The Charity Cycle
I decided I wanted to raise money for the charity Supporting Nepal’s Children when I met the children of Nepal whilst climbing to Everest Base Camp in April 2015, also after meeting the founder of the charity Hazel Grace whilst there. She inspired me by raising money to build a playground for a school in a Himalayan village.
Since then there has also been the devastating earthquake which will take these loveliest of people years to rebuild their country, so I wanted to help in my own way.
For the cycle charity around Rutland Water the money raised will be for Nepalese children, but for people I know personally, such as the families of three Base Camp cooks, that were part of our expedition, that were killed by the avalanche, caused by the earthquake at Base Camp and my friend who I met in 2012, Sherpa guide Hira who lives with his wife and four children in a tent, as his home was destroyed by the earthquake. Next year I will raise money for Hazel’s charity.
When my friend Marilyn and I arrived at Rutland it was a beautiful sunny day, we pitched our tent easily, and drove with our bikes to a car park and starting point called Edith Weston. We were in high spirits.
Marilyn’s bike was new to her and we went to the local bike shop to make a few adjustments.
We set off at 11am, it felt good to get in the saddle and start pedalling after all the joint organising we had done, and we felt blessed that the weather was being kind to us, as I did point out to Marilyn, who admits to being a fair weather girl, we would still be cycling if it rained, she was happy with that.
We cycled along the gravelly pathway to our first stop which was Normanton Church, which as we had been informed had been resurrected from the water years ago when there had been a flood. We were delighted to witness a wedding going on there, we discussed how romantic it was. The church looked stunning jutting out of the glistening water, set against the blue sky.
We headed off to our next destination, we cycled right along the huge lake, which had many boats sailing along, people doing water sports, it was the height of activity.
We decided to stop and have a hot chocolate at a harbour cafe in an area called Whitwell, which is the name of the village where Marilyn comes from in Hertfordshire, I took a picture of her pointing at the sign, it felt home from home to her.
We sat and admired the view, there was a jetty which took people out on boat trips. We enjoyed a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows on top.
We met a couple who were heading off the same time as us, called Lindy and Dino we cycled along with them for a while, they lived in the village of Edith Weston and their house overlooked the lake and they loved the area.
We cycled through some wooded areas,that I particularly like cycling through because the branches obscure the sunlight, but the rays creep in the gaps at intervals en route.
We stopped at a point where we could have cycled around, in an area called Pemberton Peninsula which is 7 miles longer, very scenic but quite hilly. Lindy suggested we do it tomorrow when Marilyn was a bit more used to her bike.
We stopped at a beautiful church called Egleton, Marilyn has a fascination for churches, this one was quite old we had a peak inside and took some photos. We had some snacks and set off again. The first day we finished at 3pm, we headed back to the tent.
We decided to venture out to another village called Uppingham, and had fish and chips there in the evening.
We slept well in the tent, after initially being cold, in the morning there was dew on the tent, but outside looked like another promising sunny day.
We headed off again from Edith Weston but went round the other way this time. Beforehand we found a nice young man called Andrew, who happened to work at Lister Hospital, like me, to help Marilyn raise the saddle on her bike, as I told her it was too low and was harder work, we thanked Andrew and started our second day.
There were many runners en route which made it quite awkward whilst cycling, weaving in and out of them. I said let’s hold back and let them all past, we had fun making comments as they ran past us, one wearing a suit and bowler hat, another dressed in army gear with a huge back pack.
The rest of the day was amazing, we did the peninsula which proved to be not that difficult and had spectacular views. There were groups of yachts in the distance, flocks of geese skimming along the water.
We ended the trip on a high, we high fived and congratulated ourselves, and celebrated in the Italian restaurant with spag bol and beer…..perfect.
A truly amazing weekend, raising money for a worthwhile cause, it can’t get any better than that.
Have a great day