The end is in sight - Ali, Alisa, Otis and Meg walk down the final hill to the finish of the walk
A HUNDRED miles doesn’t sound like much, especially if you’re driving it in a car, especially along a motorway – maybe a comfortable journey of an hour and a half in good traffic, writes Nick Mays. But when Ali Packham and Alisa Caisley and their rescue lurchers, Meg and Otis, set out from Winchester, Hampshire to WALK 101 miles to Eastbourne, East Sussex in eight days to raise money for three canine charities, they had little idea of what they might encounter… or just how long 101 miles can be on foot.
Ali and Alisa discovered that they were overwhelmed by support from dog loving friends, whose generosity has helped them raise in excess of £1,500 to aid the vital work of Greyhound Rescue West of England, Mid Sussex Happy Breed Dog Rescue Society and Last Chance Animal Rescue. Assistance came in ways other than financial too, as a friend, concerned about Ali suffering from sunburn, drove all the way from Hertfordshire to West Sussex with a wide variety of hats, including a pith helmet, to protect her from the sun!
Many supporters kindly joined them en route making the experience even more enjoyable, allowing them time to savour the delightful countryside they walked through.
Otis and Meg, the two rescue lurchers, justifiably deserved the epithet 'Man’s best friend’.
They coped brilliantly, although they were starting to show some weariness towards the end - Otis had to be lifted over some dog-unfriendly stiles on the last day – no mean feat with a large, heavy dog whilst wearing a rucksack!
"It was an amazing experience," Alisa told OUR DOGS. "We were completely taken aback by the response of people wanting to sponsor us, and all those supporters who cheered us on.
And it’s not any friend who would drive behind us with a range of hats if we needed them!
Many, many thanks to everyone who supported us.
"Otis and Meg were truly magnificent. They plodded on valiantly, with no idea when the walk would end; after all, they didn’t ask to take part in a long distance walk. They were the real stars, faithful for every step of 101 miles - not counting the slight diversion encountered on the first day, the result of chatting and not concentrating, which led to an additional five miles on the pedometer!"
Alisa and Ali have hung up their boots for a while, and whilst the dogs may never forgive them, the ladies enjoyed the experience so much that they are contemplating which Long Distance Footpath to walk next!
(How about the West Highland Way? – Ed.)
*If you would like to know more about sponsoring Ali and Alisa, read the daily diary of the walk, or view the picture gallery, please visit the special website at www.4muddypaws.co.uk/sdw, which also includes details of the chosen charities, Greyhound Rescue West of England, Mid Sussex Happy Breed Dog Rescue and Last Chance Animal Rescue.3)