This year, the BMF will be supporting BMF member Rita Davis on her charity walk from John o’Groats to Land’s End. Rita's route is in the region of 1,200 miles, she expects it to take about three months to complete and she will be wild camping much of the way.
The BMF will be coordinating support for her journey and organising start/finish events. Below, Rita explains her reasons for doing the challenge...
“About eight years ago, my best friend Sue Bryant, my sister Linda Davis and I decided to walk the Ridgeway. It was 87 miles. We wild-camped and finished it within a week.
“After this, Sue and I carried on walking – we both loved it. A year and a half ago, we went from Avebury to Stonehenge but, during the walk, I noticed Sue kept getting disoriented. Towards the end, she nearly collapsed.
“I asked her what was wrong. Sue told me she had bowel cancer and had to have her main bowel removed within two weeks. This knocked me for six.
“Sue later had her main bowel removed, but the cancer spread through her body so fast that within three months she died. Bless her heart.
“This really shocked me and her loving daughter's, Holly and Robyn. I reached 13 stone through the loss of my best friend.
“One December, I bought the magazine Country Walking. It asked people to walk 1,000 miles in one year. I decided to try it, walking for Cancer Research UK. By January 1 2018, I had walked more than 2,000 miles.”
“My wish is to walk from John o’Groats to Land’s End, solo and wild camping at 64 years old. Since Christmas 2017, I have been ill and ended up in hospital. However, I am recovering fast now and will have to begin some practising again. I am still determined to do it.
“My friend Mel has made me a tent that holds up with a walking pole, making it much lighter to carry. Elaine Constable, a BMF member, is arranging for trusted motorcyclists to check on me each day and night where possible. Hopefully, I will also arrange an overnight stay here and there too.
"BMF Events Director Mitch Elliott discovered what I was doing and why, and greatly admired me for it. I told him about my wish to walk from John o'Groats to Lands End and he told me he would like to help me out as much as he could. I told Mitch that I’m going to call myself the ‘Wondering Gypsy’.
“I'm going to Scotland at the end of April and will start my walk on May 1 2018. The route is 1,200 miles long and I hope to finish sometime in August.”
You can support her by donating via the links above on JustGiving.com.