I wanted to pass on my thanks to all of you who gave financial and moral support to me during my walk from Winchester to Bath . My goal was to raise both money for, and raise awareness of, the plight of homeless people.
Both objectives were achieved. Donors gave around £2,400 for the charity Shelter when including Gift Aid (UK taxpayers) which is a really excellent amount. It was so encouraging for me to see the donations tick up as I paced out my walk.
It was a hard exercise and my experiences of sleeping rough gave me a new insight into what it may mean to try to find somewhere relatively warm, dry and safe to sleep. I managed to sleep in a shed in Winterbourne Gunner, a church porch in Heytesbury in Wiltshire, and an abandoned caravan in the Frome valley. The distance was around seventy miles or 115 km and lasted just over three days. Each day brought new challenges which were mostly environment related, with a big variation from the leafy by-ways of Hampshire, to the slippery and muddy remoteness of Salisbury Plain, and finally the boggy ground of Somerset and Avon. In order to make my proposed arrival time of 11 o’clock Saturday morning I had to make use of an abandoned bicycle to get me the last six miles into Bath along the Kennet and Avon canal towpath.
It is still possible to donate via my Just Giving page here.
I was quite speechless when I finally arrived at Bath Abbey but felt an enormous sense of release and relief when a busker started to play the Soft Cell hit Tainted Love – see video!
Here are some pictures if you would like to look at them.
Once again thank you and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. All the best.
Good work Tom. Its fantastic when something can be raised from doing an enjoyable feat.
And of course it was enjoyable in its own way. Good to know you still read the blog Sean and enjoy the walk to Rome. Don’t forget to tell us about it.
70 Litres is a bit on the big side , how long were you out , 3 / 4 nights ?
Big bags just tempt you to pack more than you need IMHO , but chaque-un-a-son-Gout ,
My Dad’s idea of ” light travelling ” was 1x pair spare underpants + 1x pair spare socks in his coat pockets , along with his shaving kit and a small hand towel , and look at PLF’s 1930’s kit-list for his long walk east .
Granted , we have advanced our standards of personal hygiene since their heyday .
Quite right about the weight of the water though , carrying that is a killer .
My partial solution is to carry as little as I can possibly get away with , enough for about 2 days for drinking only at the minimum amount , so 2 litres , when in Greece , less here in the UK where sources are more plentiful .
I carry those little water sterilising tablets , they used to taste of bleach once upon a time , but they make them out of something else now which still kills the bugs but doesn’t make your tea foul .
And if you cut up a new pair of Tesco’s-everyday-value-Ladies-tights you can make a load of water strainers so you can get clean water even out of puddles , and they and the tablets weigh nothing .
If you boil that for your hot drinks and save your good stuff for cold sipping you could probably get by ( in the UK ) with carrying little more than a Litre .
The trick is to fill up at EVERY opportunity where you come across a source , and drink there too , so you keep yourself topped off , also take the opportunity for ( discreet ) Al-fresco washing and shaving as these arise , dont waste your precious bottled water for that. .
There are so very few people IN the countryside anymore , neither in the UK nor in Greece now , so usually there’s no-one to see or care if you have a quick scrub-up .
And I carry half a dozen of those little foil sachets with medicated paper wipes in , just in case ; – but I dont think I’ve had to use those in years of walkabouts .
(All the armies give their guys no more than one 2 pint bottle , often smaller , in WW2 only in extreme heat+humidity do you see people carrying more than one canteen ) .
Tom – Well done that’s an amazing amount to raise single handed. Photos very atmospheric but the video gets my vote – hilarious! 😀
Please keep up the good work on the blog, it’s so inspiring.
Thank you Sue and a Merry Christmas to you.
You need to work harder at travelling lighter Tom , damn great pack , what did you have in there , a boat ?
Like Pilgrim staggering about under his burden of Sin .
; — )
You can get ultra-light “silk” ( actually a silk+nylon mix ) sleeping sacks on-line ( from a guy in Hanoi ) now , the Aussies use them when touring the Far-East , I got what they call a Youth Hostel sack , and a Large ordinary one , one inside the other is warm most of the night for the hills in Crete , laying out on a mat , just have to pull your jacket up over your head to keep the pre-dawn dew off . and wear your fleece beanie hat .
Higher up in the mountains you’d need a proper bag though .
I have a cheapo Tesco’s fleece blanket I stitched into a bag , I used to use that for Spring+Autumn bivouacking on hill-country strolls in Greece ,
and the silk liners inside that make the bedroll plenty warm enough for late-spring to late-summer open air bivouacs here in the UK ( in fair weather of course ) ,
and I’m about to try them inside a very ordinary sleeping bag and my little shelter tent , on an upcoming stroll along the Peddars Way long distance footpath ( 60 miles or so ) here in Norfolk , because I’m bored with winter .
The mat I use now is an ex-army “self-inflating” thing from our local surplus stores , so the whole bedroll comes in at under 5 pounds .
And fancy nicking someones bike to complete your trip , you were in Somerset , not Liverpool ! Been reading too much PLF , I’d say .
Well done anyway , and have a happy Christmas and New Year .
Kalo sas Xristougenna !!!
Not quite as large or heavy as you think. Most of that was the rain cover bulked out by the sleeping map (self-inflating). Given how cold it was I had a three season bag, plus 2-3 layers and wore a duvet jacket as well. Not quite sure an ultra-light silk jobby would have done much good at minus 3. The rucksack is an Osprey 70l: quite the best sack I have ever used (and I have had many). I also had to carry food with me as I walked through some pretty barren parts of England and could never be sure where I would stop for the night. Water, enough of, and carrying too much, was the biggest problem. Even though it was winter I got through a few litres a day given the pace I was making and for brew stops. Certainly when I do my next Camino I will be taking a smaller sleeping bag.
Great – Well done Tom – when are you coming walking with me and Pete in Crete?
When you have something in mind Chris; or at least I will try. It would be fun. But I guess less mud!
Warm, rocky, great cuisine, donkeys, goats, snow on the high bits, wonderful people – what’s not to like! I am going in early March for a week – but will probably also go in early June for 2 weeks if you want to join me? Worth a thought!
June sounds good – possibly not the whole two weeks. We can chat at your talk at Waterstones in March? Which I will promote on here. In fact please email me details so i can get something ready to advertise in Feb.
Will do – and many thanks!
Fantastic, well done.
Some very familiar views in those photos as I used to live in Bath.
Best wishes and a merry Yuletide.