Storm Ciara? My arse - In the name of Thiago - Day 36

Those right there are my legs. And right now they’re pretty fucked after walking 15 miles in part aided by and in some parts driven back by Storm Ciara. Evil bitch that she is.

I felt as close as I ever have to being heroic as we pounded the streets of Chesterton, Red Street, Talke Pits and Kidsgrove, which was our destination before making our return following the canal path back towards Middleport Pottery and taking the long slog up Porthill Bank and back to Newcastle.

The ‘we’ was me and Steve. This is the man who really stuck his neck out to say that, come what may he was going to get me in shape when I tentatively came up with this crazy walking plan back in December. Well he’s been as good as his word, which I always knew he would be. Top bloke Steve.

We set off at 9am and the weather wasn’t too bad at that point, quite literally the calm before the storm. On we plundered, I had to stop to vomit after about a couple of miles – maybe not even that – at the side of the A34 as last night’s mini bosh up with Steve and his wife Sarah took its toll.

The withering look he gave me as I pathetically got up from my haunches and he said “You alright to carry on” made me instantly respond, “Yes mate, sorry mate”. To be fair, I was fine after that, no more yakking up today. On we went.

On through the scenic delights of Parkhouse Industrial Estate, all the way to Kidsgrove without much incident and with a supportive wind that certainly helped to clear any last remnants of hangover from last night.

We had intended to have a pint here but as we’d made good time we arrived half an hour ahead of opening and so took the difficult decision to continue along the canal path without sustenance. Within 20 minutes it was coming down in fucketfuls. As we strode along the side of Bathpool Park, that name became fairly apt.

Rain started leaking into my clothes, spreading its evil with cancer-like malignance. Through the coat, soaking my T-shirt, right through my tracksuit bottoms. That was just the start. By this point my hands were freezing and I was walking with them rigidly exposed to the elements. Rain then started seeping into my Reg Grundies.

Jesus fuck it was awful. My balls soon had a little pool of water to nestle in and body part shrinkage seemed to be taking hold, which when you’ve got nothing much to start with is quite a debilitating experience!

By this point every footstep was accompanied by a revolting squelch and then praise be the wind really picked up and we had to start playing the ‘try not to get drowned in standing water from passing motorists game’. My legs were telling me to pack it in, but if nothing else these last few weeks have given me extra determination to see out a task. And besides Steve was still cracking on.

I rocked up here, at my front door at 2pm, when ironically the sun was out so this picture doesn’t really give you any idea of the suffering we endured. Okay that’s a little melodramatic, it was just a walk after all. I did it and I am proud of myself. Thank you me and thank you Steve!

You can donate to my 300 mile walk from Eastbourne to Stoke-on-Trent as I raise money for two local hospitals 


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