After one of the wettest Mays on record, my sister Charlotte and I were lucky enough to wake up to a light breeze and some on and off mizzle (as we say in our native Cornwall) during our Saturday covering 26 miles of the Jurassic Coast in Dorset. This was our third of the five Carnsight charity challenges we’ve committed to in 2021, and I’m so pleased to say we did cross the finish line, raising £1,740 for Target Ovarian Cancer. It’s a charity that means a lot to me, as we lost our wonderful mother to the disease 10 months ago.
Although we both love hiking, the lockdowns have definitely taken their toll on my activity levels and my walking boots had been lying untouched for a fair few months before the day. I laced them up early on a Saturday morning, grabbed a waterproof and Charlotte and I were driven down to the starting line by our other sister, Emily, who acted as support crew.
I’d volunteered at and taken part in mass events such as the Moonwalk in the past, and the post-Covid Jurassic Coast Challenge had a surreal air about it by comparison, with no jostling, and ample space given to everyone at the start and all along the way. Nethertheless, the atmosphere was positive and supportive, and we set off feeling optimistic, if a little emotional.
We wound through beautiful Dorset towns and villages, such as Corfe Castle, before heading along the edge of Swanage, alongside the sea. The route was less coastal than we thought overall (later stages were more so) but certainly took us through some varied terrain and stunning views, particularly as we climbed higher.
The halfway point was welcome for food and a cup of tea (in true British style), a quick sit down and some extra plasters. But we tried not to stop for long before we set off again, this time through woodland, valleys and farmland.
At around 19 miles, the going got tougher. We were on a narrow, chalky path going steadily uphill for what seemed an age, with the distances between mile markers appearing to stretch out further and further. It was time to grit our teeth and keep up a steady pace.
Eventually it widened out and path became fields; uphill became downhill. A field of inquisitive bullocks became our next challenge. Luckily I’d picked up a few things from my rural village life and we grabbed a big stick to keep them at bay. We were also lucky enough to pass through some beautiful villages, such as Langton Matravers. I’m sure we’ll be back.
The 26 mile marker was a very welcome sight – starting as a speck in the distance and gradually becoming readable – and I’m sure we sped up as we passed it, through a gorsey landscape. And then we seemed to carry on and on, scanning the distance for the finish line which eventually came into view.
A medal, a cheer and a big veggie burger awaited us, as did Emily. Five and a half hours after starting our section of the Jurassic Coast Challenge, we toasted our blisters and our wonderful mother with a glass of prosecco.