Paul stands in front of South West Coastal Path marker

#CharityChallenge35 is a new initiative to mark the Trust’s 35th anniversary and to celebrate the people who make Cranfield Trust’s work possible. From now until the end of December 2024 anyone can undertake a personal challenge or fundraising activity, either on your own or with family, friends and colleague.

Paul, one of our volunteers from Essex, started his trek on 1 May from Minehead and set out to walk the first 125 miles of the South West Coast path (also known as the Salt Path), which runs from Minehead to Poole in Dorset.

Despite a knee injury almost hampering Paul’s plans to finish, he battled on to reach his target, and finished in Hartland Quay on Saturday 11 May 2024, with journeys to and from campsites meaning it was an even longer walk than originally planned.

Paul clocked up the miles over nine days, walking between the different locations shown on the map below, taking in the stunning scenery as he went (even on the rainy days).  Paul completed his challenge supported by his “very patient” wife driving a motorhome they rented for the trip.

Map of the South West Coastal Path
Vista of the south west coastal path

Paul shares his experience and what inspired him to complete his challenge:

“This is the first time I have done anything like this and taking the first step was both inspiring and daunting! The walk has been a long-time ambition of mine (I hope to complete the full 630 miles over the next few years) and has been in my plans since I retired in October last year.
“No two days were the same and it was an incredible and challenging experience. My toughest day was walking across Exmoor to Coombe Martin.  I covered 16 miles and ascended over 3,300 feet of climbs. I was both tired and proud in equal measure at the end. An ‘interesting’ day was when I realised that Porlock and Porlock Weir were different places and having to walk an extra two miles to get to the campsite after thinking I was done! I would like to thank a fellow walker who inspired me to get on it with it when it was pouring with rain on the morning of day two. The weather was so bad I may have skipped a day if it hadn’t been for her. The walk also reminded me of how beautiful the English countryside is and I will cherish the stunning views for many years to come.

Paul with the sea behind him
Coastal view on a sunny day
Paul smiles as he continues on his journey
Paul stands beside a national trust path marker

Paul continues:

“I'm really inspired by how Cranfield Trust works to bring together people with professional skills with charities needing advice.  I'm thrilled to be part of it and enjoying my first volunteer engagement.  I’m incredibly pleased to have already raised almost £700, whilst also helping to boost the Trust's profile through LinkedIn.”

To anyone thinking of signing up to #CharityChallenge35, Paul adds:

“Use it as a reason to do something you have always wanted to do!”

If you would like to sponsor Paul for his huge achievement, you can find his fundraising page via our our Justgiving page. If Paul has inspired you to give it a go, take a look on our website to find out more about our #CharityChallenge35. We can’t wait to hear from you, no challenge is too big or too small!

Registered Charity No: 800072 | Scottish Charity No: SCO40299 | Company No: 2290789 | Telephone No: 01794 830338
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