Day 158 has seen a brilliant weekend with the family some expert tuition on the harp and today 14 miles walked with 620 feet climbed.

It was Archie’s christening this last weekend which saw me down in Evesham to attend my Nephew Archie’s christening while catching up with the family and meeting friends. It was a wonderful weekend despite the rain in which both families got together and affirmed our intent to do our best to support Archie as he grows physically, emotionally and spiritually. I also managed to watch with pride as Archie was taken for his early morning swimming lesson with his awesome and very able synchronised swimming Mum Isla. As always a great occasion with much fun had by all and bottles fed by Uncle Archie and cuddles stolen with Archie and his new best friend Alexander. On the way back I stopped off in Worcester to meet up with a friend for an hour over coffee. Deborah was on top form and such fun to catch up with but I ended up staying for 5 and a half hours and it was all Rachel’s fault. This delightful 7 year old girl played for us the most wonderful piece of music on her harp. It was a Gaelic piece that I immediately recognised as being one of my favourite pieces of music. This arrangement was retitled a song for Charlotte and was played beautifully. In fact played so well that I became entranced. Could I learn a short song on the harp? I asked Rachel if she wouldn’t mind trying to teach me and was bowled over by the brilliance of the instruction I received. It was as if she had been instructed in the military teaching principle of EDIP. Explanation, Demonstration, Imitation and Practice. Rachel explained beautifully how the harp worked, what the principles of play and hand movements were, and then demonstrated the whole explanation with another wonderful tune. Another one I recognised and I started to fear that I was never going to meet Rachel’s high standards! So instead I suggested that I played the top line on the Piano as a sort of a duet of me on the Piano and Rachel on the harp. All went swimmingly and we had such fun trying to put it together and I was even complimented by being compared to her music teacher! I had great fun Rachel. Thank you.

Three Australians - Daniel, Georgia and Sophie
Three Australians – Daniel, Georgia and Sophie

Today was time for some challenge activity so I donned my boots and set off for two walks in Holyrood Park. I had volunteered to take some friends up Arthur’s Seat with their children this summer so wanted to go and refresh myself on the route up first. Sadly however the mist was holding on tight so there was absolutely no view and while I managed to navigate safely back down again with a map and compass in the thick mist I saw nothing of the surrounding landscape so will not have a clue where I am from visual references when I next go up!! But I did meet a delightful trio of Australians who were also braving the weather conditions so of course introduced Daniel, Georgia and Sophie to the challenge and I very much hope that they choose to join me on this journey.

Arthur’s Seat is a short walk so I then took on an additional 4 miles of the Radical Road from Duddingston climbing a further 460 feet. It was a great walk that again challenged my navigational skills through thick mist but made it with no errors.

Sadly however as I tackled the 3.5 mile walk back to a friend’s flat for tea my brain, tired after a day of testing navigation, froze. I found myself sheltering from the rain under a shop awning as I desperately, and with increasing frustration in the building rain, tried to orientate my map in an area of the city, that had more reference points from which one could orientate oneself that one could wish for. But this evening, I just couldn’t do it. Eventually I was rescued by my friend who came in on the bus to rescue me once I had spotted the St Pauls and St Georges church signpost and knew where I was.

I have a scan in hospital tomorrow and another meeting on Thursday so no post ‘til Friday.

Days completed: 158
Total Miles Cycled: 800.44
Total Miles Walked: 869.83
Total Miles Run: 126.33
Total Miles Paddled: 7
Total Distance Cycled, Skied, Run and Rowed in the gym: 42.17
Total Distance Swum: 4,180 metres
Total Miles covered under own steam.1,850.37
Total Height Gained under own steam: 71,908 feet
Mountains Climbed: 7
Hills Climbed: 28
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: 8
Press Ups: 599
Pull Ups: 14
Sit Ups: 864
People Met and Hands Shaken: 504
Pots of tea shared: 31
Prayers joined on the top of a hill: 3
Prayers joined in the street!: 4
Prayers joined in a Train Station: 1
Prayers joined in a Café: 2
Pills popped: 944
Days until Driving Licence (lost to epilepsy) possibly Returned: 709
And most importantly – Money Raised as at Week 42 – £8,278

Considering I started this challenge 10 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 £52.73 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.

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