Sponsored Morecambe Bay Walk in aid of the Leeds Children’s Charity – an account by a member of the ‘Aviva Team’

Morecambe Bay Walk 2011 in aid of the Leeds Children’s Charity

I’m not going to lie, it was hard work and certainly not for the faint hearted, however, and I didn’t think I would be saying this, it was actually really good fun and im not sure if I speak for everyone when I say this but it’s definitely something I would do again!

I travelled down to Morecambe with Emma Yates and Katie ‘Piff Smith’. We got off to a bit of a shaky start, we were half to way Colne when we realised that none of us had written down the address of where we were meeting or printed off any directions. Yes, I know what you’re all thinking……… typical girls! I suppose I’ll give you that one.

Thankfully the I-phone came to use and we managed to trace Gibraltar Farm on Google maps, get the address and find a sat nav on-line to guide us there. Not so useless after all, hey!

We made it to the farm just in time after taking a few wrong turns (definitely the sat nav’s fault) and joined the others at the bottom of 3 very muddy fields to start our adventure.

We donned our walking gear, put on our rucksacks and lip gloss (you never know who you are going to meet) and made our way down the rocks on to the beach.

Walk through water

The wind was blowing against us on the first stretch which made it pretty difficult. The beach was full of puddles and soft sand practically the whole way so we all decided it would be easier to take off our shoes and do it in bare feet. As you can see in the picture above puddles was a bit of an understatement – they were huge!!

We walked for about a mile out into the middle of the beach where we were joined by a group of other walkers, I’d guess about 50 in total, who joined us for the rest of the walk.

Tractors and Quad bikes led the way and offered some support for those that needed it along the way. I’m very proud to announce that none of us needed this and we walked the full thing!

The walk was a total of 8.5 miles according to our guide. A lot of the walk was spent wading through water. At one point we had water up to our waists, there was absolutely no way of avoiding it or staying dry and rolling your pants up in the end was a waste of time. Although at the time we didn’t think it, the powerful wind we were walking against was actually a godsend because it dried our clothes out pretty quickly and kept us from freezing some vital parts off!

There were a couple of highlights that I think need a special mention.

1. Gary Cramby shorts! It was blowing a gale, we all had 10 layers on but Gary rocked up in a rather fetching pair of shorts. Joking aside, I think he might have known that we would be wading though the deep water and it turned out to be the perfect outfit!

2. Our own Bear Grylls!! Craig Ogara turned out to be a life saver, literally. At one point when we were wading through the waist-high water we passed over a patch of sinking sanding and a couple of people got stuck. As they started to panic they started to go down. Craig stayed calm and managed to pull them out and get them to the other side. I don’t think he got enough credit for what he did so again Craig a BIG well done!!

3. Piffs major overreaction! Whilst Craig was a perfect example of calm and collected, Piff on the other hand was far from it. In the highest pitched voice I have ever heard she started screaming at the passing tractors “HEEELLLLLPPPPPP, people are drowning, why are you not listening” and practically dragging me to the other side to safety even though I wasn’t stuck “Quick Kate, come on, we need to get out of here!!”. It still makes me laugh out loud thinking of it, Piff I thank you for being my entertainment.

4. Diane’s rocky road! When the walk was finished we all tucked in to some of Diane Chapman’s home made rocky road. Wow! That has to be my highlight.

Thankfully we all survived the walk unharmed and made it to Grange over Sands in approx 3 hours. We said our goodbyes to the others who were camping over for the night and jumped on our coach back to the car. The coach wouldn’t take us all the way back to the farm but one of guides offered to drive us back to save our legs. We jumped in his car, listened to snoop dog (strange choice of music for a 60yr old man) and tried out best to understand his very strong accent.

That was it. Done. Fineto.

The Morecambe Bay Walk takes place every couple of weeks on a Saturday and a Sunday and anyone can go along at anytime to take part, you can just do it for your own pleasure. Anyone at any age can do the walk, Gary’s kids aged 10 and 4 came along and were fantastic, Jack had a few rides on the tractor but walked a big chunk of the way and his daughter Emily didn’t sit down once, they were real inspiration for me, I kept thinking “if a 10yr old girl can do it, so can you”.

Thank you once again to everyone that sponsored us for doing the walk. If it wasn’t for everyone’s generosity, im sure not we would have got through it so easily!!

So many children have been helped by the money we have raised, I think in total we have over £1000 including the completion of the Aviva £ for £ matching scheme, a really brilliant donation to this fantastic charity.

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