Sunrise to Sunset Walk – 2018

Mum and I are planning a mega-walk in January to raise money for two deserving charities:

Hampshire Search & Rescue Dogs

Our walk will start at 0752 (sunrise) on 22 January and finish 8 hours 47 minutes later at 1639 (sunset). We intend to walk pretty much the whole time, although there will be a rest break or two along the way, for mum to shovel chocolate into her mouth and me to have some Barking Bakery Company treats.

This will be a solo (well, duo) unsupported hike across an unforgiving landscape in challenging conditions. Or to put it another way, it’ll be me and mum walking in the Meon Valley in grotty winter weather. But it sounded a bit more impressive in the first sentence, no?

Wilson with search reward toy

With my Kong Wubba reward toy after sniffing someone out during search dog training

Clearly we’re going to be sensible. Mum will be carrying plenty of food and drink for us both, a fully-charged mobile phone and some first aid kit, just in case. It’s also a route she’s familiar with – starting and finishing in Wickham, taking in some of the Meon Valley Trail, Old Winchester Hill and Soberton Down. We’ll be training on it too, and if she is in any doubt about my welfare on the day the walk will be halted.

She’s also threatening to buy me some boots to help protect my paws. Not so keen on that idea.

Training has already started – a routine walk for me with mum is a couple of hours anyway, and we’ve got a 3.5 hour walk under our belts in Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Hampshire’s largest country park. We intend to build up to a seven hour walk in training so that we are both ‘match fit’ – we don’t want our S2S walk turning into an SOS walk (touches wood).

So, why these two charities?

Mum’s a member of Hampshire Search & Rescue Dogs, a team of volunteers who train their pet dogs to sniff out vulnerable missing people. Until July 2017 I was a trainee search dog with the team. However, mum’s job now involves working shifts and it was difficult to make the necessary attendance to maintain my progression. She took the difficult decision to withdraw me from training, and to give up her own operational status and become a training support instead.

Wilson and mum on a search

Telling mum to hurry up and set me off on a training search

You can read more about the team and our involvement with it in this post.

Pensions4Paws supports retired police and fire dogs from Hampshire Constabulary, Thames Valley Police and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

When a police or fire dog retires they receive no financial assistance, and the entire cost of care and any ongoing treatment falls to the new owner. Vet bills are expensive for the range of treatments these courageous dogs often need, and Pensions4Paws provides funds so that heartbreaking decisions don’t have to be made for financial reasons alone.

I’m sure you’ll agree that these two charities are well worth supporting, and we would be really grateful for any sponsorship our readers can give.

You could sponsor us:

£8.47 – for a walk that will take us 8 hours 47 minutes
£7.52 – we start at 0752
£16.39 – we finish at 1639 (bit optimistic for a single donation, we know)
£4.39 – for those who don’t like the 24 hour clock!
Any sum you like – however modest or generous – we are grateful for them all.

We’ve set up a JustGiving page so donating is quick and easy. Our target is £500 but really, we’d love to smash that!  The sum raised will be split equally between the two charities.

We’ll be keeping you updated with our training, and – signal permitting – there will be tweets on the day itself so make sure you follow @WoofsWithWilson on Twitter.



  1. October 21, 2017 / 08:29

    That is a really lovely photo of you and your mum. Hope your walk goes really well and that your total fundraising is at least triple your target. Look forward to seeing photos your mum takes on your S2S walk.

    • wilsonthedog
      October 22, 2017 / 18:42

      Thank you! It’s one of mum’s favourite photos of me at search dog training. I loved it but, alas, it was not to be thanks to shift work.

  2. October 21, 2017 / 13:28

    Happy to say I’ve already donated. Wishing you both the best of luck in training

    • wilsonthedog
      October 22, 2017 / 18:40

      You certainly have – and we are very grateful! Thank you very much.

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