I wasn’t in a very good mood on Saturday 11 July 2015 because I had to get up at 5.00 in the morning and I hadn’t had much sleep the night before, but get up I did with a feeling of a bit of excitement and a bit of tension about what was coming.
Alison Gardner arrived at my flat at 5.30, I’d had breakfast before she got here, and when it got to 6 o clock we set off to the Holiday Inn on the marina which was where we were being picked up at 6.15, carrying plenty of food including chocolate, fruit, breakfast bars and, most importantly, jam sandwiches.
Being stocked up is always a good idea but it can’t half make your neck and shoulders ache carrying loads of food and drink and other stuff in a rucksack on your back.
The minibus was actually early, Darren Palmer picked us up at 6.10, and we went to several other places to pick up fellow walkers, eventually we turned up opposite Darley’s pub to pick up Lisa Jewitt early, and then Darren realised we had missed picking up two other walkers so we dashed off to get them and then came back to find Lisa waiting.
An hour later we were in Castleford outside the Mend A Hose Jungle, home of Castleford Tigers, ready to start our trek back to Hull and the game between our team Hull FC and Castleford Tigers in the Super League.
We set off just after 8 o clock in the morning in bullish mood wondering what the weekend might bring, rugby league was obviously going to be a major talking point but so were practicalities like toilet breaks and eating and drinking.
It depends which way you look at it but it seemed a blessing at first that the sun was out and we were nice and warm and dry and that seemed to lift the already excited mood although maybe not quite as much as the best pair of walking shoes ever seen in Yorkshire.
We set a really good pace and were soon walking through places slightly earlier than expected then we had a well earned mini-break in Selby and I was thankfully able to eat and take my medication for my type 2 Diabetes, there was also another photo opportunity.
After Selby we kept up a punishing speed as thoughts turned to lunchtime and there was a genuine desire to reach a nice country pub so we could sit down, relax and cool off in the shade out of the scorching heat which was by now starting to affect us quite a bit.
Fortunately we found the Fox and Pheasant which is a lovely, traditional country pub and had plenty of ice to put in the drinks, the landlord was obviously very pleased to see a party of 11 charity walkers come in on a Saturday afternoon when there was only one local in at the time.
A toilet break and a couple of drinks, and nearly toasted jam sandwiches, later and we were ready to carry on walking in the incredible heat and humidity which had dehydrated us in the morning.
Following the Trans Penine Trail is a definite challenge, especially when there’s cows and a bull where you’re walking along the bank of the River Ouse and, of course, they don’t exactly have to aim in anywhere particular when they go to toilet, we were trying to dodge round piles of it for a rather long, uncomfortable distance.
Eventually we got within about 7 miles of the campsite at Newport where we were due to stay that night and left the cows and bulls behind, and the muck, and we had a short break along with Darren and Jodee Sylvester who had come out in the minibus and told us that they had erected our tents and said what a lovely campsite it was.
After a bit more food and drink we set off in confident mood knowing we were coming towards the end of our trek on day 1 and soon came across a sign welcoming us to the historic East Riding of Yorkshire.
After completing 30 miles on foot we found we couldn’t walk any further due to a lack of a pavement to walk on and we weren’t going to take any chances on a fast road where cars were travelling easily in excess of 50 or 60 MPH so Darren and Jodee came back out in the minibus to pick us up and take us the last 3 miles to the campsite.
While waiting for the minibus Lisa rang a pub in Newport called The Jolly Sailor and booked us a table for a meal that evening.
On arriving at the campsite we were given a round of applause and a collection soon appeared which the campers had taken for the charity, Life For A Kid, who we were doing this challenge for.
Some of the walkers cracked open cans of lager and Phil Newsom became our official entertainer as he belted out several tunes as he played them on his iPad.
After a shower and a rest we were all ready to go to the Jolly Sailor for the meal we had booked for 8.30, disappointment didn’t really do our feelings justice.
Getting there at 8.10 they weren’t ready for us so we said we would wait in the bar and have a drink, at about 8.45 they came into the bar and took our orders for what we wanted to eat, I ordered a Cumberland Sausage in a giant Yorkshire Pudding with peas, mash and gravy.
About 9 o clock we were told our table was ready and we could go through to the restaurant so through we went.
We were then waiting what seemed a long time so first Lisa and then Jodee went and spoke to them as we grew hungrier and more impatient and I worried because I was breaking out in a cold sweat and my Diabetes was starting to take effect making me feel quite feint.
The response of one of the staff to Jodee telling him we had walked 30 miles that day and were very hungry as a result beggared belief as he replied “Why would they walk that far in one day?”
To say we were disgusted at hearing this is something of an understatement but finally, after waiting more than half an hour we got served with our meals.
To say I was disappointed with the meal itself is also a rather big understatement, it was a cheap frozen Yorkshire Pudding, the type that you can get three for £1 from Asda, as opposed to the home cooked ones that the pub advertised, there were also 3 small frozen sausages that had obviously just been stuck under a grill for a few minutes, instant Smash rather than the proper homemade mash from proper potatoes that they advertised and a tin of peas with a bit of gravy.
Unfortunately by this point I had no option but to eat it because I was so hungry I was feeling sick and, as I’m sure everybody is aware, hunger and Diabetes isn’t a good combination.
After a thoroughly deflating evening we went back to the campsite and collapsed into bed, although I must say that trying to sleep on the floor in a tent isn’t the most comfortable way of spending a night although I did get more sleep than the previous night as sheer exhaustion took over.