Sunday, 19 April 2015

There And Back Again.

"I'm doing a virtual walk," she said, "you should join in too." And so I did. 609 miles; Lands End to John O'Groats as the crow flies. Turns out, it's quite addictive. Slump in front of the television in the evening, or watch the same programme, but from the saddle of an exercise bike? Drive into town, or walk? Sit in a café with knitting, or go for a walk? Well, both actually. 

Brownsea Island, a very good place to make a beginning. 

And so we walked. And cycled, and I chased my friend up virtual hill and down virtual dale, sometimes up real hills together and with her chaos beasts. 
And before I knew it, I'd logged 609 miles, and received a lovely shiny medal from the lovely people at the Lands End to John O'Groats Virtual Walk Facebook page. I'm sorry, I can't link from my phone, and the computer isn't behaving, so I can't write this there; maybe if I have a reader left they'd post links in a comment? 
What next? Well, turns out we left the virtual car at Lands End, so what else, but to turn around and walk the back the Long Way; 874 virtual road miles. 
More silliness with dogs, 
Cold miles under canvas, 
Warmer miles with random high tech gps thingies, 
Very cold miles walked in the rift between Europe and American tectonic plates, 

And the final 874th mile of the return journey 
Celebrated with afternoon tea 
And another rather fine medal 

We have, between us, walked and cycled around 3000 miles. Which is ridiculous! We have, between us, lost something over 7 and a half stone (over 100lbs for my American friends). And we have had week after week where the weather has been good. Almost a year of fine weather whenever we walked, and wet days only ever when it turned out there was a very good reason for not being out of phone signal range. Every time it has rained, there's turned out to be a reason for it. But every time we've needed a walk, the weather has been kind to us. And an extra loving God sending gentle showers just at the right time to help us decide between longer walks or cafés on tiring days. 

So what's next, I hear you ask? Well, we've signed up for another virtual walk. But, we have created our own too. You see, like me, Alison has experienced the death of a child. Her son Andy died two years ago. Her oldest daughter Debbie decided to create a charity in his memory. 

Andy loved tambourines. And so Andy's Beat sends tambourines around the world, to disabled and disadvantaged children so that they can enjoy the things which brought Andy such joy. It's a little thing, but it's a really big thing - you can bang it, pay it, shake it, kick it, drop it, and it will make a noise. You can spin it, and catch sparkles from the metal, or stroke it, and enjoy the contrast between wood and parchment and metal. And if you're travelling somewhere and visiting a children's home or school, you can easily fit a few in your suitcase (please do contact Andy's Beat if that's you!). 

Andy's Beat ( has all the information and more. And our new challenge is the biggest yet. We are aiming to take a tambourine on a virtual walk around the world, visiting all the countries where tambourines have been sent in Andy's name. E

xtreme Tambourining, the Long Way Round. 50,6000 miles, sixty countries, and hopefully a lot of help! Because this isn't like the other virtual walks we've done. This doesn't require a commitment to a set distance. We just need lots of help. Anyone can sign up, whether as a family or a group, or as an individual or couple. Once you've bought a membership, just log your miles every week. Each week, the groups miles as a whole will be added up, and the tambourine will move on. It started on White Horse Hill, and it's already got to London. I believe this week it's crossing the channel. 

We believe this is a truly inclusive virtual walk; 2 miles or 200, it all counts.

So walk it with a friend, roll it from a wheelchair, but would you consider joining us and helping us to send even more tambourines across the world? Each membership sponsors a tambourine, gives you sweatbands, and there's even a medal at the end of it all! 



Alison M said...

I have enjoyed every mile of it! The sunshine, the soups (some of them memorable for all the wrong reasons!), the chaos of the mad hairy, and usually wet and muddy dogs, and the views. The loss of weight is still shocking, and the moments of deep conversation followed by inane silliness will never be forgotten! And now we start our new challenge! Bring it on!

This is the link to our Extreme Tambourining group on Facebook -

This is our website -

And this is the LeJoG which started it all -

It would be lovely to welcome you all to our Extreme Tambourining walk - it is very hard to describe how something so simple as a tambourine can make such a difference to a childs life, but the photos and videos over on the website show just how special it is. Every tambourine makes a difference. Please consider joining us.

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Linda said...

Fantastic! Congratulations to you both, and best wishes for your next venture.


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