The Wales Coast Path has fast become one of Wales’ top attractions and is great for short strolls and longer hikes. But for an increasing number of people walking the full 870 miles has become a bucket list ambition.
An 870 mile walk is not to be taken lightly. Yet, since the Path opened in May 2012, a surprising number of people have taken on this challenge. Many have used the opportunity to raise funds for worthy causes while for others it is simply about personal achievement.
One thing is certain; the tales told by the ‘End to Enders’ are inspiring. From the warmth of welcome they receive along the Path to the wonder of the views and the heritage they encounter to the challenges of the actual walking. They tell of a Path that is more than just a route, it is the discovery of a nation.
Here are some of the walkers who went the distance (visit the Coast Path’s Hall of Fame at www.walescoastpath.gov.uk to read about more adventures):
Arry Beresford-Webb: Arry made history in May 2012 when she became the first person to not only travel the whole Path (plus circumnavigating the whole country by linking up with Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail) but she also ran. Running the equivalent of 40 back-to-back trail marathons, she completed the entire 1046 miles within 41 days and raised around £10,000 for the Velindre Cancer Centre and Gozo CCU Foundation. Arry said: “I feel privileged to be the first to have experienced the diversity of the entire Wales Coast Path. I would love to do it again, but at a slower pace, so that I can actually stop and enjoy the places that I saw so briefly!” www.dragonrun1027.wordpress.com/
Dave Quarrell: Dave took on the challenge of walking the same area. Walking in memory of his late father, Gerry, who had been a key influencer in the creation of the Wales Coast Path, Dave raised £11,500 for Cancer Research Wales. www.walkwales1027.com
Will Renwick: Will, our youngest End to Ender at 22, looked at this as a post-University challenge. Setting foot out of his front door at Llancarfan Will walked for 63 days, saying “I knew there was an adventure on my doorstep; something that was raw and really testing and that I could be proud of completing. Walking the Path will become that odd fact about me.”
Christian Nock: Christian’s walk of the Wales Coast Path is just a section of a far larger challenge. Christian is currently walking around the British coastline to raise money for Help for Heroes. He has been walking for over 350 days and has raised £77,000. His progress can be followed on his website www.christianaroundbritain.co.uk.
Walk on Wales: Inviting everyone to join in, for whatever distance they care to try, the Walk on Wales team are not just walking the Path, they are laying siege. It’s been organised by ex-soldiers in memory of the 50 Welsh guardsmen who have died on active service since the end of World War II and to raise £1 million for the Welsh Guards Afghanistan Appeal and Combat Stress. Follow their progress and see how you can join in at www.walkonwales.org.
But remember, the path isn’t just for heroic feats; it’s for all feet. With 870 miles to choose from and a range of terrain, there is definitely a walk out there for everyone. If you are unsure where to start, try one of our easy to access walks, join in a festival or find a nearby walking group so that you can dip your toe in. You never know, many people find the experience so invigorating that you may eventually choose to try the full 870 mile challenge. And, even if you don’t, you are sure to feel the benefits as well as having seen beautiful countryside, spectacular wildlife and met some fascinating folk along the way.
To log your progress why not download Keep Wales Tidy’s free new Wales Coast app (currently available for iphones, android to be released shortly) – you may be covering more ground than you thought!