Karen Penny is doing something I can only dream of now – walking the entire coastline of Britain and Ireland. Karen is aiming to raise £100,000 for Alzheimer’s Research Uk (ARUK). When I last looked she’d reached the staggering amount of £90,117 !! 😳😳 Her Facebook page says:
“I am now ready to embark upon the adventure of a lifetime; a continuous walk circumnavigating the 20,000 Kms of the British and Irish Coastline, and it’s islands. A feat never achieved by a woman, least of all by one on the wrong side of 50!”
She set off on January 19th 2019..and she thought her journey lwould take about 3.5 years, taking in as many of the islands around our coast as possible. However she now believes she just has 2 months left before completing this mammoth adventure.
Covid meant her walk came to a halt until rules allowed, but she’s now steaming on and on Monday she reached my neck of the coast. Sarah had kept in touch with her and we arranged to meet at Flamborough North Landing last Monday….
To say I was excited was an understatement. Karen is doing something I would love to do – she is living my dream! Sarah picked me up at lunchtime and we drove for just over an hour before reaching this glorious place.
The weather app 2 days before, had said we’d be meeting in torrential rain, but thankfully it had changed and the sun was shining and it was the perfect temperature. People were down in the cove enjoying the peace and beautiful surrounding
Sarah txt Karen to say we were there and we’d meet her on the coastal path. We started heading up, just stopping to take a piccie
When Sarah announced, “She’s there!”
And we could see the familiar hat and flag coming towards us waving. We’d been following her journey all this time so it felt like I knew her and we easily fell into comfortable conversation as we headed for a cuppa. I had so many questions that instantly vanished🙄
We sat on a bench in the shade and heard the most wonderful stories of her adventure. It will make a brilliant book when she has time to actually think about it. Sadly they’ve all vanished now, but at the time I remember being amazed at the stories and people she’d met along the way.
As you can see on her rucksack, she’s so far done a staggering 9,500 miles and has 1500 left AND has is on her 10th pair of boots! Not only does she walk but she carries all her camping gear on her back too! Sometimes kindness comes her way and people offer her hospitality and a bed for the night but for the rest she camps.
She had to cut short her walk around the Shetlands so still has 30 miles to do there and that will be where she finishes towards the end of September. I so wish I could be there to see her take her final step 🥰
She spoke kindly about how meeting people spurred her on and gave her that incentive again, as it must get very lonely and tiring sometimes. She has also met two other playmates along the way, Peter Berry and his wife in Suffolk and Sue Strachan in her neck of the woods.
After an hour or so, much chatter and laughter, and putting the world to rights about charities, it was time for her to complete her final miles of the day and we had to say our goodbyes. Her easy relaxed manner and wonderful smile oozes calmness.
I couldn’t stop clicking my camera
We walked with her just a little way before waving her off and watching her go heading further around the coastline. She was heading towards Bempton Cliffs and hoped to see the elusive Albatross on her way.
We sat and watched until she was almost out of sight…and then she turned and waved one last time…
….before disappearing round the headland. We sat with beams on our face. In the car I suddenly felt totally exhausted from the exhilaration of the meeting. I knew dementia would make me pay for such an exciting day in the morning, but it was happy exhaustion; happy from having met this woman who was living my dream……
If you’d like to see more and follow her journey , her Facebook page is called Karen Penny – The Penny rolls on Walking Britain and Ireland. Even more important, if you’d like to contribute however small amount to her fundraising, you can do it here: