2010 South Downs Walk

Day One

An excellent start to the walk with colleagues from Brighton and Eastbourne.

Soon into the walk we had to ascend Old Winchester Hill (about 400 metres). Beautiful scenery but a bit much for the Old Boy. I was sweating from places I didn’t realise I could sweat.  Soon after   reaching the top we decided to take a shortcut for health and safety   reasons and walked along the road to our lunch stop, arriving before 11.00 a.m.

Lunch at the rather quirky Sustainability Centre full of   Green do-gooders, and did you know you can even get buried there in a wicker basket. Lunch was cheese and Branston on wholemeal “en group” – not much good if you are a non cheese fancier. There was a great choice   of cheesecake however!

The afternoon walk was much more pleasant with a slight incline up Hangers Way through the Queen Elizabeth Country Park onto the finish at Buriton and Halls Hill car park. Finished just before the   heavens opened and overall a very good day.

Serious thanks to Mik Strevens from Eastbourne with his first class organisation and resource   management.

Day Two

Another fantastic day with the weather keeping fine. I was joined by a number of   Mears people and our client from Eastbourne. Walk started at the car park at   Buriton, with a slight incline across the hills.

Richard Jackson from Mears IT was our communication expert for the day, keeping in touch with the sport through Mik and Pete from Eastbourne.

Beautiful scenery all along the way   with an early stop planned for sandwiches, but we decided to press on and eat al fresco en route (note the European) . The pace was set by Fran Watts of   Eastbourne Homes and we arrived at Beacon Hill with a tough decision to make.   Whilst Helen and Phillippa were administering first aid to a mountain biker who had come a cropper, we took the democratic view to walk directly up Beacon Hill   – bugger!

Lunch was taken at the highest point on Beacon Hill and we made our way along the various undulations, with Clint Ford of Bracknell being   the Mears food mule. Nicky Hankins, Regional HR had only had 3 fags at this   point but no doubt more to come. The rest of the walk was an absolute pleasure although quite demanding in places. Delighted that all our contingent finished   together.

A great walk with good camaraderie from all concerned. Well done   to Fran, Phillippa, Val, Helen, Nicky, Richard and Clint. Thank you to all who have raised money for your various charities.

Day Four

Oh dear poor old England who made their usual start to the World Cup campaign. I took the very wise decision to have a quiet drink with my eldest son and his friends on Saturday afternoon. Having shown them how to play pool we then carried on for the afternoon game and the England debacle. Eleventeen drinks later and I was on my way home feeling much worse for wear and an ideal preparation for the climb up the Eiger that is expected.

My intuition that there may be a health and safety hazard at the start of the walk was absolutely correct. Although I do not want to miss climbing the 240 metres at the start I am only thinking of others !!

Weather mixed with reasonable blue sky but giving the impression that we might get a bit of rain. Just informed the support crew to meet a little further along the path and I can relax and prepare for the slog.

Joined today by Gary Lester the Managing Director of Social Housing in the South and teams from Thanet , Eastbourne and Anne from Customer Care. Clients from Canterbury make up a good walking party.

I was correct in my previous thought about the start point and remarkably we started at the top of the bloody big hill that we could have walked ! Hurrah for health and safety.

What a great walk today with magnificent views almost throughout. We stopped in Washington for an early lunch – excellent hospitality seeing that they opened up 30 minutes early for us.

A steep climb straight after lunch via some amorous horses and then great sights and a Bi plane not too far above our heads who waved and treated us to a loop the loop. Soon after we met a team of walkers who immediately recognised me – they were from Travis Perkins and had walked with me on the Thames 5 years ago. They claim Mears had inspired their company to take up walking !

Downhill to our finish next to the cement works !

Great support from Mik and Pete who have made this walk memorable.

Day Five

A good day with  fine weather.  Joined by colleagues from Brighton, Crawley and Richmond.  Lunch was again on the hoof.  Some very steep hills. Some more health and safety awareness training employed, missing out a couple of serious problems. Everyone enjoyed the day, with a reasonably early finish at Ditchling Beacon.

Thanks to Mik and Pete for their continuing excellent organisation, and to everyone who took part and raised money for their various charities.

Day Six

Another fantastic day with fine weather.  Joined by Lucas from Dartford, Jacko and Barrie from Eastbourne and Ken from the Community & Environment team. I thought I was the biggest character in Mears but Jacko takes it to a new level. Within half a mile he was telling me how Mears could be run better and of course I now know all his life story – including about his manly enlargement. Sorry Jacko but you did ask me to mention that to all the ladies.

Again a couple of steep hills were avoided on Health and Safety grounds and we jumped in the van just after lunch to avoid the wrong sort of leaves – in our tea !

Ending at the magnificent Beachy Head with pictures of the lighthouse in the background.

Jacko insisted on me buying everybody a beer to celebrate which was done with the greatest pleasure.

This has been a great (if somewhat challenging) walk, thanks in no small part to the excellent organisation skills of Mik Strevens and Pete Allistone. My sincere thanks to them and to everyone who has joined me on the walk over the last few days, and raised money for charity.