We continue our look back to the 2009 challenge today, focusing on just a single day, December 27, the day before the hike began.
December 27 - Walk minus 1 day!
After spending last night in my own bed, the last time for more than a week, I was up and about around 8:00 am GMT this morning. After showering and getting dressed I did a final check of the packing. If there's something that I've forgotten now, it may well remain forgotten! Seriously though, I've got everything that I'll need.
I'm now sitting here, having written the last email that I had to reply to, listening to some music and drinking coffee. Sunday morning wouldn't be Sunday morning without coffee and music and today is no different.
I learned last night that Grace has had to withdraw from the hike, I'm unsure at this time why she has withdrawn, but I do know she's still fundraising for us. This means there are now 11 of us doing it. We will be meeting at Dani's house in a matter of hours. These are the train times for the journey to the start location, both for today and tomorrow morning.
Sunday morning (12/27)
Overpool: Leave at 9:22 am CST
Liverpool Lime Street: Arrive at 9:58 am CST
Liverpool Lime Street: Leave at 10:31 am CST
Preston: Arrive at 10:37 am CST
Monday morning (12/28)Preston: Leave at 1:14 am CST
Carlisle: Arrive at 2:25 am CST
We're then getting a taxi from Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway, where we're starting. The hike itself should start no later than 2:00 am CST, I think.
As for the return journey, I'll be coming back from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I've not booked any travel though as although the hike is scheduled for 6 days, we may be delayed.
THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for your love and support, it really does mean so much to me. Have a great New Year. See you in 2010!
The second entry of the day was written that evening and posted to the site the day after returning from the hike...
December 27, 2009 - Hike minus 1 day (cont)
After waking at 8:00 am GMT and making final preparations I relaxed for a few hours. As noon approached, I called and spoke to my son who told me all about Christmas.
As everyone in the US woke up, I called and spoke to a friend for a few minutes. Then, just before 2:00 pm, another sent me a text saying that he and his wife were awake and asking me to call them. I planned to leave around or just after 2:30 pm. As he and I chatted, I took a deep breath, the time was almost upon me. Before passing the phone to his wife, my friend wished me luck.
Nervous excitement was really kicking in as the conversation continued. Just before the call ended, she said "It's time you were going, lady. We are all with you, we love you." Her last words to me were "we're so proud of you, Em!"
Having put the phone down, I put my coat on and swung my rucksack onto my back. I picked up the holdall and second bag then left the house for the 10 minute walk to Overpool railway station. As I waited for the train, I struck up a conversation with a stranger about the adventure that lay ahead of me. During the conversation, he gave me a donation for the charity and we continued talking until he got off the train.
Arriving at Liverpool Lime Street station, I discovered I'd need to change trains at Wigan North Western, instead of being able to get straight through to Preston. The transition wasn't long, and in fact I arrived at Dani's house just before 6:00 pm as planned.
I was the first to arrive and as we started getting to know each other we both checked our bags. I swapped a few things into the rucksack that I'd need for Monday, as Seb's Dad, Terry, would be arriving soon to take the rest of the kit.
Emily arrived at the house next, just before Terry. Having chatted for a short time and loaded the car, Terry left and we went to fetch Grace. Even though she's not coming with us, she was coming to meet us all tonight. We also dropped Dani off, as she was meeting the others at the bus station and walking back with them.
Grace, Emily and I got back to the house shortly before Dani, Seb, Bea, Zach, Graham, Pip, CJ, Alex and Jake. It was wonderful to finally meet everyone. Having ordered out for a late supper of fried chicken, we began settling for the night around midnight. It was late, VERY late, well after 2:00 am GMT before many of us got any sleep at all...In the next retrospective entry, I'll share with you some of the highlights from each day of the hike. That post was written the day I got back and gave me some time to type up all the other entries. I'll be back later this week with another post with my training notes from this year, so I hope you'll join me then.