Charity Walk

St James Place Big Charity Walk

Those of you who know me well and even those of you who have only met me once will know that I am not known for my athletic prowess, I am actually not keen on any form of activity that does not involve a nice big glass of wine or four. So when I was put forward to take part in the 45 mile St James Place Big Charity Walk around Lake Windermere you can guess that I was not that keen; would I be able to carry a bottle of Sancerre around with me on route and would I be able to keep this chilled was my major concern. The more I thought about it however the less I worried, I have visited the Lake District before and Windermere was a lovely spot so I imagined the Donnington Valley team strolling around the lake enjoying the views and stopping at the odd welcoming inn on route. I even practiced with a walk along the canal to enjoy a glass before turning back. I was ready for the challenge now surely?

What I did not expect however was the so-called fells (aka mountains) on route and the crippling pain experienced by my thighs!

The Donnington Valley team had a very animated trip up to Windermere, arriving early evening to check in to the Great Tower Activity Centre (a 37 year old woman climbing up the ladder of a bunk bed is quite the sight I can tell you!) and quickly settled into a few casual drinks and a hot meal. The official briefing on the route, which followed, was where it all started to go down hill. Firstly; breakfast at 7am, did these people not know I was on my holidays? Secondly; the slow realization that we will actually not be spending a lot of time walking around the lake instead that we will be scaling mountains and traversing very muddy fields. Now, I am not going to spend a lot of time re-living the experiences of the next few days (I am trying to block them out in truth) but it is safe to say that there was a lot of mud, a lot of plasters being used, a lot of Haribo being consumed and there were a few choice words being shouted about.

Day two was particularly difficult with the grey and the drizzle and the already sore legs. However I am particularly proud to say that because of the super team spirit and motivation that the Donnington Valley team has we managed to get ourselves around to the finish and even get some laughs and smiles out of our fellow walkers (a special thanks to the man who had the scotch!).

The journey back was an awful lot quieter, everybody sleeping well and dreaming of hot showers and massages. A check on the Just Giving page we started to raise money for this super charity made the whole thing worthwhile with a brilliant £619 being donated by family, friends and colleagues. The best thing is that this amount will be doubled by St James Place and all of the proceeds will be donated to projects in the UK and abroad, mainly providing support to children and young people affected by illness, disability or disadvantage.

So the big question everybody is asking is will you do it again? My answer is no, not on your life, but maybe when the muscles have healed and I have finally got the mud out of my hair then I may possibly be persuaded.

A big thank you to Gemma, Justine, Adam, Helen, Sam and Nicole for helping me around and fetching my wine when I couldn’t stand, Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa is proud of you!

Sally Russell
General Manager

Donnington Valley Hotel and Spa