“35 miles – easy. It’s not far….!”

Since the flooding to the Museum staff have been trying to think of ways to raise much needed funds to re-open. So when a suggestion of a ‘staff challenge’ was muted we all thought, “GREAT!”. So we set about thinking what is possibly challenging enough…?

We came to the conclusion that the most fitting and appropriate challenge would be to walk the 35 mile Gustav Holst Way. It starts at Cranham and travels through important places in Holst’s life to Wyck RIssington – where he had his first job.

“35 miles – easy. It’s not far….!” I thought, I said, I wrote. How wrong could I be?

On Wednesday, we did the first stretch of the walk 5.7 miles (Cranham to Wyck Rissington). We met at The Royal William pub. We started walking, my colleagues trying to ‘jivvy’ me on and cheer me up. (I should say now, I am not a walker, I’m more suited to swimming relentless lengths in a pool or splashing around at Water) “You might become a walker!”, “You’ll enjoy it!”. “Maybe.” I thought. That was until we reached the first huge hill BEFORE the official start of the walk! “Maybe not!” I thought.

Making up that hill, down others, through tiny, overgrown footpaths I began to wonder, “I just see grass, mud, trees and slopes, why do the others love this?”. We trekked on intermittently confused by which way we should go and, of course, took a few wrong turns. Resulting in a panicked call to the author of the Gustav Holst Way book. Eventually, we found our way back and continued along the route.

As we walked we saw a few beautiful views of Cheltenham and the Cotswolds, but they were few and far between. So few and far between that the intense pain in my hips and feet (which were tied up in new, hard, uncomfortable boots) were taking over my every thought and each step. After every small decent there seemed to be a huge hill to climb! I suppose I should have expected it, as we were in the Cotswolds after all! The nothingness also played on my mind – I’m happy to swim alone in a pool, but with others around me, making noise and doing their own thing. The woods felt bleak and lonely, no noise, little movement.

Once we got to the Crickley Hill Visitor Centre I knew I was done for the day. My feet – burning, my hips – aching, my hands and ankles – swollen and bruising. The realisation began to hit of the extremity of the challenge. I haven’t walked further than to take the dogs for a walk, I don’t actually enjoy the ‘beautiful outdoors’ and, in frank honesty, I’m not fit. I’ll attempt the challenge with everything I have, but I’m scared and nervous.

Keep up with Facebook and Twitter to find out how we’re doing next Friday and Saturday.

To sponsor us on our monumental challenge visit our Crowdfunder page.

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