Yesterday was the first of July, and the day I began to walk a million steps to raise money for Diabetes UK. Well Diabetes will benefit from the cash my sponsors will donate, but the biggest winner here is going to be myself.
I am soon to be a whole decade older, and given I have taken almost no exercise for at least ten years, walking anywhere was going to be a challenge. I started in June, to practise for a few weeks and soon found 10,000 steps a day was difficult but doable. Walking early in the morning soon became the best way to start the day, and as the first of July approached I was feeling confident.
So, yesterday, I am in Wales, with my very good friend, who has sadly lost her husband of just a couple of weeks. We filled our time dodging the showers and walking in the sunshine. I began, as ever, with an early morning walk, clocking up 4,000 steps. Later we drive to a tiny town, tucked in the midst of Snowdonia and start to explore.
The first bridge we crossed passed over the torrent of a river in full flood. We stood watching the water crash against the rocks, swirling and foaming, slamming against the bridge and working its way angrily downwards. We crossed the bridge and from the other side we saw the waters emerge into a calmer river, the foaming breakers settling into gently lapping waves. It seemed to us that this was very like life itself. My friend commented that she had, at times, felt as if she was in the midst of the angry waters, and it was comforting to remember that everything does calm down eventually.
With a further 5,ooo steps under my belt we are once again back in the car, this time heading through the mountains towards the sea. The rain started falling heavily, so we headed to one of the fine Welsh castles and spent and happy hour in the dry, looking around the fabric of long dead people’s lives. Thankfully the weather cleared, the sun shone and we were able to walk around just a bit of the beautiful gardens, finding surprises around each corner. A water lily pond over here, a fountain over there, all surrounded by flowers and foliage of every colour and tone.
Once back at our base I checked my step counter to see I had managed to complete over 17,000 steps towards my million target. I had walked almost eight miles, and enjoyed every step.
So, day one is done. Spent with my friend who is living through her own challenges, I have just another 998,300 odd steps still to do. I wonder where they will take me?