THE BLOG

Why I'm Walking 100 Miles For Stand Up To Cancer

24/07/2017 08:07 BST | Updated 24/07/2017 08:08 BST
Stand Up To Cancer

There's definitely a buzz of expectation as we approach the day of departure. I'm excited and a little nervous. The Ridgeway is surprisingly remote, which is one of the reasons I love it so much, but it is a logistical challenge to organise luggage drops, pick-up points, accommodation etc. I have friends joining the walk from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, and just outside Swanage. Plus a few of my comedy pals, Sean Lock, Martin Trenaman, Lee Mack and Jo Brand, and the author Robert McFarlane. A merry band to make the miles seem shorter.

I am walking to raise money for Stand Up To Cancer. Stand Up To Cancer funds clinical research to get ground-breaking treatments and cures to people facing cancer.

I lost my Mum to bowel cancer in 2005, so this walk is in her memory.

bill baileys mother Pictured: Bill's mother.

The Ridgeway is one of the most beautiful walks anywhere in the world. As the name suggests, it winds along high chalk downs, cart tracks, and 'green paths'.

Day one we start our trek at Ivinghoe Beacon near Tring. Here I hope to see many red kites, tilting on the wind.

Day two there's a great section where the Ridgeway passes through the grounds of Chequers. I know Theresa May likes walking so perhaps she'll pop out and stroll down to The Plough at Cadsden with us. Plenty of wheat fields around if she's feeling naughty.

Day three we pass St Botolph's in Swyncombe, a 1000-year-old Norman church. Aside from the spiritual sustenance, there's a drinking water tap in the churchyard. Thank the Good Lord for that.

Day four is a lovely stretch as we climb up on to the North Wessex Downs and the landscape opens up. This is true Ridgeway country.

Day five we pass the surreal beauty of the Uffington White Horse and the mysterious Waylands Smithy, taking in its atmospheric charm over a flask of tea, and possibly some flapjack.

Day six the last day and we encounter Barbury Castle, a crop circle or two, and the spectacular finale of the walk, the descent from the Ridgeway into the magnificent Avebury Stone Circle.

Walking 100 miles in six days will be a challenge, and there will be moments when the body will ache and the spirits may sag, but at times like these I look for inspiration in the words of the great poet and essayist, Edward Thomas who wrote: 'And I rose up, and knew that I was tired, and continued my journey'.

Bill's Ridgeway Walk for Stand Up To Cancer is taking place from Monday 24th July - Saturday 29th July. For more information visit standuptocancer.org.uk. To support Bill's walk text BILL5 to donate £5* to 70404, BILL10 to donate £10* to 70404, or donate online here.

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