On Saturday 16 June Tanya (Melitta's sister), Julian (her husband), Laura and Jo (Cancer Research UK) and I set off from Seaford, East Sussex on a 3,500 mile expedition to somewhere we've never been before: walking round the coast of England and Wales to raise awareness that cervical cancer can be eliminated. It was breezy, which is a polite way of saying that the wind was gently howling. But it was sunny. The first leg of 14 miles to Brighton involved walking along the Seahaven trail, which, according to its website:
"includes stunning views, cliffs, wave-cut chalk platforms, shingle beaches and a vegetated shingle habitat. The chalk grassland along the trail is so species rich it is considered to be Europe's equivalent to a tropical rainforest."
Wow! In the olden days that was "the path between Seaford and Newhaven and onto Saltdean". Branding works. We heard many birds in the long grass, and enjoyed the flowering shrubs on the cliffs while looking down on the seahorses below. Unlike the way that I feel time works with age (ie speeds up), here it was the other way round. Time went quickly in the morning, especially over a cup of coffee near a fair in Newhaven. But everything seemed to slow down as the sun set lower in the sky, including our legs. Stephen Hawking, we need you! The last stretch to Brighton pier was along the stretch of front which was to be used the next day as the finish line for thousands of cyclists in the London to Brighton race.
So what's a perfect day? A really good walk, through varied countryside, with great flora and fauna (even if identification is still in the early stages). With a good group of people, chatting away. For a good cause. Topped off by a welcome drop or two at the finish. And supplemented by a wonderful evening in a pub opposite a church (see next blog...). Best of all, were all the messages coming in from around the world, including several from people saying that after seeing the website/video they had booked appointments for vaccinations for their daughters, or screening for themselves. Plus many very generous donations to the research being funded by Cancer Research UK. A good start.