charity dog walking Rachel and Chester’s challenge

Rachel and Chester’s Big Purple Dog Walk Challenge

Multiple sclerosis (MS) has touched our lives and MS-UK is amazing. Those of you that know me, know I don’t do ‘fitness’. However, Chester and I took on the absolute beast that is the Saltmarsh 75 route, 75 miles (120km) of the beautiful Essex coastline to raise funds for MS-UK.

11 August

As you may have suspected, our first 15-mile stretch has been postponed due to the extreme heat. It would have led to us walking all day and that would not have been fair on Chester. We walked early this morning and he immediately cooled off in his bucket afterwards! Too hot already at 7.30am. I will keep you posted when we do set off!

19 August

I think I have worked out our routes! We start from Salcott this morning! We are going back along the Saltmarsh 75 route. Today’s 8.35 mile trek will feature a guest appearance from my mother! We did it! The first leg of our big challenge is completed. We finally managed to wear out Chester! Thanks to the birdwatcher on the sea wall that gave us a tenner and to those of you that have already put us over our target. I’m so grateful. Thanks to mum for accompanying me and for my ice cream at the end!

22 August

We decided to split the Tollesbury to Goldhanger stretch into two separate efforts, avoiding a 10-mile trip in one hit. It is a bit of a strange feeling starting and ending in Tollesbury! Just about 7 miles today, accompanied by my stunt double, Sophie! Chester pulled like a train for the whole stretch. It’s not enough for him!

26 August

Today we were joined by Lynn and Bella and by Sophie and Adam. Although Tollesbury is lovely, it was nice to finally leave it behind after 18 miles! Just a short one today, 4 miles to Goldhanger. We have raised £550 so far!

29 August

Today we did the Goldhanger to Heybridge stretch. We stopped for breakfast at The View with my dad! We have reached £555! Jenny, Sophie and Adam joined Chester and me, with Rod turning up for breakfast.

09 September

Chester and I have now completed our next stage! It was wet and lonely initially, but the isolation soon changed, when we arrived near Maldon, finishing the stage on the Hythe with my husband and my son and a pint at the Queen’s Head! Very civilised!

11 September

Today, Chester and I did a solo walk from Maldon Hythe to Maylandsea (7.5 miles). It was interesting to see nobody for so many miles! Also, lovely to finish at Maylandsea Sailing Club and to see the Kestrel fleet getting ready to sail and chat with a competitor from my past! Chester behaved well and found a ball too! We are over halfway!

18 September

Today, Chester did well, clocking up 9 miles from Maylandsea to Ramsey Island (Stone Sailing Club). We were joined by my mum, Sophie and my lovely cousin Ian! Henry is coming to pick us up now. We are shattered! 46 miles down and £695 up!

25 September

Today, we did 8 miles from Stone to St Peter’s on The Wall. Bradwell started as a tiny dot, and then we walked under and past it until we got to the 1400 year old chapel! We found the North Sea!

02 October

Today, I have to admit, I struggled! Chester was great and Sophie and Henry joined us for the 14 miles to our pickup point in Burnham on Crouch. We received another huge donation of £20! It was a lovely day, we did not get rained on and, despite numerous warnings, did not get attacked by crazed adders!

09 October

We did it! It turned out we did 77.8 miles! Our last stretch was from Burnham to North Fambridge. What a beautiful area I live in. Chester is a hero, Sophie walked most of this with me too. Mum walked lots too.

The support from people has been amazing. I’m sad it’s over. I want to do something else now and so I’m starting to think about what is next!

A big thank you to Rachel, Chester and their family and friends for the support! To date, they have raised a fantastic £890 for MS-UK via JustGiving.