Walking for a cause...by Lada Strelkova

Joining Laurence’s mission was a summer impulse - a really good one.  For those who don’t know me, this is not the first time I join fundraising walks for various conditions (which I prefer not to call diseases - a personal choice of words...).  In fact, this is how I started walking in the first place when in my early forties my family was touched by the twisted cruelty of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - a condition that doesn’t kill but makes people suffer, sometimes a lot.  Since then, I have walked a three-day 50-mile walk for MS several times, many more times one-day MS walks, as well as walks for diabetes (for a colleague with the condition), and autism (as it kept passing by my Bethesda home year after year).  

That said, Laurence’s walk is different than any of the previous ones. It is so much more personal, and ambitious, and monumental! I admire Laurence for what he is doing and am thankful to him for letting me be a small part of it. I am also deeply thankful to friends and colleagues who encouraged me in my challenge and supported the cause. I walked with Laurence for two days in Cornwall, England - between Treen and St Ives and then between St Ives and Gwithian.

Close bovine encounter at the start of the walk - right after a report on the radio that morning about the number of people killed in England by cows last year!

It was exciting to see guinea fowl doing part of the coastal walk.

I also met Laurence’s friends Vicky, Richard, and Dan.  Those who follow www.3500toendit.com have probably seen Richard there or might have read Dan’s great blog about nutrition for good walking - thank you, Dan! 

Richard, Vicky, Dan and Laurence at Land's End, shortly before meeting Lada for a nutritious dinner.

In this little blog, I would like to share a couple of things that I learned in preparation for and during the two-day journey, some things that I had never seen before, and a few words that I heard for the first time.  

First and foremost, I learned about the preventability of cervical cancer - a cause to which I applied my efforts. Laurence’s website (www.3500toendit.com) contains a lot on this topic so I won’t dwell on it. I just want to say that Laurence is a great ambassador for the cause. He has a subtle way of bringing in new information on the topic in a way that is easy to understand and remember.  I learned how beautiful Cornwall is, in a strangely different way from any other place I have seen. The two days were also strikingly different. The cloudy Day 1 we spent in a sternly beautiful area of former tin mines,  huge boulders, and seals talking to the world from a nearby island. 

The mist cleared to reveal beautiful hills softly clad in the delicate hues of flowering heather.

A disused tin mine. Cornwall was one of the most important tin and copper mining areas in Europe until the early 20th century.

The sunnier second day took us along beautiful sand beaches, square church towers, the Oldest Cornish Pasty Maker in the World, and countless rabbit holes.

View across to St Ives across one of its seven beaches.

They tasted pretty good as well...

One feature common to both days was the huge variety of stiles, some obviously discriminatory against people with high BMI...   In the midst of it all was St Ives - an art capital of the area and beyond, with the Tate Gallery and many other art establishments that coexist (seemingly) peacefully with local fishermen and curious tourists. 

View from Tate St Ives, looking directly out onto the beach...