Giv­ing new mean­ing to ‘go­ing the ex­tra mile’

Talk of the Town - - News -

OST peo­ple are con­tent with go­ing for a walk in a park or along the beach. But this is not the case of Set­tlers Park res­i­dent David Boyd, who un­der­took the chal­leng­ing and well-known Camino walk in Spain on no fewer than five oc­ca­sions. The long­est of th­ese cov­ered a dis­tance of 470km.

This all started when Boyd and his late wife were in a doc­tor’s surgery pag­ing through a mag­a­zine when they came across a page ad­ver­tis­ing this fa­mous walk.

“This caught our imag­i­na­tion and we de­cided there and then to tackle this,” he said.

He went on to ex­plain that more than 100 000 peo­ple from all over the world have un­der­taken this pop­u­lar event.

His first two Camino walks he did with his wife, start­ing from Puedla de Sanabria to San­ti­ago de Con­tostela. This cov­ered a dis­tance of about 250km and took about 14 days to com­plete. Not sat­is­fied with this, Boyd went on to un­der­take the more tax­ing 470km walk on his own from Sala­manca to San­ti­ago de Con­tostela. This took about 26 days to com­plete.

He ex­plained that this dis­tance was di­vided into stages cov­ered each day.

He has five cer­tifi­cates proudly hang­ing in his home as proof of th­ese achieve­ments.

Born in Sun­der­land in County Durham, Eng­land, Boyd com­pleted his ed­u­ca­tion at the Univer­sity of Manch­ester in 1963 with a BSc de­gree in tex­tile chem­istry and was em­ployed in the tex­tile in­dus­try all his work­ing life.

His first job was in a mill in Sid­bury, Suf­folk, but his de­sire was to work abroad. His op­por­tu­nity came when he ap­plied for and got a job in Bo­gata in Colom­bia, South Amer­ica.

Here he struck his first dif­fi­culty as all the peo­ple on the shop floor he man­aged only spoke Span­ish.

“So I spent the next six months with a small Span­ish dic­tionary in my left hand. It was frus­trat­ing, but I had no op­tion. You have to force your­self to think in Span­ish and even­tu­ally I be­came flu­ent af­ter about nine months. It’s a beau­ti­ful lan­guage and it was a joy to be able to speak it when we went on our walks years later,” he said. He is still flu­ent in Span­ish. Mean­while, Boyd had met his fu­ture

Mwife, Mary, and she joined him in Spain, where she taught English at a lan­guage school. Af­ter seven years, the cou­ple re­turned to Eng­land, where they bought a house and at­tempted to set­tle in their new en­vi­ron­ment. But the cou­ple were not happy and Boyd ac­cepted a job offer in Pre­to­ria in 1973.

Af­ter three years in Pre­to­ria, the cou­ple moved to Dur­ban for two years and then on to East Lon­don. From here he com­muted to King Wil­liam’s Town, where he worked in a tex­tile fac­tory un­til he re­tired. They then moved to Set­tlers Park in Port Al­fred in 2006.

Dur­ing their stay in Dur­ban, Boyd was at a loose end and de­cided to take up cricket um­pir­ing in his spare time. He soon rose up in the ranks dur­ing the 25 years that he did this and was on the first-class panel for about four years. This in­volved um­pir­ing in Cur­rie Cup matches, which took him to all parts of the coun­try. His only re­gret was that he never “stood” in a match at the fa­mous New­lands ground in Cape Town. He um­pired in matches in­volv­ing fa­mous crick­eters, such as the late Han­sie Cronje, the Kirsten broth­ers – Peter and Gary, Ke­pler Wes­sels and well-known New Zealan­der Ken Ruther­ford dur­ing a spell in South Africa. Boyd’s great­est achieve­ments came in the sport of cro­quet. While in East Lon­don, he joined the lo­cal club in 2003 and soon showed his tal­ent for this when he won both the open and hand­i­cap sin­gles, as well as the dou­bles open and hand­i­cap ti­tles. A year later, his club hosted the na­tional tour­na­ment, where he won the hand­i­cap sin­gles. In 2005, Boyd con­tin­ued his good form to win the SA Cro­quet As­so­ci­a­tion’s open sin­gles and open dou­bles ti­tles. In the same year, he was one of the top-12 play­ers in the coun­try to be in­vited to play in a level best tour­na­ment, which he also won. He fol­lowed this up by win­ning the na­tional hand­i­cap sin­gles in both 2006 and 2007. His proud­est mo­ment came in 2008 when South Africa hosted the world cham­pi­onships and he was se­lected to play in the na­tional side.

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