The gang that #walk1000miles built
How joining #walk1000miles and posting in the challenge’s Facebook group made life fuller, brighter and walkier for these seven ‘Hardy’ ladies.
How did you get together?
Becky: We all live in Hampshire and Dorset and commented on each other's posts in the Facebook group.
Jill: After a few months we started to organise a few meet ups. My first meet up was with Sally and Kate at Cranborne in Dorset. We all felt we already knew each other already which was lovely.
Janet: My first introduction to these lovely people was with Becky and Jill in the week following the unexpected and very sudden death of my husband. The support the Facebook group gave me, and our little gang in particular was unbelievably fantastic. Together we walked the Stour Valley Way in stages and it felt as though I had known them much longer. They’ve plugged the gap left by my no.1 walking companion.
Sally: Becky and I started, meeting up for our regular ‘Thursday Walks’. I’d read Kate was doing the Moonwalk and that she had beaten cancer a few times and I was so inspired by her cheerful attitude.
Kate: I’d read about #walk1000miles by chance in the first ever copy of CW I picked up in the supermarket, and I think I was one of the first people to join the group. When we met it felt like we had known each other forever. We had a great day and a very interesting walk with stinging nettles up to our necks, and took millions of photographs.
Sally: Ha ha, yes some of us couldn’t be seen at all, being a tad shorter than everyone else lol! Always will remember that walk, it was a fantastic day.
Janet: At the end of the Stour Valley Way, Becky produced the Hardy Way guide – 220 miles! – and our new project was launched.
What made you think this was something you wanted to do again?
Becky: Our first walk together was a special one, We all enjoyed the company, the walk and the challenge! Jill: We really can’t wait for the next stage of our Hardy Way walks, love the planningorganising the transport. Really great fun, lots of laughs and cake! Sally: ...and sloe gin!!
Catriona: The Hardy Way is a challenge we’re all eager to complete. Finish one section, we’re all hungry to do the next!
Sally: It’s became something we all really, really look forward to. We chat about the last meet up afterwards and then start to chat about the next one before… so we chat a lot! When I went for a new job I even asked if I could work Mon/Tues/ Weds so I’d have the same days off as Becky. They said yes!
Kate: Keeping in touch on Facebook meant it was never in any doubt we would continue to walk together.
Sally: I don’t think any of us really realised how significant
‘The Hardy Walkers’ group would become! Bigger than the Famous 5 (well there are 7 of us!), greater than the Secret 7 and adventures even Enid Blyton couldn’t have thought possible! Linda: It’s been downhill ever since, and I mean it in the nicest possible way!
What is each bring to the group best-known for?
Becky: We all have a sense of humour – it’s a must on some of our walks! We have some good cooks, a singer and nature lovers. Sally: Becky’s known for her ‘-ish’ miles. Kate: … and falling over and making us laugh at her! Jill: and always having that large flask for hot drinks at the end of the walks!
Sally: Jill is very caring. Janet: ...and good at organising those tricky transport arrangements. Jill: Ahh! Hopefully not too bossy. Sally: Catriona is the quiet one… dare I say sensible even! Jill: And makes great flapjacks! Kate: It’s always the quiet ones! Sally: Janet’s the singer... Jill: And maker of scrummy Lemon Drizzle cake! Sally: Linda ‘oh no, not more hills’ Jill: And lovely sloe gin. Kate: It’s amazing! Chief booze maker! Linda: Happy with that! Sally: Kate for flexibility, bendability, photo-ability! And of course youth!! Jill: Don’t forget those sausage rolls! Kate: Sally’s rucksack is enormous! If you’ve forgotten anything she's your lady! Oh and I have learned they can all keep secrets and are very devious! Sally: Lol! How we managed to hide all the afternoon tea party stuff I don’t know!
Tell us what #walk1000miles has meant for you.
Becky: It has changed my life! I’ve made some very special friends, I can walk a lot further than I could when I started and I actually enjoy climbing hills now! Jill: Me too – it’s great having our monthly Hardy’s Way walk to look forward to. Sally: Changed my life, completely. In my 30s my best friend died of cancer and I’ve not really let anyone close again. Now I’ve made some very, very good friends again and feel I actually have my life back. Kate: It changed my life meeting some great people who love walking and don’t moan about how far we have to go! Linda: Amazing walks in good company makes for a much brighter life. Catriona: Being a single mum, having two children who still need my attention (and taxi!) and work commitments, I signed up for 500 miles last year but actually achieved 616 boots-on miles. Thanks to lovely long walks with these ladies, and a general confidence boost I challenged myself to at least 100 miles a month this year, and I’m doing it!
You recently lost a member: oh no! Tell us about that.
Becky: Kate has recently moved to Sweden, very exciting for her, but we will all miss her. We hope to do another leg of the Hardy Way when she visits the UK! We presented Kate with a photo book with pictures from our special walks on her last day with us – and a tea party for the end of our walk with some amazing cakes decorated with boots, rucksack, walking poles, camera, maps etc. We will all remember that walk! Sally: We may all surprise her one day with a knock at the door in Sweden, armed with walking boots and rucksacks and a freshly-baked cake! Janet: It was always a treat to see the great photos Kate posted on Facebook at the end of a walk. We have many memories of Kate from the stages of the Hardy Way she walked with us. Her taunting of cows that she thought were safely on the other side of the fence is legendary. And who can forget her sausage rolls served as snow was falling or Kate appearing to slip away over the cliff edge to get that group shot. Kate: I will miss the girls and our walks dreadfully!
Why should more #walk1000milers get together like you have?
Becky: We’ve encouraged each other, celebrated together and done things we wouldn’t have on our own. There’s always someone willing to meet up for a walk, we’re great friends and we share a passion!
Bigger than the Famous 5 (well there are 7 of us!), greater than the Secret 7 and adventures even Enid Blyton couldn’t have thought possible!”