26 July 2011
Andy Sillett took on the gruelling challenge of walking 46 miles on The 13th Pathfinder March to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Andy Sillett took on the gruelling challenge of walking 46 miles to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. The Pathfinder March was inaugurated in 1997 by Sqn Ldr Gavin Sugden, to commemorate the Pathfinder Force which operated out of RAF Wyton, RAF Gravely, RAF Oakington, RAF Warboys and their satellite bases from 1942 to 1945, and follows the route of the Pathfinder Long Distance Walk.
Walkers set off at 4am with 20 hours to complete the walk. It is a gruelling test of strength, stamina and map reading skills. Andrew completed the challenge and raised a fantastic £259.50. Below is Andy's account of the day’s event.
Well done Andy, and many thanks for choosing to support Macmillan.
Andy's Walk Diary
Up at 3am, walk start time 4am. Setting off from the RAF Wyton check-in station, following a short briefing. 4am, in the dark, and pouring with rain.
Over 300 participants, all setting off from the gates of the base.The first 2 hours were wet, but morning light came and the rain faded.The first 2 checkpoints pass, Graveley Airfield, The Poacher at Elsworth, approximately 15 miles, and my feet are starting to feel sore, blisters starting to form.
We continue on through the day through the checkpoints of Dry Drayton Primary School, Longstanton, Bluntisham, Warboys, Warboys Airfield.
Early evening brought the final check point at Kings Ripton village hall. Only a couple of fellow walkers in sight at these late stages.I now hobbled to the desk and was assured only 2.3 miles to go to reach the start point back at RAF Wyton.
Onwards was the only way, putting the pain of blistered feet at the back of my mind, I continue across a mile of field. Eventually approaching the final section of tarmac road. My friend way up ahead, adrenalin taking over, I jog the final mile.Jogging along, now amongst a great atmosphere. Small groups of supporting people at the side of the road encouraging us on to complete the walk. And on arriving through the gates, welcoming support staff applauding all, to the final check-in desk.
I felt a great sense of personnel achievement, and for my sponsors. I even caught my friend up, as I approached the desk. After resting on the grass area in the evening sun after 16 hours of walking, I realise the greatest challenge lay ahead, getting up from the grass and walking to my lift home. Ouch!
A great event, well organised and supported, with thanks to the Pathfinder event Organisers.
Their final words 'See you next year'. We’ll see!