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the Team Leader Walk with OOSO 16-19 Aug 2019
There can be few finer ways you can spend in the south of England than striding purposefully over downsland on a warm, sunny day. High up with wide views of the surrounding area, you can’t help but stand, look out and admire our green and pleasant land.
All you need is a dog running excitedly around your feet, and you’re pretty much in the perfect world.
It was on one of these treks that Matt Carter and his wife, Doreen, conceived the idea of the Walk with OOSO.
Since that epiphany Matt has organised and tested the route, obtained appropriate permissions, surveyed the logistics, and corralled a collection of volunteers to enjoy the course.
And, as a special investigation he has even visited the hostelries at the end of each leg.
For the most part, the Ridgeway stays true to its name and is a relatively easy walk spent mostly walking along ridges. The paths often provide splendid views over the relatively flat local landscape. There are some gentle climbs, and often you’ll need to head down hill to get to accommodation. The Ridgeway’s good transport links mean it’s also an ideal walk if you live in London and wish to complete a walk in weekends.
The western section especially includes a number of historical features such as white chalk horses and plenty of long barrows.
If you'd like to see the route that our walkers will take click here and scroll down.
If you'd like to sponsor a group of walkers click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to see the links to the fundraising pages of each of the team leaders.
Day 1 - Friday 16 August
Uffington Castle - West Ilsley
All smiles from the ex-patients before the off - or is that nervous anticipation?
No, it's real enthusiasm. Only the dog is camera-shy.
Look the weather's still good. Do' and Sue are even pretending it's sunny.
Now the weather's starting to turn. Steve can't even spare one last look at Didcot's power station chimneys.
I know it feels like we're walking forever, but to go as far as Hitchin? Surely not.
Hurray we're almost there. One of us feels like he's on his last legs. Oh how we laughed.
Just desserts or welcome reward? Who cares, I deserve this.
And a bonus for our magnificent Walk Master. What's that on his nose? A present from a seagull?
Day 2 - Saturday 17 August
West Ilsley - South Stoke
Much better weather today as proven by the still waters at Goring Weir.
Two brothers, Steve and Matt, plus Tom at Goring. Look, no waterproofs.
Even this landmark at Goring - the Golden Gudgeon - was surprised by the good weather.
Butterfly count so far – twelve species, including these male and female ‘holly blues’ at Goring.
Bird count so far fourteen species. Slim pickings with the poor weather on day one. The highlights being blackcap and female sparrow hawk.
Tom and Steve wet their whistles after the 12.8 miler. Thinks, why is there a spare glass in this photograph? Is our Walk Master being shy?
Day 3 - Sunday 18 August
South Stoke - Watlington
The complete ensemble. Ready for anything, including the odd shower.
No wait. Youth is about to show us the way.
A glimpse of Josh as he passed through.
Josh is Matt's nephew. He's the one surreptitiously looking at Matt.
Josh is as keen as mustard, hence the colour of his shirt.
Matt said "Josh is the fit young fella - did his own thing and covered thirty miles in five hours."
En route, on time and on song. Here we are mid-walk and enjoying the sun.
This leg was fifteen miles long and included steep climbs. But it provided great views that were shared and enjoyed by the great company.
It seemed appropriate as we were on The Ridgeway that amongst the discussions there were some tall stories. But was the local farmer listening and passing comment?
No seriously. It was like this most of the day. Who could tire of such delights?
Day 4 - Monday 19 August
Watlington - Princes Risborough
Super fit Josh started an hour after the other walkers but still finished an hour and a half ahead of the rest.
Andy was the "best of the rest", but still smiling at the end.
There were non-walkers to greet the teams ...
... including a hero from the John O'Groats to Land's End cycle ride. Note how everyone was putting their best foot forward.
Naturally the Walk Master, Matt, was there together with his wife, Do, who had the original idea for the walk.
When the main group arrived there were smiles all round ...
... and all the way through the group.
It was good to get the weight off.
There was tucker provided by mine host - you can see Maureen on the right of this picture.
All of the walkers were thanked by the Walk Master and assured that their contributions will be used to benefit future patients. To see a list of the current "shopping list" click here.
And finally, Matt presented certificates to the Team Leaders.
Everybody was extremely grateful to Maureen and her team in The Plough at Cadsden.