My friend Doris

The last week was full of highs and lows, tears and laughter, pain and relaxation. The North Norfolk coast path was an absolute delight made better by being taken under the wing of Gin and Mark from MarGinsholidays.co.uk

 

They took it on themselves to organise a house ‘pub’ quiz for my first night in Norfolk. A beautiful house in Happisburgh (hayesboro) was the location for the quiz hosted by Tess and Terry who managed to quickly rustle up 15 fiercely competitive and amusing locals to take part. We laughed and joked our way to raising £105 on the night and I went to bed tired but immensely pleased with my first night in Norfolk. Tess & Terry were amazing hosts.

img_3893
The next few days I spent with Gin & Marc were fun packed and full of variety. I was on BBC radio Norfolk, I walked along flat sandy beaches with blue skies, I climbed cliffs, skirted around the erosion where the North Sea is gradually eating our coastline like a slow Hungry Hippo, met the deputy mayor of Cromer as he greeted me at Cromer Pier along with ‘walkers are welcome’ group and Cromer pier staff, a reporter from ITV Anglia News lay in wait for me at Stiffkey to film me walking – this went out on TV that evening, I walked the testing shingle part of the path with a lovely lady called Val, I was interviews on North Norfolk Radio by Wayne who gave me a superhero introduction, I visited a cardiac support group where I met some lovely people and chatted about the walk, I blubbed on camera as I approached Hunstanton and many more stories in just those few days.

A side of the walk that I had never considered started to happen that would leave me both happy but immensely sad and hurting. Saying goodbye to people who I had only just started to strike up a friendship with. It is heartbreaking as I can’t even say that I would pop back in a few weeks. This is “Say Hello Wave Goodbye”. In a short space of time, I had to say goodbye to Gin and Mark and also lovely Dawne from the BHF as I moved out of her territory. I sat in my room that night and suddenly felt very alone. I wanted to stay. I had met some fabulous people, kind, thoughtful, funny, silly and generous. I questioned the walk and I questioned how I was going to cope with new found pain. I put on Wham and cheered myself up.

to-king-s-lynn

Hunstanton to Kings Lynn on paper looked a lovely walk, varied, with beach walking, dunes, trails and town walking. Kate Bull author of ‘Open Hearts’ book and a retired cardiologist was to join me for this leg as was Storm Doris. I set off into a 8mile headwind with gusts of up to 50mpg along the sea wall. My neck scarf covered my face, my waterproof jacket covered my head and forehead so the only piece of skin visible was a small slit where my eyes poked through. Even looking like a Norfolk Ninja, the sand splattered into my face and eyes and made it hard to see. Some gusts left me stationary with one or two picking me up and throwing me back a foot or so. I decided on a new walking strategy to cope with the battering. 200 steps forward 50 steps moonwalking like Michael Jackson. It worked for a time until I walked into a set of steps on the sea walk and swore.

img_20170223_090524

Kate met me soon after the sea wall. She had dispatched my bag in a pub in Snettisham. I was envious of my rucksack! We had two options. The lower wall which would mean more sand or the higher wall inland which would be more blustery. We chose the latter and gritted our teeth for nearly two hours as we faced the headwind. Eventually we reached Snettisham and rested at her beach hut.

We knew the rain would be worse later on so I set off after half an hour and decided to stick to the main roads. This was a good decision because the wind turned and the trees protected me. The downside to this was walking under moaning, bending trees and I was hit many times by falling twigs but luckily not branches. After 15 miles I found Kate who had moved the car to the end and we walked the end stage together, both of looking like Worzel Gummage with rosey cheeks.

We did it. We faced Storm Doris head on and I am extremely satisfied now when I look back at it…though the language in my head at the time could only have been repeated after the watershed.

So I am now in Lincolnshire, my fourth county in 25 days. My feet are fine. My body is holding up and mentally I feel great.

My holiday romance with Doris will never be forgotten
Kieran

Sunny Hunny & Doris

What an emotional day!! Hunstanton is my 1st pinpoint on the map, a place to aim for since I left London just over three weeks ago.

I have been to Hunstanton at various points of life and as I reflected back on those visits today, tears of sadness and of joy came and went. As a relatively fit CHD patient in my late twenties, I mucked about on the beach with friends whilst on a weeks holiday. Fast forward six years and I came back whilst in end stage heart failure and could only manage to walk 100 yards on the sandy beach before sitting down, completely out of breath and legs screaming in pain. Two years after transplant I was back having walked 100 miles on the Peddlers Way and North Norfolk coast path. Today I was back having walked from London around the whole of East Anglia.

I knew when planning this walk that if I got to Hunstanton then I would be able to do the lot. Not because of difficulty but mentally. I now have a routine, habits and most importantly, a belief.

The day started with a very amusing interview on North Norfolk radio. Wayne, the DJ, gave me a huge superhero build up which really made me chuckle. I then headed by bus inland to meet Dawne who is the BHF’s Fundraising Manager for Suffolk and Norfolk to visit and talk with people at a cardiac support group. This was an unexpected bonus and I really enjoyed hearing their stories. I returned to the Norfolk Coast path around 1pm for the 9 mile walk across the dunes to Hunstanton.
As I walked towards the multicoloured cliffs, the sun came out. I had arrived in ‘Sunny Hunny’

img_20170222_155700_697
Tomorrow looks tricky. Storm Doris will mean I will have 50-60 mph winds and a whole day of rain for my 18 mile walk to Kings Lynn.

Think of me in the warmth of your houses, offices, schools etc tomorrow. If you do, pop onto justgiving.com/atrailoftwohearts and maybe donate a fiver?

Kieran xx

 

Drizzle……

20170213_13323015 days in, I am thrilled to have raised £2000. I am also feeling overwhelmed with the messages of encouragement and acts of kindness I have received.

I am a bit disappointed with myself for not blogging regularly. The truth is that I am so tired after each walk, it has been the last thing on my mind. My routine of foot and muscle care, re-fuelling and resting is working so I am reluctant to change this.

Over the last 15 days I have walked in all weathers. Snow, rain, sleet, bright sunshine, icy cold winds and worst of all – persistent drizzle. Heavy rain becomes exhilarating after a while but drizzle is like walking with a dementor beside you.

Essex has the fastest drivers in the country but that is not a good thing. I can say that because I lived there for 26 years and already I have dived into a hedge six times from mad drivers – all in Essex. It has the longest coastline of all the counties of England, due mostly to do with the amount of rivers and estuaries. This meant that I had to use non rural roads a lot more to get through the county and left me with an distorted view no doubt. The peace and quiet of Bradwell the great beaches from Clacton to Harwich were the high points.
My day starts with the alarm at 6.15am. Why? I have always got up early and never use a snooze. So I immediately start thinking about the days walk. I post the route and the lovely adorable illustrations done by Mary, my cousin and Sophie, her daughter. It is the first time I get to see them so I usually start the day grinning at them. I study the map and decide on how I am feeling as to whether there should be any re-routing. Breakfast and packing follow and I am usually on the road by 8.30 – 9am. I stop after an hour for water and then for the rest of the day, I listen to my body. I munch nuts and raisins, biscuits and jelly babies mostly. I stop 2 or 3 times for 10 minutes or so mostly in bus shelters at the moment! Most days I am walking for 5-6 hours and the feet are throbbing when I finish. The next six hours is recovering and social media and in bed by 11am.
The details of what has happened each day is in a little diary at the moment and I am hopeful that now my body is getting used to the walking, I will be blogging more.
Southwold tomorrow, home of one of my favourite brewery – Adnams

Kieran xx

#atrailoftwohearts

Tired but happy

 

20170201_165007

The walk is well and truly underway and the days are speeding along. By the finish of each walk I am physically drained. This is at its worst when carrying my heavy rucksack.
I have wanted to blog many times but I seem to have little time when I am not tired. So I will blog on shorter days and only once a week.
You can follow me on Twitter and also the TOTH facebook page http://www.facebook.com/atrailoftwohearts
Pictures will be stored there too.

So in my tired state tonight, I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far, those who have sent beautiful encouraging messages and those who have helped me either by walking with me or hosting me and to those who have helped with the mammoth task of organising this.
You are all motivating me and massaging my feet (virtually)
Thank you to Berghaus for providing me with a waterproof jacket, hat, gloves, neck scarf, wicking tops and a lovely warm fleece.
And finally to the incredible BHF for a wonderful sendoff and continued support.
In a few weeks my body and mind will have adjusted to this crazy new life and I should be able to spend more time taking photos and writing. I might even have my silly sense of humour back!
72 miles walked in 5 days and £1500 raised is extremely satisfying

Thank you
Tired but happy Kieran xx

#atrailoftwohearts