Milestones Achieved and Challenges Overcome!
April saw Simon Clark mark his second Easter on the road. Now that he is on the last 1,000-mile leg of his ‘little’ 5,000-mile coastal run, around the entire wiggly edge of mainland Britain, we think it is high time to celebrate all he has achieved so far and give him a huge cheer to encourage him onwards and upwards as he wends his way home to Scotland.
Simon set off from our home here on the Moray Firth on Easter Sunday, 2016 . His aim was simple: to challenge himself to a journey of self-discovery and find out how he would cope with being pushed to the edge of his physical and mental endurance, while raising £20,000 to fund Ecologia’s work supporting youngsters to overcome their own challenging circumstances.
Running west and then north to John O’Groats, he immediately headed into some bitterly cold, howling, northerly winds. Unable to carry much more than a change of clothes , a sleeping bag and a bivvy bag, he quickly had to get used to finding shelter wherever he could along the way, spending one uncomfortable night sleeping on a concrete plinth, before discovering one of Scotland’s hidden gems – its mountain bothies!
Path through the dunes overlooking the Glaswyn estuary and Snowdonia
Midgies, ankle pain, and days spent largely alone, with little in the way of human contact, caused times of frustration and self-doubt, as did the need to take extra time out to deal with a sudden increase in his architectural design work (Simon works daily on his lap-top to fund his journey and ensure that every penny raised goes towards our work).
But more than these difficulties – which he has overcome with sheer will-power, grit, and a large helping of good humour – what sticks in our minds are the landscapes, sunsets, and sunrises he has shared; the creatures he has encountered, including wild Dartmoor ponies and Coco the deer, who slept beside him one night; the snippets of local history he has taught us about the coastal towns and landmarks on his route; the virtual tour he has given us of our own island; and the fantastic warmth and generosity shown to him by the people he has met along the way.
The completion of 2,500 miles, at Swansea
Simon said recently that he now lives ‘in a bubble of good-will’. Thanks to his own determination, your support, and that good-will bubble he has now run over 4,300 miles, worn out 5 pairs of trainers, crossed three borders, has become an official ‘end-to-ender’ (as those who have travelled from John O’Groats to Land’s End are called), has been interviewed by 10 different radio stations, maintained a blog about his whole experience while working, and raised over £12,000!
After 1,000 miles at Amy’s Boss Stop, farewell to a pair of shoes…
To celebrate all of these incredible achievements, we’ve put together a compilation of pictures and videos from his journey so far. We hope you will enjoy our slideshow below and that you will continue to cheer Simon on, through the last part of his ‘little’ run. His fundraising has been a precious gift to a small local charity like ourselves and the money he has raised, along with the new supporters he has inspired, will allow us to continue our work to give the children and young people at our projects in Kenya, Uganda, Russia, Myanmar, and now Scotland, a better start in life. Thank you Simon and thank YOU for continuing to follow his journey! We leave you with a few words from the man himself…
As I skirt the flatlands of the Lincolnshire Wash, the end of this expedition has entered my thinking. There’s no doubt I will make it, not that there’s ever been much, despite the trials of life. The rawer, vulnerable energy of children is ever more in mind now, holding keys, as they do, to all our futures.
I think our primary human obligation is to serve them as best we can, and if that is difficult, we must learn. My twin goals are to finish and raise at least £20,000 for Ecologia. With 9 or so weeks to go, I still have another £8,000 to raise. Scotland here I come! With love to us all, Simon.