First day ends in Chesham
What an amazing first day for Neil and his Uncle Ray as they complete the first day of their challenging journey to Scotland.
Neil is doing the walking part of the journey but Uncle Ray, who is a fit 83 year old, has a vital job on the trip - driving the support vehicle.
Builder Neil has set up his van so that it has some amazing facilities, including a toilet and shower! There is a catering area and also room for both men to sleep - in separate beds, Uncle Ray is keen to point out.
One of our committee members, who walked the whole first day with Neil, shot some footage inside the van and we hope to bring that to you. (When we can sort out the technical glitch.)
Neil was touched by the send off and it was brilliant that so many supporters managed to get to Harmondsworth on a weekday morning. After a few photos, Neil was eager for one last cuppa for the road, thoughtfully provided by Kris at The Five Bells. Emma, Neil's partner, had baked some wonderful cakes that would give Waitrose a run for their money. So, well stoked for the first leg of the trip, Neil gave a short speech on the village green before Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council and Zac Goldsmith, from the new No Third Runway Coalition, added some words of support and encouragement.
Thank you to everyone who came to Neil's send off and especially to those who felt inspired to keep Neil company on the section to Uxbridge. They would probably have continued but there is always the problem of getting back.
There were a few pauses along the way to the evening stop in Chesham but Neil was keen to plough on. He had a quick sock change in Chalfont St Peter and he'd been advised by Danny (ex-army and used to endurance events) to eat snacks along the way. That's where Ray and the van come in handy to provide bags of peanuts and the odd potassium-rich banana.
As the light began to fade, Neil used a borrowed tablet (thanks Dan) to post his first diary entry. You can tell by the concentration on Neil and Ray's faces that they wanted to get this right, although frowning into the camera is not the best look. Neil already thought his hair looked bedraggled after walking all day in his aeroplane-topped cap. Wait till he gets caught in a downpour! Heavy rain is inevitable at some point if you spend 3 weeks outdoors in April but, for now, the weather forecast is good and the schedule look achievable.