On Saturday members of the First Light team surpassed comfort zones and attempted to walk The Saints Way, a coast to coast walk from Padstow to Fowey, which covers approximately 30 miles (dependent on which map you read) and crosses some of the most beautiful parts of the county. Team A set off at 07:30 from Padstow, fresh faced and full of excitement.
The weather was kind, no wind and slightly overcast. Things looked promising! The estimated time of arrival to meet Team B was between 13:00 and 14:00, who were waiting to join for the second leg from Lanlivery. What could possibly go wrong? Unfortunately, as it happened, many things. Team A never actually arrived at Lanlivery. In part this was due to poor sign posting along the way (or lack of), and maps that weren’t quite specific enough (or people couldn’t read them!..). A few wrong turns took them into boggy fields, but the OS map gave enough information to get them back on track. Apart from when they came to a cross roads with signs for ‘The Saints Way’ going two ways. A decision was made, as it turned out, the wrong one, and Team A missed Team B by about a mile.
Team B decided to walk the second part without Team A. They had been waiting patiently and time was ticking on. Communication between the two teams had clarified that Team A were nowhere near and had missed the meeting point. So after some warm up exercises and stretches Team B set off, and so a race was born. Communication between the teams continued, with each group trying to work out who was in the lead. Both felt they could win the day. As it happened Team B got to Fowey first. Wet, muddy and bedraggled, but nevertheless, pleased with their achievements.
Meanwhile, Team A had taken another wrong turn and had somehow ended up on the coastal path. The wind by this time was blowing and the rain was driving down, the light was disappearing and things were looking bleak. A quick stop for a pep talk and a snickers bar helped get them as far as Polkerris where an executive decision was made. It was decided that it was too risky to continue so an SOS went out. A phone call later and Team A were sitting in a nice warm car being driven the last 3 miles to Fowey. Bliss. On arrival, Team A went straight to the pub, where they warmed up, met with Team B and had a damn good laugh. In total Team A covered 29 miles, and Team B 10 miles. It was a great achievement by everyone that took part, and for all those that supported us.
We loved it so much, it is now being considered as an annual event.
Thanks to Tiff, IDVA and event organiser, for the write up.
Chief Executive Tom Dingwall said: “it was great to be involved in First Light’s very first fundraising challenge event: the ‘Saints Way’. Some hugely dedicated (and fit) team members and Trustees started early in Padstow whilst another team started halfway at Lanlivery. What followed was a brilliantly entertaining yomp and slip-slide through the countryside to Fowey, live posting and tweeting throughout! The teams were undeterred by the initial and traditional Cornish mizzle, which soon transitioned to a persistent downpour! With our hoods up but our characteristic sense of humour maintained, we walked through some spectacular scenery, up steep inclines and crossed rivers in spate! The welcoming (and relieving) sight of the River Fowey came not a moment too soon!
Sporting our iconic blue First Light t-shirts throughout, it was genuinely exciting to complete this with such a passionate, dedicated and professional group of colleagues. Moreover, it was humbling to have our round of drinks bought for us by a stranger at the end of the day; they had heard of First Light and the positive impact we have on thousands of people affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence in Cornwall and Plymouth each year. If you’d like to fundraise for us or want to find out more, visit https://www.firstlight.org.uk”