1100 miles, 5000 photos and the wrong trousers

After 11 weeks and 5 days away from home, I’ve successfully completed my solo circumnavigation of Wales. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s a small country!

On the way I’ve seen some fantastic places, met some lovely people, and gained loads of great memories. A stack of clichés, I know, but all true. It really was an amazing experience.

From the very first day walking, I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the kindness and support that’s been shown to me. Not only by my family and friends, but also by a large cast of (at least initially!) complete strangers – many of whom I’m now very glad to count as new friends. Thank you all very, very much indeed – you’ve given me a real appreciation for the generosity and warmth of the human spirit. Without your help, I simply would not have made it round in one piece.

Over the next few weeks this website will see some further updates including a long and heartfelt list of specific thank-yous (there are already lots on the Thanks page, but they’ll be added to!). There’ll be some more info about the gear I used and how it stood up to 1100 miles of hard usage, a few more blog posts to fill in the gaps in the ‘walk story’… and I’ve also got about 5000 photos to sort through, one or two of which are pretty decent!

Of course, one of the major reasons for setting out to Walk Wales in the first place was to raise money for Cancer Research Wales. So far my total fundraising amounts to around £6,500 including Gift Aid – some way from my original target of £20,000 but a respectable figure nonetheless. There’s still a lot of sponsorship to come in so hopefully that number will grow substantially over the next few weeks – and I’ll be looking for ways to boost the total with follow-on activities too. If you’ve yet to make your donation, please do so via the Donate page.

In the four days since I finished walking, I’ve mostly been:

  • avoiding walking anywhere… particularly in walking boots!
  • catching up on emails, post and sleep, and
  • sorting out the fact that none of my trousers fit any more.

Today was the first day back in work and, to be honest, it was harder than I expected. I kept getting up from my desk and walking in circles around the room… and this evening I Went For A Run. Anyone who knows me even half-well will recognise the significance of that statement – something weird has happened to me. Hopefully it’s for the best.

I’ll close this little blog with the two most important thankyous of all.

Firstly, to my beautiful and very, very patient wife Tasha – she’s been at my side, physically or mentally, every step of the way. In my first blog post I mentioned some of the roles she’d be landed with – she fulfilled all of those and more, and without a word of complaint. It turns out I am very lucky indeed.

Secondly, to my Dad. His work helped to give Wales the world’s first walking trail around the shape of a nation; his loss gave me the will to go and discover it.

I think he’d be surprised that I made it all the way round – but I hope he’d be pretty chuffed.