2019 will mark the 10th edition of Sense’s flagship event, The RidgeWalk. Sense supports people who are deafblind or have complex disabilities in their centres, provide holidays and short breaks and offer information to families.
On 22-23 June, RidgeWalk participants have just 24 hours to trek 52 miles along the Ridgeway through the beautiful countryside of Wiltshire and Oxfordshire, including the added challenge of walking through the night.
One of the participants from 2018, David Ash, had an inspiring account of his experience: “So, The Ridgewalk was an event that due to my enthusiasm I signed up to with little thought, other than I like to walk. When I started training I quickly realised that 52 miles is a serious undertaking and something that I need to get fit for. I planned a number of walks and my family soon joined me with the training. We all got the bug and started doing longer walks, making them into camping trips and generally enjoyed the challenge of training and walking together.
“On the day, I couldn’t have been more excited! I was nervous and loved talking to my fellow participants about how much they had raised and trained. At the start I just wanted to get going and found the initial route easy going and very beautiful. It was great to talk with new people, to talk about Sense and generally enjoy like-minded people. The checkpoints were well spaced out and gave me an opportunity to mentally work out how I was doing, each checkpoint was friendly and made me feel I was well supported. As I reached the halfway point I had a bit of a reality check that this event wasn’t going to be easy. The darkness fell and I put on my head torch, which in itself was exciting as I have never walked through the night.
“As I walked across the dew drenched manicured lawn of a golf course I knew that I was going to finish. I had a huge rush that I was capable of something that I truly wasn’t sure I could. As I met a new friend for the last 6 miles, we chatted and laughed and walked and told stories about our adventures through the night. As we walked along the road to the finish we had moments of pure elation, moments of silence where we thought about what we had achieved and maybe even a tear at the end when we were rewarded for our efforts with a lovely cup of tea, warm smiling faces and a feeling that we were those people who do!
“Genuinely, I loved every minute of the walk.”
He loved it so much that he’s already signed up for 2019! If you’d like to join him on The RidgeWalk start line, head to www.sense.org.uk/ridgewalk and set yourself the ultimate challenge for next year.