Paul’s 2013 London to Brighton Blog


Tuesday 28th May 2013


Question – How do you condense the experience of walking from London to Brighton throughout a whole day and night into a few sentences which will give the flavour of the experience to the reader? Answer – I have no idea, but I will give it a shot.


Well I think the photo really rather gives it away. After all the weeks of training the event arrived and I can tell you that there was a mix of excitement and terror as I waited on the start line in the lovely morning  sunshine at The Old Deer Park in Richmond. There was a special atmosphere of people looking at each other – strangers meeting with a connected knowledge that they didn’t know what the next 24hours or so was going to hit them with. Sent on our way by Mr Motivator, the easy start along the fabulous River Thames from Richmond to Kingston provided no clue about how things would be further along the course. It was a strange phenomenon for me to be walking in this event along paths and roads I know so well having lived there for a large chunk of my life – particularly strange was walking past the front door of a property I hadn’t inhabited for over 20 years. Along the way we had plenty of chances to refuel – brilliantly organised by Action Challenge – I bumped into friends who came to support and there were plenty of laughs.


As the day wore on one just had to dig deeper and deeper to find that resolve and determination which was so necessary to keep going. In the depths of the night in deep wood, along boggy tracks, the route marked by glowsticks and fluorescent arrows , every hill was  full of deep breaths and every slope downwards was a potential hazard – and yes, I came a cropper and ended up thigh deep in a bog (again)! But you got on with it with the help of others around you (even if you didn’t know what they looked like in the murk).


And so the kilometres ticked away as did the time – the night was very cold and to stay still for any length of time just made it colder – I just wanted to push for the end and so when the opportunity came I did so. Walking along with torch in hand with the dawn chorus and then the gentle sunrise was almost magical – even with so many miles behind me. A short stop at the final refuelling station gave me the chance to head up the final massive hill and then onwards to the finish. Adrenaline kicked in and there was no stopping one foot from going in front of the other – at the top of the hill in the bright sunshine of early morning, there was the sea and Brighton nestled down below – still 6 miles to go and not all down hill. And so to the racecourse where we joined the actual race track to reach our own finish line. Cheers, tears and smiles. Through the finish line, I have my medal and am offered a glass of bubbly (I do not turn it down) – that is my London to Brighton Challenge. It was as tough as I thought it would be, it was an achievement I didn’t think I would reach, but once I started it I was never going to stop until that medal was round my neck.


So many thanks to my fellow Brainwave walkers en route Jody and Sarah – you two were just great – well done for all you achieved. Thanks also to Simon, my accidental challenge buddy – we got through a lot together – glad you eventually made it to the end. Thanks finally to Colin who helped immeasurably throughout that extraordinary 24 hours 35 minutes – as well as the preceding 5 months – I could not have done it without your confidence and constant encouragement. And I cannot forget Hattie and Dougal who were there at the end as well.


I have made a small video blog which I will add to here soon, the last section of which I made walking along the home strait. Why did I do it? Because it was there and it appealed to me. Would I do it again? No, I have done it, that’s enough – oh, and yes, I do have the T-Shirt. Did I enjoy it? Yes, of course, some of it was pretty tough but I managed to plumb the depths of my resolve, of my physical, mental and emotional  strength and that is a test I have not endured too many times, but it is satisfying to meet your own challenge.


According to my calculations I covered 64.6 miles or 104km and it took 24 hours and 25minutes, including stops. The day before I set off , the Chief Executive of Brainwave, Phil Edge, emailed me a good luck message and said ‘if the going gets tough, think of the children’ – without wanting to sound too saccharin about it – the going did get tough and I did think of the children……….


The End


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Monday 20th May 2013

Mon 20 May


So, my penultimate entry into my Blog and I can barely believe that I am on the verge of undertaking this challenge. I confess that I am getting more and more nervous – and a bit excited – by the day. I am, though, under no illusions that it is going to be tough! So, you won’t be surprised to learn that walking has taken a very low priority this week, recovering from last week and generally taking it easy has been the order of the day. The blisters, you will be pleased to learn, have all recovered.


There is nothing like a bit of retail therapy to take your mind of things and I celebrated my birthday on Saturday by visiting a huge outdoor leisure store and spending far too much money on things I might need! If I took everything I have bought I will need a trailer behind me!


It was a beautiful day on Saturday and I relaxed in the garden – something I cannot wait to do more of while I recover – I am lucky to have a good view and it is that which will be in my mind on Saturday when I find the tough gets going. All eyes are on the forecast – at the moment it looks to be dry and about average temperatures for the time of year. If there is rain, I don’t mind some as it will cool us down, please, not blistering (scuse the pun) heat or gale force winds!


Ok, so the week will be spent packing and repacking my bag and then doing it all again. I move off to London on Friday….. it will be here before I know it!


I look forward to seeing you on the other side. Wish me Luck!!!


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Monday 13th May 2013


13th May (1)



You might remember a few weeks ago, the day of the split trousers, I was walking along part of the Exe Valley Way and it was on that day I decided on what was to be my long walk! So the day has arrived and some quick thinking on behalf of a colleague starts me off on an early train from Tiverton Parkway to Starcross and I will walk back from there – think its just over 30 miles!


The train takes under 30 mins, the walk back will take slightly more! Now, I have done a few segments of this route but not all. It’s a dull start at 7.10 am but some early sun is pushing through the clouds and I am feeling very positive! I have a heavier pack than usual and I rather think I will feel it by the end. So I soon join a route I have done before – near Powderham Castle and along the River Exe and then the Exeter Ship Canal onwards to Exeter. Even early on though I know I have a blister starting – little swine! Bacon roll and a drink in Exeter and then it is onwards along new paths – Brampford Speke offers me a bus shelter to escape some drizzle and get a drink before crossing fields to the delightful village of Thorverton – ‘Shops’ it says in my guidebook, but in reality there is a post office/shop in a portakabin in a car park – but it closed 90 mins ago – so I will have to go to the pub!

 Refreshed by orange juice and lemonade and a steak and onion baguette – onwards. And the first really testing climb – its an interminable hill and the post lunch tiredness has kicked in – thankfully there is a nice trip downhill the other side and onwards to Bickleigh – passing the Castle (as pictured) I think I might just buy it. Now I referred back to the split trouser episode earlier and my enemy of a tree – well look what is there now!

13th May (2)


Thank you Mr Farmer, very pleased.


On to Tiverton dodging some cows on the way – I don’t mind telling you that I am very tired by this stage and needing a lot of liquid refreshment. Gradually after 12 hours and 20 minutes I arrive back at the car and I have completed 36.5 miles. Its been a real effort, especially the last few miles, and I have 2 blisters to contend with (must sort out the right socks) but I think, with the extra andrenaline, support and a certain amount of company, on the day! I so hope so!

13th May (3)


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Monday 6th May 2013


Paul London



Nothing interrupts every piece of fitness training than a wedding – not mine – but a good friend. It means a weekend away in the Oxfordshire countryside which is to be followed by a trip to London. This is not good. The food at the hotel and the wedding is luscious and largely no good for me and I said I would have a few drinks too. The trip to London is no better – I can certainly recommend afternoon tea at The Renaissance Hotel, St Pancras – total indulgence and luxury! After which I pop myself down in a seat to watch the great Dame Judi Dench and the splendid Ben Wishaw in a play.


Ok so I did do a fair bit of walking around London – ask those who know me and they will tell you that is something I love with a passion, especially when it comes to exploring bits you don’t know so well. But I haven’t recorded any mileage and had already planned to delay my ‘long’ walk until next weekend. However, will I be fi enough to do it? I receive my starting time for the event itself – 7.15am – check in at 6.15 am. Gathering more things that I need; final instructions are imminent, it’s not long now. Am I getting nervous – you bet I am!

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Monday 29th April 2013






After a busy week at a large conference which including giving a presentation in fron of 2000+ people as well as a member of the Royal Family (The Countess of Wessex) and some of the hierarchy of Brainwave. I need a rest,  but must do my walking!


It’s a nice day, so I think I will walk to work – errrr, think about it Paul, it’s 25 miles. Ok, so I might not get a lot of work done when I get there, but at least it show’s I am willing! So, that is the plan this week for my long training session. It is, in fact, my day off and I leave the house at 7.15am. It’s rather good that I can virtually make the whole journey safely along pavements and footpaths with only a short stretch along the verge of a busy road.


So it is that I trundle through Wellington, with my new camelback water pouch and drinking ‘straw’ tucked in my rucksack – it’s really good and works well; I will need it as it is warm. New things are always fun until – well until the tube from the water pouch comes out and my rucksack is flooded! Hey ho! Onwards to Taunton town centre via Tesco to stock up on provisions! Then I am able to hit the Taunton and Bridgwater canal which will more or less deliver me to the office. En route through a fence and hedge (and, yes, I admit the photo is awful) are those llamas or alpacas? Just another animal to add to the menagerie I have met on my travels.


Just under 7.5 hours later I arrive at the office and my colleagues who have kept across my progress greet me by waving things out of the office windows! Job done – someone suggests I should walk home! Thankfully I have the kind offer of a lift!


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Monday 22nd April 2013



One has to be adaptable in life, so in one’s training – this weekend required long walks on both days, but with me being at the London Marathon on Sunday supporting our runners, a few things changed.  A lovely 4 hour walk along my canal was brilliant, it was great weather and I am feeling fit as a fiddle – 14.5 miles later I am impressed myself.  The canal always has new things to see on it and I have followed the progress of the breeding swans before – hatching is not far away!


The London Marathon is always an inspiration; the atmosphere is unlike anything else and as a veteran of 4 in the last ten years it was difficult to just stand and watch – but it was dawning on me that my undertaking at 5 weeks time is definitely going to be as much of a challenge. Well done all our runners – awesome feeling isn’t it?


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Monday 15th April 2013


076 (2)

SPLAT!!!!!!!! The sound of my body weight hitting a boggy stretch of the path on which I was walking! It is mid April and after all that has gone before, this is the worst conditions I have walked in – worse than putting up with split trousers! A 6 hour walk is required this weekend, and although I have been feeling off-colour all week, I must do it!

A suggestion is to walk around Wimbleball Lake – a large reservoir up on Exmoor. It is supposed to be 9 miles around and so I will do it twice which should more or less cover the time allocated. It is a misty, dank, miserable day – quite unlike last week. No one is around really at the early hour I start. I thought it might be fairly easy walking, and the first part is, but then the terrain becomes that bit more challenging; narrow paths, tree routes, rocks and steep climbs. The rain is persistent, steady and the wind is cold and strong. Not ideal – please let’s not have this weather for the real thing!

After one circuit I check my GPS app on my phone and it says it is only 8.25miles! That means I will probably have to start a third circuit to use the time! Not impressed. I nearly persuade myself to finish at this point, but I decide that will not help me and so do the second circuit – some rowers are on the lake; blown about in the wind – it is halfway around this time that I come a cropper in the bog! Muddy and wet I carry on, sustained by my wine gums and reach the end of Circuit Two. Ok then, grit your teeth and carry on to complete the 6 hours – one mile towards the dam and back should sort it out. The dam is impressive – built in the 1970s it completely changed the landscape here – I just wonder what it was like beforehand!

And so there we are 18.5 miles later – a slow walk for me, but probably the most testing in many respects – filthy and damp I reach home to be greeted by Hattie and Dougal at the door – eventually I find something to smile about!


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Monday 8th April 2013


I know I have said this many times before, but the weather does really play an enormous part in making this challenge a pleasure rather than a chore! So despite being chilly all week – and windy, the weekend came up trumps and Saturday was a delight! I have tackled some of the Exe Valley Way before so I returned to take a different direction. The walk from Tiverton to Bampton is just lovely on a day like this, picturesque it is. There are many great views a tranquil spots; hence you are getting two pics this week! Coming back from Bampton via road on a National Cycle Route I witness a cyclist knocked from his bike by a tractor; which I had previously seen getting close to scraping its way past a Rolls Royce! The cyclist was shaken but ok!

The road took be from 100ft above sea level to over 900 ft – bit of a climb there! Suddenly I realised I was so hot I would have to remover a layer of clothing – WOW! The route took me off the road down a track and eventually out into the grounds of the National Trust Property, Knightshayes Court – buzzing with visitors it was a sudden, and welcome change from the previous couple of hours of quietude!

So that’s 17.5 miles and over 5 hours walked. Over £300 raised – no where near enough –but the walk is less than 7 weeks – get on and keep going!

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Monday 1st April

1st April b

What’s that big round yellow thing in the sky? Yes, although apparently it has been the coldest Easter Weekend since the time of Noah, it was a decent one for my pursuits! Chilly though it was on Good Friday when I set out on my 15mile walk, it did get warmer but not until I had to almost run to catch up with my nose!

Getting to use more of the lanes and footpaths immediately around home, including some of the disused and abandoned parts of the Grand Western Canal. It’s good to see restoration of some bits of it – there has been alot of work on the ‘lift’ at Nynehead which is worth a look (please see lift)

Once again I am reminded about how lucky I am to live where I do and on Easter Day an 8 mile walk around some local villages emphasises this – though the gradients in and out of them are pretty tough!

So it is only 8 weeks to go – can hardly believe it, and I am now very behind on the fundraising target, so that will have to change. Tough weeks ahead with long serious walks – hope I don’t run out of routes to walk!

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Monday 25th March

Blog 25 march 2

As Mark Twain once said ‘Golf is a good walk spoiled’ so it was that last week while taking a short break away from home I spoiled a good walk by hacking myself around nine holes of a very nice course! Luckily, it is a little bit of an exclusive course and, therefore, not very busy! Not all disastrous – did manage a 6 on the 3rd – not telling what else I scored though! But it was good and different exercise. Feeling a little peaky in the week and so delayed my big walk till Sunday when it was colder than ever! The South West has had some weather to contend with in the last few months, but we got away pretty lightly this week compared with much of the rest of the country. Just 3.5 hours needed this week – so a gentle stretch from Cullompton to home via the nearest Brainwave Shop – a reminder of why I am doing this mad venture! Along the way I join the trusty Grand Western Canal – the swans are in full nesting mode – two nests are on the stretch I walk along. Greeted on my last section by the appearance of Hattie and Dougal to take me home (not of their own free will you understand!). Back to the weather, last year at this time it was glorious t-shirt weather – the biting easterly wind had the effect of freezing my face as if it was locked in one position! In the warm it thawed out.

Two months to go – the going is about to get tougher!

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Monday 18th March

18th march

A trip to London has given a variety to the week and a tired body. I love London. I am a Londoner Lover, and I don’t care who knows it! I was up there to organise a venue for the brilliant people running the London Marathon for Brainwave. Naturally I walk every where, so it was a good chance to put in some training. Chilly with flurries of snow, but a great place to train!

The long walk this week was tricky to decide on, but with my planned long training walk in a few weeks time in mind, I thought I would tackle another section of it. So back to Exeter for me and a flat stroll along the River Exe, the Exeter Ship Canal and back to the wide estuary of the River. Starting before 8am it is chilly, Very Chilly and I have left my gloves at home! But this is an interesting walk, leaving the City and off into the country; University students rowing along beside me; coach on bike calling out instructions; walkers with dogs, cyclists and canoeists. The M5 travels on vasty pillars overhead at one point the vast curve is rather beautiful – see this weeks pic -oh alright, it’s another viaduct, but I like Viaducts, I am Viaduct Lover and I don’t care who knows it!

Trains to Penzance pass me by and I cross the railway track at one point before I reach Powderham Castle, a marvellous place nestling between the trees and with extensive land about peopled with dear and a lonely looking heron! But it is here that I  turn round and return by the same route. Its been 16 miles and just about 4.5 hours of walking. That’s just over a quarter of the length of the challenge – yikes!!!!!

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Monday 11th March

11th March


Wary of making my feet swell up like a beach ball I have been careful about training and in the week didn’t actually venture on an official training session, which gave me plenty of time to decide where to go for the long Saturday walk. I have taken my bike to Exeter a few times in the past and it’s a good city to cycle around – and it’s a good city to walk around too thanks to the footpaths that create the Exeter Green Circle. As the name suggests it is very much a journey around the perimeter of the City, taking in its parks and gardens, as well as it’s rivers, streams, leat and canals. Quite a lot of water – and some from above this week, but only drizzle.

Now anyone who knows Exeter, will know it isn’t flat and this isn’t the easy walk that it may seem, with some very muddy paths (and plenty of good ones) and some steep hills all of which hinder attempts at breaking world records. I was hoping to submit some splendid photography of views across the City, but the mist has put a stop to that! But it is nice to discover parts of the City I just know so little about – such as the splendid arched iron viaduct bridge from the 1830s. It was also good to suddenly find oneself trundling through the University campus, which I have not visited since my sister studied there over 30 years ago. After 12.6 miles and 4 hours I was ready for a rest and managed to get into the car before the heavens opened.

 After a week in which I met another inspirational child and his Mum I am getting ever more excited about the end of May – on Sunday I went for a sprint walk – 5 miles in 75 minutes – that’s going it.  By the way swans are nesting on the canal!

Forgot to mention, took possession of new walking trousers and new rucksack for this weekend – both performed admirably!

Money trickling in – need it to gush!

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Monday 4th March

Church and score2

Dear Reader, I know that you will be so very anxious to know this, and indeed, very relieved to hear the news – I survived the week’s exercise with all clothing in tact! Following a couple of weeks of clambering, wading, climbing and trudging, I decided to get back on the flatter, drier and, maybe, more mundane.

Being a volunteer warden on the Grand Western Canal, I decided to combine walking with my duties as a litter picker – a huge amount seemed to be lying about and managed to complete a few miles in the process! The weekend target was 3 miles, but I decided to push myself a bit further this week. Abandoned on a retail park in Taunton, I found myself following the River Tone this week; it was the Exe last week. I think Spring is more or less here – and as I passed Somerset County Cricket Club a warm feeling invaded my body. Those who know me, know I love my cricket and I love going to The County Ground – my membership card for the season just came through last week – so, there I was looking through the railings, like a little child with its face pressed up against a toyshop window! It’s a lovely looking ground – please see this week’s photo! Later this year the Club will be hosting a special dinner in aid of BRAINWAVE which is very exciting.

Anyway, after following my nose a little and finding some interesting out of the way parts of Taunton, I decided to call it a day 3hours and 50minutes and 14 miles later! This is just under a quarter of the overall length of the walk – and I feel good about things!


Sunday, just 5 miles in an hour and a half – just a big loop from where I live. Annoyingly, I have picked up two small blisters – how? I think it’s from not actually putting my socks on properly – you may laugh, but I reckon that’s it!


Despite a slight chill the weather was good for this kind of activity this weekend. I see that the week ahead is likely to get milder and rain is forecast for next weekend, which could be my first long walk in the wet!

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Monday 25th February 2013

treesNow I recall mentioning before about not exercising when you are ill, and when you go down with a ’60 a day’ cough and cold, then you know when to call a halt (I don’t actually smoke by the way). But it is so very frustrating. Luckily over the weekend I feel I can undergo a bit of exercise and so venture out to a new route. The Exe Valley Way looks very inviting and I have identified a large section of it as possible territory for my longest walk – 10 hours of it – later in the schedule.

So off I set – my is it cold, in fact during the course of this walk there are snow flurries, and there was me thinking we had lost all of that! This is a A to B walk and back again.. A drive to Tiverton and a map of the route from the Tourist Information Centre and then it’s onwards. The route starts along concrete and then branches off into fields of sheep, Wow, these are wet – very wet and very muddy. Sinking into mud will ensure that I am not going to break any timing records. Into some woods and fallen trees and more water to contend with, this is looking as tough as last week. The waymarking on this trail is not great and I lose my direction a little, but never badly. Not until I cross a large field and find my way completely blocked by felled trees – see the photo! Not what you want to encounter. Nothing for it but to clamber over it! I eventually reach the village of Bickleigh – well known for its riverside pubs and bridge (supposedly the inspiration for Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Waters’!)

Returning the way I came, you do get a different perspective, and you also know the route a little better. Back to the fallen trees and another climb over it. You know that sound of ripping material – that almost comedy sound of the seat of someone’s trousers tearing apart? Dismounting from the tree, I reach too far with one foot and that sound goes screaming in my ears. The under carriage of my trousers is split in 3 directions, not a tiny tear, a gaping chasm. About 3 miles left to get back to the car, the weather is freezing and I have a new ventiliation system which means I don’t want to hang about. Thankfully, I see virtually no one on the whole walk and return to my vehicle none the worst for wear. The trousers find the bin – irreperable!

It has been good to meet some children this week, one of whom I know and he inspires me alot – get on with the fundraising Paul – time is ticking!!!!!


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Monday 18th February 2013

image 3

Very good advice this; if you are entering a long distance walk event, and you start to lose weight, make sure that you put a belt on your trousers or you’ll be hitching them up for hours on end as you trek – and it’s very irritating! More on this in a bit!


So, the sun has come out at last and it is making the prospect of training very much more inviting, but it is also telling me that the London2Brighton Challenge is getting closer quicker! So with some lunchtime walks under the belt this week, the mind turns to how to do the 3 hour walk on Saturday. Now, the journey from London to Brighton is not, despite the quips of friends, all down hill, so it is time to do a bit of climbing and clambering. Living in the vicinity of several ranges of hills, does offer choice though, so I choose the nearest, the Blackdowns. Known for being the home of the Wellington Monument, it is also home to a beacon (at Culmstock – see photo) which was used to signal the Spanish Armada across the South West. Getting up to it is fairly tough and the top of the hills is notoriously wet and boggy – and it really is! The views are great though and it is downhill to get back! So another 10 miles covered and a 1000ft ascent – not fast, but good exercise and no aches and pains after either – must be fitter than I thought!


I must turn my mind to fundraising though – I have to pay my first £200 by mid April I think – only a few weeks off! I hope to get much more than that though!

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Monday 11th February 2013

imageYou will have to forgive me if I repeat myself on this Blog – it’s not meant to be delibrate, but I am not checking what I have written before, it is all spontaneous.

It’s been a curate’s egg of a week on the training front – good in parts – weather and work commitments in the week did hit the weekday training schedule, but I was determined to make the most of the weekend. As I have mentioned before, I live at one end of the Grand Western Canal – just over 11miles of it from my house will reach the canal basin at Tiverton; although my schedule sas 2.5 hours of walking, I know this will take longer and I have time to make up, so lets go for it. It’s a drizzly day – dull with a slightly chilly feel; ideal in my book. The journey is full of wildlife, a few cyclists, walkers and dog walkers – flat, of course, with a slight variation to the gradient around the diversion which avoids the section which split open last year. Just over 3 hours later I am back home in time to watch some rugby!

Sunday sees a circular walk from home around the local quarry with the dogs – rain, and chill, but quiet and satisfying.

I had an email from the London 2 Brighton organisers saying that it was time to start serious training, but if you had started already, you were well ahead – a smug smile passes my face – but there is still a long way to go.

A few more donations have come in; but still woefully short of where I would like to be!

Pleased with this weeks pic of sheep sheltering from the weather against an old chapel wall (Ayshford Chapel) which sits on the bank of the aforesaid canal – they looked like statues.

After a week of inspiring people about Brainwave, I continue to do so to myself – it helps enormously!

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Monday 4 February 2013

IMG_05041Where did January go? In a deluge of rain, snow and panto! So, with life slightly back to normal now, it’s time to pile on those miles!

Very kind of my work colleagues to take me to Mcdonalds in the week – they were going inside, but I turned back the other way and walked back to the office in my lunchtime; snacking on a lettuce and chicken sandwich on the way – no mayo, butter, gherkin etc etc. These are quite good short bursts of walking which does make the most of the lunch hour.

Later in the week, the dogs take me for a jaunt; but they remain a hindrance, but in the nicest possible way. The big walk was reserved for Saturday – 2.5 hours is what the schedule says – so, again, I am dropped some distance from home – hoping that I am fairly accurate with my estimations. This is virtually all road walking – mostly along roads which I drive along all the time, but never have the time to stop and look – just incredible what the eye never sees when familiarity exists. So from main road, through town centre out into the countryside (being eyed by the local livestock) on the most beautiful day – haven’t been able to say that for a while! Bathed in sunshine I clock up nearly 2 hours 40mins and just over 9.5miles! But, silly me, only put on one pair of socks (other pair was ready and waiting to be donned!) which left the feet a little more tired than they should have been! My app on my phone tells me I have used 1500 calories – wow – thats ok – the small pack of wine gums which kept me going shouldn’t come to more than that!

The week is rounded off on Sunday with an uphill walk along a footpath in Exmoor with the dogs – but when you hit a stile with chicken wire all round it and no way to get the dogs over other than lifting them, someone is telling you to go back the way you came! Not a long walk, but some hills are good!

Weight is coming down, sponsor money not going up – need one to plummet and one to explode into the stratosphere!

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Monday 28th January 2013


Hello everyone!

I mentioned previously about weather and health being important issues to consider when training for a event. One should always, of course, have fallback positon. It has been a strange week to be sure! Lunchtimes have become a useful training ground and I was dropped a distance away from the office on Monday lunchtime with the aim of not getting lost and not being late – mission accomplished! Then everything goes a little wrong! Snow makes an unwelcome return and I think my week is taking a different turn to what I expected. As also mentioned before I am in Panto this week and I am cut off and don’t make the final dress rehearsal for ‘Alice in Wonderland’ in which I am playing The Dame! Luckily, after making my way through a snowstorm I do make the opening night on Wednesday and the show kicks off; ice and flooding add to the weather in the week, but the week on stage continues on Thursday and Friday night, three (yes three!) shows on Saturday and lunchtime on Sunday and we are finished? The training plan? Gone to the wall – but the panto did have me running about stage, changing costumes, singing and dancing – including 2 versions of Gangnam Style each performance! Result I have used alot of energy and lost weight in the process – not a conventional backup plan, but it worked.

So, with the weather looking like it might behave itself for a while, hope I am back on track now. Fundraising has taken a hit too – need more progress there as well!




Monday 21st January

Paul sheep

Thankfully feeling rather better than last week now – so onwards. Forgot to mention last week that new footwear arrived and is already making life a lot easier – comfortable and light and, so far anyway, waterproof!


One of the fun things about running/walking/cycling or similar is choosing your route that you take. Only don’t overstretch yourself when time is limited – like I did at the start of the week, when I attempted 4.5miles in my lunch hour – that’s going it a bit – but the Taunton and Bridgwater canal from the office into Bridgwater is very interesting – and muddy at that time as well. I wasn’t hauled across the coals for being 10minutes late back!


Snow has arrived and so does make it tricky to go out for a couple of days, but I get back on track with 7.3 miles on Saturday and 4.25 miles on Sunday – the roads and pretty good and my local canal path is snow free as well. The countryside looks amazing and I think that really spurs you on – am offered a lift  by a passing car – they thought I might have had a breakdown (not yet!) and I spend 15minutes speaking to a local farmer (whose mother used to own the house I live in!) about winter feeding of sheep and living in London v living on the edge of Devon – we both decide it’s no contest.


Without knowing it, I had received my first donation for Brainwave last week and got another one during this week too – both anonymous – so thank you very much. £50 inc Gift Aid at the moment – a way to go. I gave a talk to a small group of supporters and they requested a sponsorship form – they loved hearing about Brainwave, so I was delighted with their reaction.


Well, I am pleased with how things are going – still a long way in terms of walking and sponsorship – but the signs look good!



Paul’s Blog 14th January 2013


So, all good intentions start the new week of exercise.  But there are two watch words that one must consider when training for anything ; the weather and ones health!  Now, if we worried about the weather we wouldn’t do anything – but when the schedule says ‘cycle’ and the weather is tipping it down, then I don’t want to risk getting soaked – so will delay till the next day when the forecast is dry!  The next day, a ‘funny’ (but not so funny) turn at work sends me home and rest is required!  So the week had started well with a good new lunchtime walk around the neverneverland that is the edge of Bridgwater and a good saunter along the lanes at home with the dogs (Hattie & Dougal, retired greyhounds), who despite their breed do slow me down!  All this and rehearsing for Panto too – this gives me a bit of exercise at the weekend when I am feeling rather better!

Eventful – but still no money in that sponsorship pot yet! Get to it Smith!

To sponsor Paul, please visit





Paul’s Blog – 7 January 2013


Not unknown for doing slightly mad things from time to time, 2013 is no different.  Since starting at Brainwave in 2010 I have set myself a yearly target of some description; 2011 it was the London Marathon (not my first one, so knew what I was letting myself in for!), 2012 was a non-physical target – speaking to 3000 about Brainwave – in the event I managed 3079!  So, what about 2013 – how about walking from London to Brighton in 24 hours – all 60miles/100 kilometres of it? Go for it!


Well, signed up and willing to go for it; Action Challenge who run the event look to have planned everything to the last detail and the training plan is pretty comprehensive! With the event taking place 25/26 May 2013, 1 January seemed the best starting point for training. This Blog will give you something of a feel for the weekly training sessions and how my fundraising is going!

So, £2000 target set on Just Giving – – one has to start somewhere. A 20 minute walk to the site of the breach in the bank of the Grand Western Canal kicked things off – very muddy and with two greyhounds in tow; it wasn’t quite the start I planned. 30 minutes at lunchtime along the Taunton and Bridgwater Canal – also very muddy – followed by a 4 mile cycle ride around the lanes near home.  Then the big weekend walk – a 2 hours one – dumped some distance from home, I managed 7.35miles by the time I got home at just over 2 hours.  Feel fine, though my old walking boots are not good for this and so new ones are on the way. This is an 8th of the distance I will have to do over the North and South Downs and I feel confident already! Over confident?  Definitely not, this will be as tough as the Marathon.  But it’s a good start in the training! No nearer that £2000 target though!

To sponsor Paul, please visit


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