Annual Itex-Rotary Walk around Guernsey (6 June 2012)

Annual Itex-Rotary Walk around Guernsey, 2012

When I lived in the UK, it wasn't unusual to see a few hardened cases in a queue outside a pub, waiting for the pub doors to open and to partake.  But this was ridiculous I was now in Guernsey and the queue waiting for the pub doors to open was over 100 strong.  And it was only 4.15 in the morning!

It was Saturday 6 June 2012.  The day of the annual Itex-Rotary Walk, some 40 miles around the perimeter of Guernsey, taking in steep cliff paths and long sandy bays as an endurance effort in aid of local charities. Over 600 walkers looking to raise another £50,000 this year, in addition to the £500,000 raised in previous years.

By 04.30, the first 150 or so walkers had entered the pub, checked in and were out the opposite door on the start of an average 12 hour trek.  The remaining 450 would be following them within the next hour.  The pub just happened to be the opening checkpoint in this high-profile endurance effort, with a further eight checkpoints to visit before finishing in the late afternoon or evening.

The walkers get to know the Island very well, with sunrise over the other islands, the breathtaking scenery of the southern cliffs, the splendour of Guernsey's west and north coasts and the final leg down the east coast, knowing that the finish is not far off.  Their sense of achievement at the end is palpable.

Each year, the Guernsey public, press, radio and TV gives their encouragement to all those taking part, knowing that the changing terrain takes its toll as the day progresses.  The finishing checkpoint, back in the centre of St Peter Port and just a few strides from the opening checkpoint, is a very welcome sight for all walkers.

The two Rotary Clubs in Guernsey combine forces with Itex, an IT Services company, to plan the walk and make it happen every year.  With each checkpoint providing food, water, first aid and other facilities, the logistics are daunting.  In addition, walkers bags of personal belongings (spare clothes, shoes and medical items etc.) are moved from each checkpoint to the next in a fleet of vans, ensuring that each bag always arrives at the next checkpoint before the related walker.  The challenges mount somewhat when you throw in a cooked barbecue breakfast for 600 at about 7 a.m. in a picturesque bay and you track every walker all day, in case one (or more) fails to turn up at a checkpoint and might have disappeared from the cliffs.

In terms of personal and community achievement, it is immeasurable.  This is a day when the community gets together.  With custom T shirts each year, the walkers are easily recognized by the public at large, and the publics generous words of encouragement to walkers are extremely welcome all day.

2012's high-profile walkers ranged from Lt-Governor Air Marshal Peter Walker (the Queen's representative in Guernsey) to local radio DJs and President Paul Steele of the Rotary Club of Guernsey.  But the day is also a superb example of "Rotary in action", as some 50+ members of the two Guernsey Clubs help to man the checkpoints, shift bags, cook and serve food & drink, drive vans and generally provide maximum support to those walking, who include the occasional Rotary member too!

You can tell from the selection of photographs that this event is indeed something special.  But don't just read about it - note the date 8 June 2013 and come and walk it next year! The views are breathtaking, you will thoroughly enjoy it, and you will be an inspiration to others.

Here's the Itex-Rotary Walk in Numbers


Registered walkers taking part in the 2012 Walk - that's 1% of the population of Guernsey.  If a similar percentage of the UK did such a walk, it would involve 660,000 walkers - over 30 times the size of the London Marathon.  Which just goes to show how great the people of Guernsey are in getting behind worthy causes.


The sum raised by the Walk for Guernsey charities to date.  Over £50k was raised in both 2011 and 2012.


The time the Walk started.  We say everyone deserved a medal just for getting up so early!



Volunteers who manned the checkpoints, provided food and drink or drove vans laden with food, equipment and walkers bags.  Heather and Alan Dearman helped to prepare the breakfasts.  It was really rewarding and there was a great atmosphere, says Heather.  By the time they got to Petit Bot, most people appreciated having a hot drink and something to eat although the runners just grabbed something to go!


Checkpoint sponsors and supporting organisations.


Sausages cooked at the breakfast BBQ by 8am and a similar number of bacon rashers.


Bananas distributed and consumed en route that's a lot of banana skins!


The number of cliff path steps walkers had to contend with some of these were down, but most of them were up!

8 hours

The time taken by Matt Hart to complete the course, the first man to do so.  Nati Gleeson was the first female over the line.

12 hours

The average time taken to walk the 39.5-mile course.

6,500 calories

That's about what you'd burn off by walking for 12 hours.


The age of the oldest walker to complete the full walk.


The number of local charities set to benefit from monies raised this year: Guernsey Cheshire Home, Guernsey Sailing Trust, Guernsey Botanical Trust, ADHD Support Group, Guernsey MS Society, CI Air Search and the Guernsey Health Information Exchange.


The number of blisters, aches and pains.


Big "thank you" from the organisers to all involved and their efforts for Guernsey.


The sense of achievement from taking part in such a worthwhile event, which has already become part of Guernsey's heritage and looks set to continue for many years to come.  Three generations of the Lipscombe family walked as a relay team, which was an inspired way of involving the youngest and oldest relatives.  John admits that there are highs and low, from the elation and the pleasure of seeing the wonderful sights around the island's coast, to occasionally wondering why you are putting yourself through it all. But when you have at last got to the Liberation Monument it is a great feeling, a real achievement, and you promise yourself you will do it again next year, hopefully!

Finally, please click HERE to watch a video of the Walk.

John Hollis, Community Services

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