Friday 16 July 2021

All done

Full report to follow. In the meantime, if you’d like to sponsor me in aid of St Benedict’s Hospice then please visit

Day 5 update

Made it from the border lowlands to the Castle.  Thanks to Carlton for setting a quick pace over the last 5 miles. Oh and carrying my water. That was too quick but gets me to Lindisfarne Castle slightly ahead of schedule. 

To summarise, my right foot is swollen probably because it spent all night in the passenger side footwell last night. It’s ok to run on but getting my sock and shoe on this morning took ages. Blisters are nasty and would probably start to cause major issues if I was to run for a few more days. Energy levels very good. Next food stop is porridge back at the car on the mainland. 

I seriously doubt I would have made it this far (In fact I wouldn’t) without the support team I have. Carlton has put in a tough few days in this heat. It really is like having a butler!! 

Stobbsy and Donna join the team for the final section. That will free up Stobbsy to get a few miles in and see me home. 

I’m sat at the foot of the castle typing this. I’m getting the evils off Carlton which means it’s time to push on back to the mainland. The breeze on the causeway will bring brief respite. 

Finally, thanks to those kind people who have sponsored me in aid of St Benedict’s Hospice. I’ll get a proper total later but I think the amount for this current campaign stands at around £11,900. Without the kind sponsors on my shirt and those of you donating via it would not be possible. 

Right Carlton is starting to pace up and down. It’s time to get moving. I’ll be pushing as hard as I can to get to Bamburgh for 7pm (ish).

Day 5

About 1 hour of sleep, badly damaged feet (no surprise) and scorching temperatures here in the borders. After an early start, Holy Island is a few miles away. I’m looking good to beat the tide times and get back to the mainland before the final 20 mile push to Bamburgh. 

Donations are much needed for St Benedict’s Hospice and if you’d like to sponsor me then please visit Every penny is hugely appreciated. 

ETA at Bamburgh is currently between 7 and 8 pm.

Thursday 15 July 2021

Tuesday 13 July 2021

Day 2

Good morning from day 2. 5 hours broken sleep was had and I’m now on the rolling climbs of the A68. 

It’s my 50th birthday today so if you’d like to buy me a present then I can’t think of a better one than a donation to St Benedict’s Hospice. That can be done here

Monday 12 July 2021

Here we go

Just a quick post to get things going. Watch out later tonight for a full account of day 1. Currently driving to the start line at Bamburgh where I expect to start running at 0600. 

50 miles is the target and any donations to St Benedict’s Hospice would be gratefully received at  

Wednesday 7 July 2021

Last big training run (day 2)

Day 2 of this particular training camp was a nice and straightforward (and flat!) 18 mile route from Berwick to Holy Island causeway and back. My social media read "Good morning from Berwickshire on day 2 of a 4 day training run from Edinburgh back home. After yesterday’s epic 32 mile / 2500 ft elevation run I’m pleased to report there’s not too many aches today. There’s a bit of minor damage to my feet but nothing too serious at all. Today’s route is from Berwick to Holy Island and back. I should be back in time for the footy later.".

It was a cloudy and cold start as I ran on the promenade at Spittal just south of Berwick. Sadly there was nowhere open to get an ice cream and I plodded on southwards.

After a short climb up the cliff path I took a minute to look back on Berwick. I have very happy memories of spending most Wednesdays during my childhood summer holidays at the toy shop behind the town hall. My Dad would be in the pub while my Mam and me had a look round the market and the shops. The toy shop was usually the last place we visited. I remember being impatient to go back to the caravan at Seahouses to play with whatever had been bought for me (usually Star Wars figures). Great times.

As I looked back on Berwick, the sun started to shine brightly and cover me in a nice warmth. As soon as I got going again, the cloud covered the sun back up and it made for slightly chilly conditions. 

The next few miles were undulating but nothing compared to the previous days hilly exploits. The terrain was quite a challenge with narrow coastal paths overgrown with nettles in places. I noticed that there were plenty of people playing golf as I ran past the course at Goswick.

I reached the causeway just before lunchtime. There were plenty of cars making their way onto Holy Island. I'll be back here next week if all goes to plan on the next stage of the run around the world. I need to be off the Island (the 30 mile point for there day) at 6pm.  

Back to last week and I stopped for lunch at the foot of the "rescue tower". It's hard to imagine that the foot of these steps gets covered when the tide comes in.

I picked up the pace on the way back. It was only a 9 mile stretch but I wanted to be back in plenty of time to watch England play Ukraine.

Carlton joined me for the final mile at Spittal. I celebrated another good day of running with an ice cream. The sun decided to make an appearance too.

The day was complete when England beat Ukraine in the European Championship quarter final. I spared a thought for the kind folk that I met back in 2018. They'd done really well to get that far.

So with 50 miles ran in 2 days there was further minor damage to my feet and the base of my back was a little sore due to carrying the pack. My feet and right ankle showed early signs of the swelling that I've seen on many occasions running around the world. It's good to be back!

Tuesday 6 July 2021

Last big training run (day 1)

Last week saw the final big training run before Stage X. I didn't have a particular route in mind but the basic idea was to get a train up to Edinburgh and run back home somehow. I set off early from Morpeth on Monday with a heavy pack full of food, water and my sleeping bag. I had 2 days to make it to Berwick where support man Carlton had offered a bed for the night.

I left the station in Edinburgh and was very surprised to see how quiet the streets were. There was hardly a soul about and not much traffic. It was a sign of the times I suppose.

The previous 6 times I've ran back from Edinburgh have all involved running almost due south out of the city towards Dalkeith. This time, however, I ran in the direction of Portobello with a view to heading in the general direction of Berwick. It's not like me to not have a detailed route but I was carrying everything I needed and I felt like I had at least 30 miles in my legs that day. The image below is on the A1 out of Edinburgh with Arthur's Seat in the background. One of my favourite sights is looking back on it when I'm 20 or so miles away. It always gives a great feeling of progress and accomplishment.  

I reached the promenade at Portobello in good time and headed along it. There were plenty of people about enjoying a walk, a run or a coffee. I think the last time I was here was for an overnight stop during my run from John O'Groats to Lands End in 2007.

I soon reached Musselburgh after Portobello followed by Tranent. By this time, I had a rough route in mind and made my way towards East Saltoun and Gifford. The roads were pretty quiet and I was pleased that all the oncoming traffic gave me plenty of room and most gave a friendly wave. 

I stopped at a tremendous little cafe in Gifford called Lanterne Rouge. I suspected from the name that it might be a popular stop for cyclists and I was not mistaken. I was greeted by the friendly owner and the scone and coffees that I had were as delicious as they were very much needed. I also spoke across the room to some very friendly locals and talked about my running exploits.

The kind owner (pictured below) wouldn't take my money for the coffees and scone so I explained while I don't accept free meals etc, I do pass on the money I would have paid to St. Benedict's Hospice. In time honoured tradition, I made a donation to the Hospice via   

I later wrote on my socials "...the climbing after Gifford was absolutely tremendous. So tough and even more so carrying a full pack ready for rough sleeping and 2 days worth of provisions. Anyone who knows me knows I love a climb. I’ve got to mention the kind folk again in the cafe in Gifford. Their good wishes and kind gestures really put a spring in my step as I then climbed, climbed and climbed some more. At one point I could see Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh to the north and then The Cheviot to the south east.". 

There was a road closure just outside Gifford meaning I had the place to myself. It was a small bonus but I have to again mention the very considerate driving that I'd ran alongside throughout the day.

Despite the difficulty, I really enjoyed the climb up to the summit at 1420 ft or so. This gave me a marathon distance for the day. The views back to Edinburgh were spectacular and I could just about make out Arthur's Seat on the horizon.

As I ran down the other side of the climb I could make out The Cheviot to my right. The view straight ahead (pictured below) included a wind farm and Whiteadder Reservoir in the distance. I stopped running for a second and there was not a sound to be heard. No wind. No traffic. Nothing. It was possibly one of the quietest places that I'd ever ran in the UK. I think I've only ever experienced this kind of silence before in the Mojave Desert. It was nice to run for a bit without the music playing on my iPhone.  

The final 6 miles were a bit of a slog and I spent a lot of time checking out the surroundings while I was running this final miles. I've got to admit that I wasn't looking forward to sleeping rough here. There was plenty of wildlife around and the signs warning of snakes in the vicinity didn't fill me with confidence.

I'll take the text from my socials to explain what happened next - "32 miles done and guess who turns up. It’s only the legend that is support man Carlton. 'Would you like a bed for the night at my holiday cottage down the road?' he says. Well it was either that or sleep amongst the Adders! So I’m now looking at the prospect of a shower, pizza and a comfy bed when I was all prepped for rough sleeping. Carlton has played some blinders in his time across 3 continents. Today is up there with the best of them. It almost makes up for the burnt cheesy popcorn fiasco and using the last of the water in Australia to do the dishes.".

So after running 31.7 miles with 2500 ft of elevation from Edinburgh to Cranshaws I had the prospect of a warm meal and roof over my head. I think it was at that point that I made the decision that sleeping rough is no longer for me. I've got no problem sleeping in Chappie but the days of a bivvy bag are long gone for me. Especially in places named after the snakes that inhabit there! What was I thinking!

A huge thank you to Carlton who, once again,  went above and beyond in the name of supporting my running. He has been involved in the runs across the USA, Australia and Western Europe as well as Edinburgh to Newcastle in the past. His involvement this time was as appreciated as any of them. 

So a tough and successful day 1 came to a satisfying end. Tune in tomorrow where I'll reflect on day's 2 and 3.