Our last post featured the first half of our epic Sunrise to Sunset Walk, when mum and I walked for eight hours 47 minutes to raise money for Hampshire Search & Rescue Dogs and Pensions4Paws.
As we mentioned, we decided to cut a few miles from the walk so that we’d finish at 1639 – mum didn’t fancy wandering around the Hampshire countryside in the dark, several miles from where we should have been at that time!
So, instead of cutting across the farmer’s field, we headed straight on along a country road which would take us back onto the Meon Valley Trail (MVT).
Not much to report here…I woofed at a few lycra-clad cyclists (mum always loves it when I do that) and she ended up with boots absolutely caked in heavy clay, but we soon found ourselves back on the MVT.
It felt a bit strange to be retracing our steps. There were still about four hours to go but there was a definite air of knowing we would soon be on the home stretch.
We met a few other people so mum kept me under close control. One lady with a labrador uttered the ‘Don’t worry, she’s friendly!’ mantra as mum looped her hand through my harness handle as they approached. She explained that I’m pretty boisterous but the lady assured her that it was fine, so mum let me go.
And it was fine, me and the other doggo said hello and then I barked out of excitement. Nothing else, just barked.
‘Oh no! No barking!’ exclaimed this lady, who shooed her dog away with her as if I was just about to launch myself at it for my lunch.
Eye roll moment for mother.
A while later, we spotted a truly enormous dog a few hundred metres ahead. It was an absolute beast. Even my floppy ear (almost) stood to attention as it approached.
It was a horse.
Now, my nemesis is a horse with a rider plonked on top. So mum got a firm grip on my harness and placed me at the side of the trail.
She also warned the rider as she drew near that I would bark, and the very pleasant lady thanked mum for the warning.
Never one to disappoint, I barked.
Another eye roll moment for mother. But as soon as the horse passed and got a few feet away, off I went without even a backward glance.
We diverted off the trail down to the River Meon, where mum hoped to get some of the mud off me. She spied a sign in a field, and went to look – turned out it was St Clair’s Meadow Nature Reserve, which mum was completely unaware existed.
It was glorious! Not a soul around, we spend a very pleasant half an hour exploring and I had plenty of fun in the river.
Another walk back on the trail and mum calculated we’d need to spend a bit of time strolling about in Upperford Copse so that we didn’t arrive back at the start point too early.
It was a pleasant diversion – I found myself a great big stick to drag along, I had the last of my Barking Bakery Company Boney-Go – they kept me fuelled up a treat – and mum had a munch on one of her snacks.
We also found this wicker star, with a succulent plant carefully placed inside. No doubt left in memorium to someone, so after I’d had a sniff mum was sure to place it carefully back at the foot of the tree.
We had a call from Pam, one of the area dog handlers on the team, with a few words of encouragement. Mum knew that both she and Ali, our secretary, would be at the finish to cheer us on which we were looking forward to.
It was just half an hour to go! So back on the trail we went, with mum keeping one eye on her watch and the other on me. And before we knew it, we spied not only Ali and Pam, but also operations officer Kev with his trainee dog Rusty, and training support Dawn, with young spaniel Cooper!
I was so excited I ran on ahead to say hello to them all. Kev took this photo of me rushing up to say hi to Rusty et al, and mum loves it. It was really good to see everyone, and saved the end of our walk being a bit of a damp squib.
We walked to the village square, and I was put in Kev’s van with Rusty in his double crate, while mum and the others went to the pub for a celebratory drink. Full-fat Coke x2 for mum – a sugar boost! Before too long we all said our farewells and mum drove us the 30 minutes home.
I was pooped! I had a big dinner, a spruce up, and then got down to some serious snoozing.
The day of the walk, plus the day either side, saw almost £400 in sponsorship roll in! Amazing! In total we raised £1,675 online and another £130 offline making a grand total of £1,805!
If you’d told mum when she started fundraising in October that we would raise £900 for each charity she would have laughed in your face – her original target was £300, which was reached in less than a week! Although she’s not daft – she’s well aware the ‘Wilson factor’ meant those £££ totted up!
A huge thank you to each and every one of our sponsors – many of whom we know only through Twitter – as listed below:
Ruth Pownall, Karen Wright, Michele Smith, Kathleen Christie, David Hagan (and Kip), Nelly + Arthur + Arry (my cousins!), Darren Williams, Jamie Littlewood, Jack and Jess, Joanne Bettany, Dawn Rayment, Amanda Corp, Debbie Lloyd, Rebecca Wroblewski, Cher Hendley, Denyse King, Josie, Paul Kemp, Emma Kelsall, Lesley, Hiker Huw, Steve Guthrie, Sharon and Nick, Simon Huppler, Alison Chestnutt, Bruce Osborne, Richard Ash, Gail Smith, Dianne Hunt, Greg Maidwell, Karen Dunkason, Gemma McCormick, Kathy Duck, Ian Crowe, Lyndsey Hepworth, Cathy Greig, Marion, Sidney P Cat, Rachel Gee, PD Chase and his chauffeur, Hayley Sparshott, Gail Sargeant, Julie Brown, Elaine Hill, Leanne Casey, Nicola Partridge, Gary Silvester, Jo Goddard, Sara Dempsey, Kerry Lawrence, Shona Campbell, Kate Ball, Mary Williams, Barbara Habbishaw, Helen Elliott, David Wilding, Arthur Maines, Maria Guest-Naharnowicz, Joanne Hopkins, Wendy Reedman, Julie Hughes, Ashley Miller, Val Ashton, Gail Garrett, Julia Hamilton, Melinda and Ted Brown, Debra King, Brian Fisher, Pauline Martin, Danielle Henderson and Marmite, Anna and PDs Heidi and Ossie, Caroline Mitchell, Claire, Louise and Karl Lis, Andi Wheeler, Duane Hysted, Sandra Buttigieg, Jean Edge, Elaine and Buzz (granny and grandad!), uncle Joe, Lou Dale, Bernie Stevens, Karen and Frank Lancaster, E Shift, and 11 anonymous sponsors.
Were we moving about very gingerly the following day? Not a bit of it! Mum had a bit of leg soreness first thing but this eased off very quickly. I had the very slightest limp when I (eventually) got up but again, this disappeared in a flash.
Mum only took me for a short lead walk so I could have a wee and a poo, but I was well up for a proper one the second she got the lead off the hook! And I went swimming a couple of days after the walk at K9 Aquacise & Hydrotherapy so I had some non-impact exercise. Other than that – it was business as usual!
Oh – and the wonderful gifts from Daz and Kip helped. They brought me and mum a bumper box of ‘well done’ presents for after our hike and a lovely congratulations card. We were really touched.
So, are we planning another fundraising extravaganza? Not this year, but mum has an idea forming for the tail end of 2019. But that’s a post for another day…