By Paul Courtney
It was on a cold dark winters evening when I first read Harvey’s story on Facebook that my dream of walking The Pennine Way took its first steps to reality.
After reading Harvey’s story I was provoked into action and determined to do the walk with him and for him although we had never spoke or even met yet! Anyway what I had got to lose?
We weren’t friends so I couldn’t lose one but maybe at the end of it all I might even gain a new one.
For anyone that knows me or has played sport against me they me will know how fiercely competitive I am. So failing this challenge is not an option and I’m really excited and enthusiastic about helping turn Harvey’s challenge into a positive outcome.
Initially we spoke and pledged our commitment to the challenge that lay ahead and quietly went about our own training and exercise regimes.
I must admit it came as a bit of a shock to the system when Harvey suggested we should train with full 25lb packs. My pack seems heavier every time I pick it up but now I’m used to it I can hike 15 miles or so without any discomfort.
I met Harvey about a month ago when I had the opportunity to do a training walk of 11 miles with Harvey and his mum from his house.
Harvey’s mum will be joining us on the Pennine Way to do a walk of similar length. All credit to her, I really look forward to her company once again on the day hoping the weather will be as kind to us as before.
It was a wonderful experience to meet Harvey and his nearest and dearest and to be welcomed into their home. It was this that finally personalised everything for me.
After our initial get together we arranged another walk on the Pennine Way itself to get a feel for what lay ahead.
Once in Edale I felt the excitement and anticipation building up inside me although very much in awe of the challenge that we’re faced with.
The scenery in the dale is so much more dramatic and rugged and it was obvious that in whatever direction you walked would require a fair amount of strenuous effort to escape the lower reaches of the valley.
Walking is so much more tiring with hills in the way … how many will we have to climb??
Did I read somewhere we will have to climb more than the total ascent of Everest over the course of the Pennine Way!!!
It was on this second meeting that Harvey and I became more familiar with one another’s company. You know … friendly banter, sharing a few funny stories. Although at one point I’d made some witty comment about Harvey and he did say we have a word for you where we come from!! (which I won’t repeat lol)
And this was after Harvey had spent some time clowning around up to his waist in a peat bog and on subsequent occasions giving admiring glances to passing sheep.
I did some further training on the Pennine Way this last weekend with my friend Julie and it appears that since Harvey has introduced himself to the sheep they have now become overly friendly…
The countdown has begun and I’m entering the final stages of preparation for “Harvey’s Pennine Way Challenge.”
The run up to D-Day has required a lot of planning and preparation from both of us and it’s a huge relief that most of the arrangements are now firmly in place.
Maybe one more training walk and some cycling this week then a few days of rest before the big “off” on Sunday.
Some final adjustments of kit and if this weather continues more shorts and sunscreen will be required.
I’ll also be making one last push to boost the sponsorship kitty.
Initially I just signed up to do the walk but then decided to support Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research hoping to get at least a further £500 to put into the pot.
I’ve managed to surpass that figure this week so everything else will be a bonus. Many thanks to all who have supported me and donated towards the charity.
So without further ado I’d like to wish Harvey the best of luck for the walk and hope that it’s going to be the adventure of a lifetime for both us. I look forward to posting stories of our adventure as it unfolds over the following weeks…. Cheers!!!
By Paul Courtney