie to come and pray with me before heading home. I was feeling very jaded but always felt refreshed and invigorated by prayer and my organ playing seemed to improving slowly so I thought that I would benefit from praying and praying with another person seems to focus the power of the prayer somewhat. It did. It was a lovely and very focused few minutes of prayer and I even felt improvement in the fourth tune that I was trying to pull out of the depths of the memory but it was time for Allie to head home and I needed to try and tape up some cardboard across my bedroom window to stop the morning light from waking me at 5 in the morning. I wanted to be in good form for Robert’s service. I needed to be in good form. I needed to sleep. Sleep properly as I was becoming more and more tired.

Andrew and Yasmine whom I met on the climb
Andrew and Yasmine whom I met on the climb

Saturday morning saw a mile walked around the Roman Fort but it also saw the start of what has been a most difficult day as the tides of a seizure that wouldn’t let go swept in and out of my day. I had taken my anti seizure pills as usual and was doing well on the walk but as I carried the Sainsburys shopping bag of rubbish that I had been collecting I suddenly stopped and spun around thinking I had dropped it. But as I spun so did the bag that then spilled the top half of it’s contents back on to the ground. I hadn’t dropped the bag. It was firmly hooked around my fingers but then I realised that my hand had gone numb. I couldn’t actually feel whether or not I was holding the bag. I could only tell by looking. I couldn’t tell if my hand was open or closed. I had lost completely my sense of touch in the left. My lips started to tingle and my eyes became blurry again with all depth perception being lost. I was working hard to try and ignore it. I decided to pick some rubbish from the side of a bank above the Castle approach road. I concentrated hard on breathing good deep breaths. I concentrated hard on placing each step so as not to fall and I concentrated hard on what my left hand was doing but slowly but surely my goldfish lips returned. I tried to sing a small song to take my mind off of things but couldn’t speak. It was time to head home. So I climbed up off of the bank and headed for home attempting to fix a smile for those that passed. I waved my right hand at a villager in the distance and then spent an awfully long time stood at the rubbish bin trying to get the bag of rubbish through the opening. A task I perform every day. But today I was mostly pouring the contents of the bag back onto the floor outside the bin. I was struggling. I was aware that I was struggling but there seemed to be little that I could do about it. Eventually I had managed to transfer all the rubbish into the bin so headed for the flat but then I had a real problem. My keys were in my left hand pocket. I couldn’t operate my hand with any dexterity and couldn’t feel anything. This was a real challenge. I had reasonably tight jeans on and couldn’t get the fingers of my right hand in to my pocket and couldn’t even get my left hand into my pocket. I had taken my wellies off and put my slippers back on but I couldn’t get my keys out. I was stuck outside the flat but didn’t want to ring a neighbour for help when I couldn’t speak with goldfish lips and a swollen tongue. I had only just moved in and didn’t want to scare any of them. I paced in the entrance hall helplessly as I hoped that somebody would come out through the door as I tried to fish out my keys with my right hand while my left hung uselessly. I leant against a wall to force my right arm over a bit more and that was just enough to grab the keys. They caught on the way out so tumbled out of my grip and fell to the floor but at least I could get in now. All I had to do was pick up the keys. My balance had gone with my eyesight going all blurry. Suddenly I wasn’t sure if I could get down to pick up the keys and up again. A manoeuvre I again would normally carry out without issue. IN fact I am very proud of the way in which I had managed to train the brain to take on the balance function with the help of friends but when the brain isn’t working properly neither is my balance. I tried with my litter picker but was struggling to grab the pouch with my keys in. I held on firmly to the top of the letter boxes and using that as an anchor lowered myself down to the floor. Crawled feebly and rather wobbly over to the keys. Grabbed them in my right hand and then shuffled backwards to the letter boxes. Grabbed the top and steadied myself as I stood up. Pleased to have them but feeling greatly humiliated by my disability. I struggled to get the key in the door but got it in and got through the entrance. Up the stairs and then at my door thought I would push it further, train the brain and try and open the door left handed. I dropped the keys and so using the wall as an anchor lowered myself to the stairs outside my flat door. I sat on the stair and holding on to the bannister fished for my keys with my foot. Got them with my left heel and dragged them over. Now I was almost blubbing with frustration but kept it together and determined to try again. All I could hear was mum saying to me over and over and over again, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try and try and try again.’ So I bloody well did and this time got the left hand working sufficiently to get the door open. I felt sloth like, cumbersome and slow but also extremely thirsty. I poured myself a glass of water which then slipped into the bowl in the sink through my left hand. I poured another and with the right hand took the glass to my lips. It shook slightly as I took a sip and then I dropped the glass back into the sink as I turned and spluttered the water across the kitchen. I couldn’t swallow. I choked on water from a glass. I suddenly realised that I couldn’t eat. I would have to wait before I could have breakfast. I went to get changed into my suit and stuff for the service and as I did so prayed hard. In fact pleaded for mercy, begged for mercy. Begged to be spared anymore humiliation. Begged to be allowed to eat. Give us this day our Daily Bread I muttered angrily. What was the point if I couldn’t eat it. ‘Oh Lord please let me eat then I can come and say thank you.’ My throat and lips were still buzzing but seemed a little less constricted so I got out my oaty cereal mix and a banana, some coconut milk, some flaxseed and some blueberries and made my usual breakfast but with extra milk to help it go down more easily. I sat. Scared to take the first bite and felt so alone again. I turned on the radio for company noting that my sense of touch was now back completely in the left hand. So I ate. Gingerly and slowly as I tried to normalise myself while trying to listen to whatever it was on radio 4. I had enough to eat and with time twindling fast and the seizure passing I headed to church for a short session of prayer and organ practice. I felt more stable as I walked and managed to unlock the church with no issue but now I had a nagging headache. So I prayed and asked to be healed. I changed the Lord’s Prayer. No longer deliver me from evil. Instead the evil was the disease so now it is deliver me from this disease and then pleaded hard Lord have Mercy, Christ have Mercy, Lord have Mercy. Then I asked that Robert be resting in peace and that his family would be coming to terms with the pain of his passing but remembering all the happy times that they had together. Then I suddenly realised that I had changed the Lord’s prayer and thinking it a silly thing to do in case I made God angry for going against his teaching through his son Jesus Christ. So I was on the organ and trying to play the music to Lord have mercy. It came out okay so I tried the tune I had been trying to master last night. It was okay but I couldn’t shake the headache. It was time to get back. I shut down the organ again, locked up the church and headed for home. I had this post to write and not having a licence and not wanting to ride my bike in my suit I had to cover 14 miles to travel 3. Bus to Stirling then train back to Dunblane. All because the old A66 Dunblane bus was cancelled. That meant that I was going to arrive an hour earlier than I needed to so I took my computer to do some work on the post that was so well over due. Once in Dunblane though and the tide came back in bringing back the seizure. The fuzziness never quite left me but the headache did so I thought that I was on the mend. But when sat in the Riverside with a decaf Mocha to try and cheer myself up I turned on the computer and realised that I was having to look at the Computer sideways to be able to write. I struggled on but had suddenly become dyslexic. Every sentence written was underlined in red and blue so I had to go back over each sentence very slowly to find then correct the errors. It was slow progress and before I knew it it was time to go to Church. In fact I was almost late. I paid quickly as my computer shut down and then fast walked up the street. Then I needed the loo so popped into the church hall for a wee so I wasn;t sat in a pew jiggling my legs then walked into the Cathedral and got a grasp of what a truly wonderful man Robert was. I knew he was great with a shared empathy but then I stood and surveyed the Cathedral. There wasn’t an empty seat and as I wandered down towards the front searching for a pew that might be able to squeeze me in I realised that almost the entirety of Denny High School. His pupils and former pupils had all turned out. On a Saturday. Wearing their school blazers to pay their respects. I was excited by what I saw and found a seat by squeezing up some pupils in a pew. As I waited I could hear the pupils reminiscing about Robert’s teaching and his antics in the school. They clearly loved this man and it was a joy to behold.

Diederick, Vera and Hilda
Diederick, Vera and Hilda

It was Melanoma that took Robert but my goodness he lived each and every one of his 61 years to the full. As I sat there I suddenly understood the reason Christine was so buoyant when I dropped by to present my letter of condolence. Robert was now at peace and rather than mourning the years they have lost together we were here celebrating all the many happy and wonderful years that they had had together.

We were reminded of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 which spoke so clearly of the strengths that Robert brought to his many passions through his love of teaching, of youth and of his family and his friends.

‘If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’ Robert’s son Adam’s Eulogy was brilliantly inspired and beautifully delivered along with that of Robert’s school Rector. I had been so captivated by what I was hearing that I had suffered no further seizure activity.

We sang the final hymn and as we did so I felt so very inspired by what I had heard. Robert had inspired me so in life as we chatted through my ideas walking through the ponds and inspires me still.

As we sung I prayed:

‘Make me a channel of your peace. 
Where there is hatred let me bring your love. 
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord 
And where there’s doubt, true faith in  you.

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console 
To be understood as to understand 
To be loved as to love with all my soul. 

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope 
Where there is darkness, only light 
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.

Make me a channel of your peace
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned 
In giving of ourselves that we receive 
And in dying that we’re born to eternal  life.

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope 
Where there is darkness, only light 
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.

Sjoerd and Marije - I met so many engaging people on the mountain today!
Sjoerd and Marije – I met so many engaging people on the mountain today!

After the service I bade farewell and headed for the train station. Another 14 miles to cover and but was feeling completely drained. There were a number who I could have asked for a lift from but felt that I just needed some space, some time to reflect and some time to write the post. I found the time. Sadly an individual had flung themselves under a train so all trains were cancelled until further notice. I prayed for the poor sole and hoped that his pain had now ceased and that his family will not suffer too greatly as a result of the loss of their loved one in such harrowing circumstances. Then I headed for the bus stop to discover that the buses weren’t running due to the work on the bridge over the river. I did not want to waste money on a taxi so sat and started to write the post but as I did so the tide came in again. It must have been a spring tide with a following wind because it washed huge waves of buzzing sensations over me. Buzzing bees under the skin, metallic sensations, tastes and smells, a headache again and a slight nausea. I stopped writing my post. I couldn’t concentrate so sat quietly in the corner of the station feeling utterly appalling. I was trembling very slightly but trembling I was but then salvation came in the form of a 5 year old girl. An announcement came on. We only had to wait 15 minutes for a train that wasn’t due to stop but was now going to stop to collect us on it’s way through. Awesome but this young lady did not want to wait 15 minutes. ‘That’s forever she sighed.’ I had to engage with her even if it was just to save myself I thought that it might help inspire her in Maths for the future. I looked at the Mother who seemed to understand what I was thinking through my blurred eyes and then I heard myself asking her, ‘How old are you?’ ‘Five’ She replied. ‘Well then 15 minutes is just the tiniest amount of time compared to how long you have been alive.’ ‘No it’s not’ she retorted eyeing me defiantly. I accepted the challenge and all those tides of despairing emotions, tastes and smells just rushed out with the tide again. I was left, sat on the bench with a computer on a knee and a challenge set by a 5 year old. I thought that I could hear the water from the tide dripping off of the bench but then I realised it was the cistern in the staff toilet next to which I was sat. ‘So how many days are there in a year?’ I asked. She turned to her Father who counted through the months with her. ’11 she replied!’ She counted again. ‘Twelve!’ She exclaimed with an annoyed with herself shake of the head. ‘So how many days in each month are there?’ I asked. She shrugged her shoulders. ’Normally 30 I replied so if we multiply the number of months by the number of days in a month we get 360 days. 5 months have 31 days so that is 365 days in a year.’ She looked at me quizzically as if to say. Where are you going with this. ‘How many hours are there in a day?’ I asked. She looked at me. ’24’ I whispered. ‘24’ she replied and so we continued along that vane with each time the numbers on the calculator on the computer getting bigger and bigger and bigger. The excitement grew as we worked out how many minutes this young lady had been alive for as 2,628,000 minutes. Wow her eyes lit up and then the train arrived. That spared me from the next bit. The hard bit. ‘So now you have experienced how fast 15 minutes can go when you are busy it is really just the blink of an eye in your lifetime isn’t it?’ The Father grabbed her hand as she looked at me confused but I was ecstatic that I had managed to stave off yet another seizure just by trying to teach a young girl Maths! As I folded up my laptop I noticed the fizziness in the lips again but off to Stirling we went. Then it was on the bus back to Doune. I was fuzzing again so I needed to go to the gym. I wanted to do a cross training aerobic circuit to blow the seizure away but didn’t want to be running on my own in case something happened. I just wasn’t sure. So I packed my bag and walked to the bus stop. Caught the bus to Callander and walked up to the leisure centre stopping to say hello to the wonderful Duncan and Sarah McLay who cheered me up no end saying how well I looked despite feeling decidedly marginal as we talked. I kept catching myself looking at the floor to try and keep my balance as we spoke. I seemed to loose my vision as I looked them in the eye so I apologise Duncan and Sarah if I appeared a little distracted at all through our conversation. I was a little but not by you. Your wonderful welcome in fact was particularly timely and your warmth helped secure me in the here and now considerably. I reached the leisure centre to discover that it closed at 5pm at the weekend. I had just missed it by a country mile. So I walked back down to Callander irritated by the wasted journey and as it was past 5pm the Deli Ecosse was going to be closed as well. Then I discovered Apple Jacks and opted for a tea. Drank my tea writing some more of the post but again found myself looking sideways at the computer. The tide was coming back in. I switched off the computer and stood. I needed some air I thought. I felt drawn outside. I thought that I should go and wait at the bus stop. It was drizzling ever so slightly and there was no shelter but a man was sat on the bench and I felt drawn to him. I walked over and asked if I could sit with him. He asked if I was on holiday to which I replied no. I had just had a wasted journey from Doune as the gym was shut. Then he replied that he had just had a wasted journey to come and see his Uncle only to find that he wasn’t in. We sat there in silence for a moment and then I got quite a strong feeling that I should tell him about the challenge. So I reached for a flyer from my jacket, handed it to him and told him about the challenge asking him to help me to raise awareness if he likes it. I was struggling to shake the seizure still but spoke through it with only one or two trips over words. Then I discovered why I felt the pull to speak to him. Scott James’ Mother was fighting Leukaemia but better than that. She appeared to be beating it using Physical Exercise as one of her foils against the disease. At 59 she has recently returned from an expedition to the Himalayas in which she climbed to the base camp of Mount Everest!! I was flabbergasted and as we spoke Scott repeatedly reassured me that he was going to do all he could to help me raise awareness. It wasn’t a wasted journey after all. Then the bus arrived.

Back home I took some more anti seizure pills and set out around the castle to litter pick on a 1.5 mile route and stave off the seizure. It didn’t work despite working up a sweat cleaning up a steep bank above the Ardoch Burn. The tide came in again so with a bag full to bursting I cut the walk short and headed for home. I got home. Got in and washed my hands while also examining my teeth in the mirror. They suddenly felt as if they were going to just fall out. As if my gums had just suddenly receded. They felt secure on examination but the sensation was most peculiar. I started cooking as experience through treatment told me that cooking while feeling dreadful often made me feel better, perhaps because having to concentrate while cooking was enough to distract the mind. Whatever the reason it made me feel better so I went for it. Cauliflower Macaroni with Chicory Salad and insane dressing. Yep. It was another Jamie Oliver Recipe so inanely complex in the wonderful blend of ingredients and a real challenge to prepare.. The tide came in while I was preparing the ingredients. Only a neap tide this time so just lapped at the edges but meant that the art of cooking took me forever as I had to read and re read and re read because I just couldn’t make simple instructions stick in my head even for a minute. So I kept the heat down and cooked slowly. Pancetta, cauliflower and broccoli, cheddar cheese, seeded bread for breadcrumbs, fresh rosemary, garlic, crème fraiche, parmesan and macaroni with a salad of chicory with a wild dressing made of fresh basil, garlic, anchovies, Dijon mustard, natural yoghurt, red wine vinegar and capers all blended together in a liquidizer. It was a completely delicious powerhouse and helped settle me for a while. I finished 4 hours ago but settled down immediately to write this post as it was so over due but then the tide crept back in. I have gone over it time and time again but seizure induced dyslexia had meant that I had clearly struggled to string sentences together so if it makes little sense I apologise. It should be okay but as I post this at 1:15 am I really have no idea what I am looking at any more. My hands are fizzing again so I must go to bed and try and sleep this unforgiving tide, that makes the simplest of tasks so very difficult, away.

Here we met Shane and Callum also on Ben Aan
Here we met Shane and Callum also on Ben Aan

So the Challenge in numbers since the start:

Days completed: 141
Total Miles Cycled: 659
Total Miles Walked: 727.4
Total Miles Run: 102.3
Total Miles Paddled: 7
Total Distance Cycled, Skied, Run and Rowed in the gym: 29.9
Total Distance Swum: 2,740 metres
Total Miles covered under own steam.1,667.3
Total Height Gained under own steam: 52,203 feet
Mountains Climbed: 6
Hills Climbed: 22
Days of Voluntary Activity: 8.5
Organ tunes learnt and performed: 5
Salmon Caught: 0!
Bats Found:0!
Curling Matches played in: 8
Curling stones placed on the button (the centre of the target): 3
Weight Training Sessions: 12
Weight shifted: 10kgs lifted over 318metres or 6360kgs moved over ½ a metre,
Aerobic Circuit Sessions: 7
Press Ups: 506
Pull Ups: 88
Sit Ups: 771
People Met and Hands Shaken: 421
Pots of tea shared: 29
Prayers joined on the top of a hill: 2
Prayers joined in the street!: 4
Prayers joined in a Train Station: 1
Prayers joined in a Café: 1
Pills popped: 812
Days until Driving Licence (lost to epilepsy) possibly Returned: 730 (Re-set as a result of today’s seizure)
And most important of all – Money Raised as at Day 126 – £6,710.77

Considering I started this challenge 6 months 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. That is £53.26 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. May I also ask however that if you are not sponsoring me to please consider it for as much or as little as you can afford. My rate of revenue raising has slowed from £70.00 a day to £60.00 a day to £53.26 a day so please sponsor me and encourage your friends to as well.

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 for joining me on my own personal journey and encouraging me to walk, cycle, climb, paddle, sport and do good deeds each day to ‘Beat the Beast’ while helping to improve the lives and life chances of so many more people through sponsorship. The Five Charities that I have selected to support are:

  1. Cancer Research UK – My Father Succumbed to Lung Cancer; a couple of friends are currently fighting cancer and I am fighting a brain tumour. Let’s Help to Beat Cancer Sooner.
  2. The Prince’s Trust – Inspiring and preparing disadvantaged Young Lives for success.
  3. British Red Cross – helping those in need around the UK and the world whoever and wherever they are.
  4. World Wide Fund for Nature – For a Living Planet and a Future Where People and Nature Thrive.
  5. Help for Heroes – Support for our Wounded and their Families. To learn more about my story that brought me to this point, how I plan to ‘Beat the Beast’, what activities I plan to do within the challenge and why, please see my welcome video on this page.

How to Sponsor Me

The Beat the Beast Challenge is self funding through my own contribution while keeping costs to a minimum with voluntary support and corporate sponsorship in kind. Therefore the entirety of every penny donated will go directly to the 5 charities listed above.

Please sponsor me by completing a standing order form either through your own personal internet banking or by completing a hard copy standing order form in your branch of your bank and then handing it in to the teller.

It is entirely up to you how much you would like to and are able to sponsor me for so do please give as much or as little as you can. Every penny will be very gratefully received.

While I hope you will encourage me to keep going by sponsoring me for every day I survive and am able to find the cognitive and physical capability to complete a day’s task designed to improve my chances of ‘Beating the Beast’ or improving the lives of others, 5 days a week, four weeks a month, for as long as ever I can. Any One off Cash contributions will be most gratefully received and distributed in exactly the same manner to the five charities as the sponsorship. Any one off donations can be made by BACS or cheque.

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

Yours aye