In March 2009 I read a journal on the Walking Places website written by a woman about my age who had walked the Coast to Coast with her mother. Although this was a feat in itself it was more the feeling of freedom and adventure the words conveyed that had me totally sold. This was something I felt I had to do and I knew just the man I was going to do it with.

Nige and I met over 35 years ago and in the time since then we have walked many miles together – drunk many pints together – been Best Man for each other and fulfilled Godfatherly duties. I took him for a pint in Buxton and pounced on him with my idea. We agreed to do the walk in July the following year which gave us 15 months to plan and fund the trip.

I was already walking fairly regularly in the Yorkshire Dales with a couple of ex-colleagues but realised this wasn’t enough to get me ‘match fit’. We devised a program of training walks which would take us a variety of distances over a variety of terrains.

We jumped straight in at the deep end taking on a beast of a 16 mile walk over Bleaklow in the Peak District. Looking back now we must have been crazy to attempt that terrain and distance with such rusty map-reading skills. We had bought a new Active10 Satmap device the previous weekend and this was its first outing. We both concede that without that piece of technology we would still be roaming aimlessly ‘round the peat groughs to this day. Although a bit of a wake up call it did prove we were able to do the distance so we carried on with our regime taking in one Saturday walk per month.

Between walks we bought new gear (boots) and did our homework online finding out just what was involved. We decided to use Sherpa Van to carry our bags (bad backs and knees at our age) and book our accommodation. We worked out the itinerary taking 15 days to do the 192 miles and managed to secure all our ‘first choice’ digs. By Thursday July 15th 2010 we were all planned out and on our way to Manchester Airport to start the challenge.