Saturday, 1 August 2009

I Can Now Announce Our Leaving Date!

I’ve decided that today is the day that I will announce the date I plan to leave on. Roman seems to be much better now and I feel comfortable enough to be able to commit to a date now. The date I have decided to leave on is Monday August 17th. I worked out that if I walk 20 miles everyday without any rest days then I would arrive on 31st October. I think I will probably have one rest day per week which will also give me the chance to sort out my laundry and update my blog – yes, it will become weekly updates once I am on my travels! – so I anticipate arriving in Rome in mid November.

I will be participating in a dog walk with Roman tomorrow with our training group as part of a fundraising event for Dog Aid. This has been set up by Angela, the lady who runs FIDO in Chester. As you may have read in an earlier post Angela kindly donated a dog pack and a first aid kit for Roman a while back. There will be a variety of dogs taking part and we will be setting off from the club at about 9.30am. The walk is not a particularly long one but will be another opportunity for Roman to be in the company of other dogs and also experiencing a busy city centre, something I am sure he will be used to by the time we reach Rome!

Once I have finished there I will be heading off out for a jog with my friend, Nathan, to make sure I keep my fitness levels up before going in search of something that I will be able to transport all of our stuff in once we set off. My brother and his wife (Jeff and Karen) suggested last night that I could consider a bicycle trailer. They double up as a double buggy but look to be the correct kind of shape and build for what I need.

I may need to do a little bit of adaptation but nothing to drastic so, as long as they are capable of carrying the weight I require, this might be a good solution. This will give me the benefit of being able to push all of our stuff along rather than carrying it – this would be quite difficult considering the weight of Roman’s food! Another advantage of this is that they come with a built in cover so I would not have to worry about anything getting damp!

I think the best place to look for one of these would probably be a bike shop so I will be heading off to one or two tomorrow to see if I can get a proper look at one to see if they would be suitable for my requirements. I hope that it will be suitable as they are reasonable inexpensive compared with some of the things I have been looking at. I will also try and be a little cheeky and see if one of the shops wants to donate it for the event.

I have begun mapping my exact route out this week – I needed to have a confirmed date that I would be in Dover for the free ferry ticket that P&O Ferries are supplying – so I can reveal where my stops will be as I pass through England. I have decided that I will publish each of the 13 days one day per post over the next two weeks.

Day One

I will be setting off from Chester Town Hall and hope to be able to get Granada Reports and a couple of local papers out to cover it. The Roman Tours/DevaVictix (Chester's Roman Display Team) have offered to give me an honour guard as I set off so I will be getting in touch with them this week to confirm they are able to do this. I hope to be setting off at about 9am on the day so it would be great if we could get a crowd of people there for it.

I will be leaving Chester and heading down the A41 to Whitchurch – this will be my first scheduled overnight stay. We will be stopping three times each day and our first day will see us stop for rest at Hatton Heath, Broxton and No Man’s Heath. It’s a road I know well from all of my childhood holidays to Devon – this was always our starting point back then.

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