Round Wales charity walk for Blood Cancer UK

Thu, Jul 27th 2023 at 10:30 am- Tue, Oct 17th 2023 - 4:00 pm

Our IPP Chris Dowse is now on the second and longest stage of his Round Wales walk, this time tackling the Welsh Coast Path from Chester to Chepstow via Anglesey and everywhere else!


Chris began his walk from Chester (just across the border in England) and, on visiting Chester Cathedral the day before setting off, he found a model railway exhibit which he kindly photographed for our Vice President's benefit.

The Welsh Coastal Path officially starts from the border with Cheshire and continues for around a thousand miles until it reaches Chepstow on the south coast, next to the border with Gloucestershire.  Chris commenced his walk on 27th July and aims to complete it on his 75th birthday in October.  Wife Chris is acting as his back-up while other family members are joining him from time to time.

His news on 13th August was:

"With only one day left to walk on Anglesey, I have now completed 36% of the whole Round Wales Walk. Once again I am both amazed and very grateful to all those wonderful people who so kindly continue to contribute to the Blood Cancer UK Fund. A special thank you to Comrie Cancer Club, who donated £3,000 directly to Perth Royal Infirmary Haematology and Oncology Unit in recognition of my walk, which is not included in the above total."

Then by 20th August he was able to report:

"A brief update: now reached Aberdaron, the Land's End of Wales. Day off today, then on to Hell's Mouth tomorrow and should reach Barmouth on Saturday if all goes to plan.

 

Weather has been remarkably good in-spite of the best efforts of Storm Betty. Got back to base on Friday just before it really struck after a day in T shirt and shorts, very windy but warm. Saturday morning cleared leaves and sticks off the car only to find our way blocked by a tree..Too warm for leggings so just got wet and dried off again in the strong warm wind (twice!)."

 

Six days' later he told us:

"On Saturday 26th August I reached Barmouth which is the halfway point in my Round Wales Walk, so another 538 miles still to go. In spite of the generally poor summer so far, the weather has been very kind to me and I have only had two really wet days in 43 days of walking! Yet another huge thank you for the generous support including a total of £140 raised in cash in the last two weeks."

As at 28th August he appears to be well on his way around the mighty Cardigan Bay.  Two days later, Mrs Chris took a well-deserved break with friends from Lincolnshire and travelled on the narrow-gauge Talyllyn Railway from Tywyn to Nant Gwernol via Abergynolwyn - en route passing the upside-down cottages at Dolgoch Falls where our Vice President will be holidaying in just over two weeks' time.

On 3rd September, a report was received from Chris's son's mother-in-law (!) that he had passed the halfway mark between Chester and Chepstow, but we await confirmation of when and where this occurred.  A check on his Just Giving page that morning showed that he had raised £7,646 or 70% of his target (£10,710).  However, as shown earlier, a donation of £3,000 in his name was made to PRI, so that really increases the total to £10,646 which is just £64 short of the target - and he still has several weeks left in his schedule to finish the walk!

That evening, another email from Chris arrived, stating:

"Just a quick update: now south of Aberystwyth with 465 miles left which feels quite good.

 

Weather has been remarkably kind and I reckon that of the 49 days of walking so far only about 4 have been wet. I have been soaked a couple of times but not as badly as the memorable day on the SWCP when I did 12 miles in non stop stair rods!

 

Pics are of leaving Aber yesterday and a couple taken by friends who walked with me the day before from Borth."

 

He was now heading for beautiful Pembrokeshire.  There:was a bit of a gap in news from him, but it turned out his mobile phone was failing and had to be fixed by a Vodaphone chap in Haverfordwest.  As a result of that, the following update arrived from Chris on Monday 11th September.

"I am now 38 miles into the Pembrokeshire Coast Path section, and getting into familiar country of which we are very fond, having spent 8 consecutive summer holidays camping at Broad Haven when the children were little...

 

We are now in a very nice converted piggery near Little Haven.

 

This morning it is dull with a little drizzle which is actually welcome relief from the searingly hot conditions during the week, which made walking pretty tough, especially my 17 mile day which included numerous ups and downs....It was nice to have an old friend walking with me all week.

 

As last night there are 389 miles left to walk to complete the circuit back to Chepstow so making progress. Now 64% done!

 

Photographs are of Strumble Head yesterday, seals on one of the two breeding beaches I passed and a stone commemorating the French landing in Pembrokeshire in 1797, which was the last invasion of mainland Britain....There is a story that Jemima Nicholas, a woman from Fishguard and armed only with a pitchfork, captured 12 French soldiers and held them captive in a Church....

, I am now 38 miles into the Pembrokeshire Coast Path section, and getting into familiar country of which we are very fond, having spent 8 consecutive summer holidays camping at Broad Haven when the children were little.

 

We are now in a very nice converted piggery near Little Haven.

 

This morning it is dull with a little drizzle which is actually welcome relief from the searingly hot conditions during the week, which made walking pretty tough, especially my 17 mile day which included numerous ups and downs....It was nice to have an old friend walking with me all week.

 

As of Saturday  night there were 389 miles left to walk to complete the circuit back to Chepstow so making progress. Now 64% done!

 

Photographs are of Strumble Head on Saturday, seals on one of the two breeding beaches I passed and a stone commemorating the French landing in Pembrokeshire in 1797, which was the last invasion of mainland Britain.  There is a story that Jemima Nicholas, a woman from Fishguard and armed only with a pitchfork, captured 12 French soldiers and held them captive in a Church."

 

And so he continues on his trek, with this useful item being picked up on 13th September:

"On Saturday 26th August I reached Barmouth which is the halfway point in my Round Wales Walk, so another 538 miles still to go. In spite of the generally poor summer so far, the weather has been very kind to me and I have only had two really wet days in 43 days of walking! Yet another huge thank you for the generous support including a total of £140 raised in cash in the last two weeks."

By the 13th, his Just-Giving total had reached £8,386 or 77% of his target.  Chris then knew that our Vice President (who writes this 'blog' on his behalf)was going away for a week's holiday in the Snowdonia National Park so he refrained from sending in any more updates until 24th September when the following arrived:

"I hope your holiday went well and you got some decent weather - we got some rail last week but also a good few warm sunny days.

Thought I would just send an update as it's Sunday and therefore I'm catching up with "paperwork", and also I didn’t want to bother you while you were trying to get a bit of peace!

 

Finished the Pembrokeshire Coast Path yesterday when I passed through Amroth: ended the day at Pendine and have now been joined by our two eldest grandchildren who will be walking with me next week. From Pendine the Wales Coast Path turns inland to get round a military firing range and the estuaries of the rivers Taf and Towey before returning to the coast proper near Llanelli and thence on to Gower when the grandchildren leave us and we are joined by friends for the following week.

 

With 234 miles to go have completed 78% of the route and am still on schedule to finish on 17th October, provided no setbacks..

 

Photos are Leaving Tenby, end of the PCP at Amroth, and Saundersfoot."

 

During his holiday, our Vice President visited Barmouth and photographed the 'half-way' point of the Welsh Coast Path between Chester and Chepstow; this image has been added to the photo gallery which accompanies this 'blog'.

An update from Chris late on 25th September read:

"Tuesday was the only wet day I had last week but it was really wet!! However, I just had to get on with it and the waterproofs worked pretty well!! Had odd little bits of showers but nothing much and summer returned on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.....

 

Good walk today with Tom and Tess from Pendine to St Clears passing The Boathouse in Laugharne where Dylan Thomas lived and the garage where he wrote. I have never read any of his work but I think I'll give it a try having been "inspired"!

 

Now 223 miles left and 19 days to do it, so the end is just beginning to come into view!

 

He now will be passing from Carmarthenshire into West Glamorgan and thus on to South Glamorgan, Cardiff and Newport before reaching the easternmost part of Monmouthshire at Chepstow - all to be accomplished by 17th October.

There has been a bit of a gap in his reports to the Club, but on 8th October he sent the following message:

"After completing the PCP, I had to go well inland as far as St Clears and Carmarthen in order to get round the three estuaries of the Taf, Towy and Gwendraeth with the path returning close to the coast between each and making a total of well over 40 miles!  I had our two eldest grandchildren with me that week and had excellent weather on the whole except for the odd cloudburst! 

 

Last week we had old friends with us during which time we walked round Gower as far as Swansea. They left yesterday and I walked on to Port Talbot.

 

Only 105 miles left to walk now to reach Chepstow and still on schedule to finish on 17th before which we will be joined by the Comrie family for the last few days, as they did on the SWCP five years ago...

 

That will mean that all our boys and their spouses and families will have joined me at some stage of my journey, some twice!!

 

Pics are finishing week before last, week just gone and various coastal shots....

 

PS If GA is added to the JG total plus the £3,000 Sent by CCC to PRI direct and cash I have been given but not yet banked and cheques/ cash waiting fir me when I get back I estimate the total so far to be in the region of £13,500.

 

Chris sent in six new images but, at present, only one location has been recognised (Port Talbot steelworks) so the captions are a bit lacking!

On Friday 13th October, with just four days left before reaching his destination, Chris sent in this short report:

"Reached Cardiff today and walked over the barrage in lovely sunshine but got absolutely soaked on way back in sudden cloudburst.....

 

Photographs depict the outward journey and return journey across the barrage!!

 

PS 47 miles left now.....!!"

 

With the schools' half-term holiday in progress in Scotland, he now should have been joined by some of his grand-children to walk the final stage with him.

 

Finally, Chris reached Chepstow on schedule and sent this last message:

 

"Got to the finishing post in Chepstow at 2.00pm on 17th October, as planned. The last few days required some careful planning as the final Saturday's walk was 20 miles  -  too much for me. So I decided to walk on the last Sunday thereby halving it. I was joined by my eldest son and three grandchildren for these last three days.

 

The weather was sunny and warm and we celebrated with birthday cake, fizz and a picnic...

 

The photos are self explanatory

 

One week later, his JustGiving page showed that he had already achieved 105% of his original target - and money was still coming in, including £250 from our Club.  Together with Gift Aid and the special donation of £3,000 (see above), Chris's amazing efforts have raised around £17,000 for Blood Cancer UK.

 

Well done Chris!

 

Callum MacLeodContact Callum MacLeod about this page:

(ALL fields required)

(If you are a Rotarian, please name your club.)

'What We Do' Main Pages:

Chris Harnish, who happens to be the son of one of the Benzie Sunrise club members, is working to build a medical centre in Malawi and will update everyone on progress to date.

more  

Former Club President Chris Dowse is walking the entire 632 miles of the South West Coast Path from Minehead to Poole to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK and Rotary Foundation's 'End Polio Now'. His trek will end on his 70th birthday.

more  
Thursday, 3rd August 2017 at Crieff Golf Club

Crieff Rotary Club's Charity Fund Raising Am/Am Golf Day at Crieff Golf Club.

more  

NEVER A DULL MOMENT!

more