The end of the GUC and the turn for home - In the name of Thiago - Day 280


Today was my last weekend walk - not of all time you understand but of what I'm calling for now at least, a once in a lifetime experience. Now here's the thing. I've discovered an awful lot about myself on this incredible journey and one of those things is that what I spend most of my life doing is a complete and utter waste of fucking time and that doing stuff which brings value and happiness to people's lives makes me feel infinitely happier. It's not rocket science but it is one of my observations of the day nonetheless.

I had a bit of a boost at the start of my day and that was some brand new undercrackers and socks. That's right, not just washed but new. They just about wrapped themselves around my newly svelte waistline (no laughing at the back please) and suddenly I felt like a new man. Or at least a man temporarily distracted from his horribly blistered feet.

Here's our team for the day though at this point we were just waiting on Oliver. Apologies Oliver but we had to seize on the opportunity of the photographer that was handy when we had the chance! I was going through an entire gamut of emotions when I arrived at this place yesterday, today I didn't even shed a tear and felt a lot more in control. I suspect there's a lot of psychology in play here but the leaving from BCH this morning was much easier than the arriving yesterday afternoon.

As I've been saying this last few days, the canal towpath affords you quite a few sights. This young lady wasn't quite what I had in mind when I said that. Just seeing her performing acts of contortion on this hoop for a few moments started to make me feel a bit giddy. One of the chaps she was with, chucked a couple of quid in the pot and we continued on our way along the path. 

Finally after two weeks of traversing its magnificent 145 miles from Brentford it was time to leave the Grand Union Canal. I've really grown attached to this place, the memories I will take it from it are varied and frankly nothing short of magnificent. The experience of walking along it has challenged me to think differently and warmed my soul. To the GUC, I say this: thank you.

I am eternally grateful to Ben Upson today - the man is a map reading genius. He guided our group out of the city along the canal path and through these delightful woodlands before the second half of the route to Stourbridge was, by reasons of geography, consumed by the A458. There were eight of us today, which makes this day the biggest band of yellow-shirted warriors there's been since that magnificent opening day meandering across the Sussex Downs. 

We were a wonderful assortment today and it felt really special. From my old uni mate Paul Broome, who I didn't get much chance to talk to today, (sorry Paul!) to Al, who'd come all the way from London to join me today, to tennis playing friend Leo, great friend Steve with his mate and now mine Ben, to Oliver, who I know from work, to Glyn another dear and incredibly decent person this was a gathering of great guys who just wanted to support me. I am grateful to each and every one of them.

I'm not so sure they were terribly grateful to me when the heavens opened and we were all pissed on from a great height, but that's one thing I have no control over. And anyway lads, you weren't on the towpath when it happened, so you should be grateful for small mercies. I refer you to the Long Buckby to Napton-on-the-Hill stage of this monumental journey...

Well I suppose everywhere yearns to be known for something, though I did wonder at this point whether the sign-makers were even slightly tempted to add 'and quickly' under the word carefully in case anyone was captured here for any longer than was strictly necessary.

This has been a day about old friends, new friends, shared memories and understanding that life is for living. Nobody today cared about anything other making the most of a special day. These men were all there for me today and for that I am especially grateful. I'm feeling stronger than I ever have before and I know that there's something in me that no-one can ever take away. Thank you chaps, you've made me feel quite emotional today. In a very good way.

And on a final note, thanks to the combined efforts of these fine chaps today I've raised another £390 towards my fundraiser. I saw the gratitude of Birmingham Children's Hospital first hand yesterday and I know that Royal Stoke are equally as grateful for all the money you're helping me raise. I've upped the target for one last time to £20,000 because frankly, well why not. So now I really need your bloody help!



  1. A huge thankyou to all you terrific guys for supporting CG today and making this part of his journey memorable.


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