Tom and Jane Benyon, and their dog Moses, are walking to raise money for the bereft and suffering in Zimbabwe. The charity, founded by Tom, is called ZANE – Zimbabwe A National Emergency. I joined them for one day of their walk.
I am not at my shiniest at 5.30 am. Last Monday when the alarm went off I was barely alive, every cell in deep sleep.
It was so comfortable … until I was suddenly jangled awake, by the thought of trying to explain to Tom and Jane that I would not be joining them on the walk due to sleepiness.
I set off to find them somewhere in Warwickshire. The car radio warned of a hot day ahead.
‘Hot’ meant September heatwave hot, and the car was right. We found out how right half-way back up towards the summit of the first hill.
We’d been confident up until then, chatting along the canal, and admiring a farmer’s wildflower corner.
Then came the problem. A footpath, which we did not realise had been recently redirected, obeyed neither our map nor the carefully planned digital version of our route. Wilting we explored the options, many of them up and around the ploughed hill that we’d just walked down.
If you’d been a drone you would have seen us in our fluorescent vests, melting like dots of cheese over the field with Moses bounding between us.
Thankfully our searching found us a walker with her dog, who pointed us up the edge of a field of elephant grass.
Several stiles later we reached a village and paused for a picnic in a cool church porch. Then off we set again into the heatwave sun.
It wasn’t long before each step felt heavier than the one before, but we plodded on, thankful for the downhill … until we realised we were on the wrong path. It is amazing how far away a shadeless summit can look under a blazing blue sky.
Happy to say we made it back to the top, and once there our route towards the middle of England was obvious.
We reached the pub in Weedon Bec that evening, bodies soggy and Moses relieved.
The next day, with temperatures even higher, Tom, Jane and their devoted little dog set off again. I did not.
Thanks for reading. If you would like to make a donation to the walk here is a link to the JustGiving Page, which has more information on the charity: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/zanewalk2021
Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2021