7 Miles – in 7 Days – in 7 Countries
Julia raising money for Samaritans of Shrewsbury
One of the Activ8rlives regular walkers, has started an amazing Adventure and we are going to walk the route between her walks on Activ8rlives.
Julia started her adventure on 7th July 2017 to raise funds for Samaritans of Shrewsbury.
The number 7 is significant as Julia wants to celebrate volunteering at the Samaritans of Shrewsbury for 17 years and the fact that she will be seventy later in the year. Richard, her very patient trip advisor and chauffeur, is walking with her. Richard has planned a route taking in seven countries on seven successive days, starting in France and finishing in Belgium.
They will be walking seven miles a day, each walk in a different country. They are hoping to raise lots of money for a very special charity, which relies entirely on the generosity of the general public for its existence. At a time when mental health, poverty, loneliness, homelessness, addiction, self-harm and suicidal thoughts are much in evidence, our telephone lines are always busy day and night. Activ8rlives has been proud to support them on their adventure.
If you feel moved to, you can make a donation via Just Giving. Julia and Richard are but £50 sort of reaching their £2,200 goal when I last looked. Their website on Just Giving is here:
DAY 1: The first day of our 7x7x7 and what a dream day. We set off on our 7 miles nice and early as temperatures here are in the thirties. Our walk along a disused railway line couldn’t have been easier – flat and mostly in shade. We clocked up 8.6 miles between Cluny and Taizé, a community of French monks who welcome young people (and today a couple of not so young’s!) of all faiths and none to join them from all over the world for periods of reflection and self-discovery. We are now in a small skiing resort in the Alps having been to a concert this evening given by a Greek guitarist friend. Tomorrow some Alpine walking.
DAY 2: Another early start, walking by 7.30 albeit in the wrong direction! The poles were invaluable as it was quite a challenging climb, with various obstacles along our path and an almighty drop if you were to lose your footing. We won’t win any prizes for our speed, 9.9 miles in over four hours was pretty slow but the views were very special. We’re now in Lichtenstein, planning tomorrow’s seven miles. One of the challenges is to find a circular walk or one where we can catch a local bus back to return us to the hotel.
DAY 3: Easy walking! You don’t often have the opportunity to walk from one end of a country to the other in a day but that’s just what we did today. Lichtenstein is bordered by Austria in the north and Switzerland in the south. Our walk was a very different experience from yesterday’s – mile after flat mile of beautiful views of the Alps to one side and the Rhine to the other. The 16-mile walk took us pretty well all day including a substantial stop for lunch in Vaduz, the capital. The sense of achievement made it all worthwhile and the excellent bus service – two buses an hour even on a Sunday – saved the day and delivered us back safely to our hotel. Austria tomorrow.
DAY 4: We drove to Austria for our next 7 miles, which my husband was determined wouldn’t turn into 16! In the event we did a gentle potter around the beautiful, medieval city of Feldkirch, had indulgent cakes and coffee and then attempted to walk them off with a stiff climb and walk around a large nature reserve overlooking the town. We clocked up just 7.3 miles before a drive to Ulm in Germany.
DAY 5: Today was one of those days when we thought we could walk for ever. The sun was shining but not too hot, lots of folk were out strolling, cycling, jogging and even skating and all seemed well with the world. In the event we only walked from Ulm, crossing the bridge at Thalfingen, and back to Ulm clocking up 9.1 miles. We were sad we couldn’t have walked further but knew the journey to Luxembourg would take us several hours. The Danube is as beautiful as it sounds and reminded us very much of home and the River Severn in Shrewsbury. Day 6 tomorrow – the week’s going much too quickly!
DAY 6: It was a walking poles and wet weather gear scramble this morning in some quite challenging and slippery terrain after a night of rain. But it was so worth the effort. We felt we were walking through a film set and that at any minute a dinosaur would loom out from one of the bizarre giant rock formations. The Mullerthal trail – Luxembourg’s little Switzerland – covers about 70k (one for the future perhaps?!). It’s a maze of very efficiently signed trails with a little minibus pottering around the scattered villages collecting and dropping off walkers and their gear. And what’s more the bus is free. Our trail fitted the bill perfectly – 7.5 miles – finishing at a perfectly located hotel for hot chocolate.
DAY 7: A three-pronged walk today as no more driving till tomorrow. We started the day at Sint Idesbald on the Belgian coast for a wander and a paddle along a vast expanse of sandy beach. Walks don’t get much better than that! We’ve spent the afternoon exploring Yprès with all its First World War connections. The poor BuddyBand has worked overtime, 28,255 steps, and the evening still to come. We’ve had a wonderful time, walked more than 70 miles in 7 days and raised lots of money for Samaritans of Shrewsbury. Thanks for your terrific support.
BACK HOME: We got back to Shropshire late last night – our only hold-up in the whole 2,000-mile journey was on the M25. But it was a truly wonderful trip, beautiful places, lovely people and something that we’ll still be talking about well into the future.
Thank you so much for supporting our mad adventure. It was doubly kind of you both when you haven’t even met us! I don’t know whether you know much about Samaritans. The organisation is not funded by government but there are, sadly, a lot of unhappy people who, for all sorts of reasons, need someone to listen and not judge their story. In fact, I’m on duty tonight 7-11 p.m. Thank goodness, it’s not an overnight shift. I’ll need to catch up on a bit of sleep before I do one of those!
As to my 70th Birthday party, I’m actually a bit of a party pooper but I daresay we’ll celebrate my 70th birthday in December with our five children and five grandchildren. They’re quite enough of a party for me!
It was a very special holiday and lovely to have the support of so many people, some of whom, like you, we don’t even know. I’m sure we’ll be talking about it for a long time to come.
Thank you again and very best wishes, Julia