Forty-three people (and one dog!) tackled the figure-of-eight walk, which included some vertiginous ascents and descents over the Ridgeway, stunning views of White Horse Hill, and refreshment stops in charming spring-line villages. Setting out at 8.15am from the Court Hill Centre on Saturday 24th June 2017, the last of the group returned at around 8pm the same day. The trail was challenging for some, who suffered rather phenomenal blisters, and less so for others – embarrassingly for the sufferers, the walkers in their 70s and 80s seemed to stroll comfortably to the end as if taking in a 22-mile hike was part of a normal day’s work! We are grateful for the support of Medical Officer Matt Dunckley, who patched up the damage along the route.
The walkers included several WATSAN trustees, our Patron Andrew Watson, Bishop of Guildford, and a large number of the congregation from St Peters Church in Bishop’s Waltham, who were preparing to embark on a visit to WATSAN’s projects in Uganda, as well as longstanding donors and supporters of all ages. We were ably supported by an indispensable team of volunteers proving an array of refreshments and homemade cakes at our break points at Kingston Lisle, and the lunch stop was generously provided at the home of friends of WATSAN Graham and Isobel Weller at Ashbury. On returning to Court Hill participants were treated to a slap-up celebration dinner lovingly prepared by two Cordon Bleu cooks, Becca Symes and her mother Camilla.
The weekend was also the chance for supporters to reconnect with the work of WATSAN, with a presentation on the Friday evening by our Chair Ian Bensted, who shared information about the current staff team in Uganda, and an update on the Rumbugu project. Thanks to the generosity of the walkers and their sponsors, this project has since been completed, and we have funds available for a much-needed replacement vehicle for the team to navigate the rather bumpy Ugandan roads. Without the latter, much of WATSAN’s work in the area would be impossible.
On Sunday morning a service was led by WATSAN trustees, including Ian Bensted and Andrew Maclean, and certificates were presented to the weary walkers. Thank you so much to everyone who took part – walkers, sponsors and support team. We are absolutely delighted with the record amount raised.
To see a collection of photos from the walk, please visit our Google Drive (where you can also add your own photos of the day, if you have a Google login).