After a night fending off the ghosts of Chillingham Castle, the Walk of Britain team set off for Alnwick. There was quite a crowd as they arrived at Alnwick Castle, comprising of journalists and photographers, local well wishers and the Duchess of Northumberland. After chatting with those who had turned up to wish them well, the managed to sneak in a quick sit down in the grounds of Alnwick Castle – the filming location for part of the Harry Potter films and also Downton Abbey – before it was time to head off again, joined by a group of Virgin Money walkers.
All along the walk, people came out of shops and houses to put donations in the charity buckets. Children lined the streets in places, waving Union Jack flags and clapping; it’s hard not to be in awe of a team like this, several of whom are undertaking this 1000 mile journey with devastating injuries, both physical and mental.
I caught up with Kirstie Ennis – a former US Marine who suffered devastating injuries – including limb salvage – when her helicopter crashed in Afghanistan. Now a Paralympian snowboarder, Kirstie told me how the walk is affecting them differently at different times.
Ben Nevis has been the hardest point for me so far. Going up was ok but coming back down was really tough – particularly for those of us with limb injuries. When I find something harder than I did before the accident, I tend to push myself and be quite hard on myself – I find it really frustrating. But we all have our bad days and now that we’ve completed Ben Nevis, I can look back and know I did it.
Due to the rural aspect of the walk, parts of it take the walkers onto roads, with two safety vehicles either side of them. Far from irritating drivers held up by the procession, numerous drivers have stopped in the road to give donations or to cheer the team on. The generosity of passers-by continues to astound as the total raised grows.
After a 16 mile day, the team arrived in Amble to huge applause. They were greeted by the Mayor of Amble as well as elderly local veterans and a big crowd of well wishers.
You can see pictures from day 2 of the Virgin Money leg of Walk of Britain on our Flickr page.
If you’re inspired by the team you can support them with a donation. If you see the team while they’re walking they’re carrying donation buckets. You can also donate online through Virgin Money Giving or buy a mile of the walk.