• Chance4Charlie

Walking for Charlie: 2018

Updated: Feb 1, 2019

Since being diagnosed with Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in February 2018, my friends and family have not only been an incredible support to me but have also been involved in fundraising and raising awareness for all EDS patients.

During the summer of 2018 my soon to be father-in-law Richard walked 250 miles of the South West Coast Path, wild camping for much of the journey with his belongings on his back. He completed the walk in eighteen days during the hottest weather in the UK for thirty five years. Journeying from Minehead along the North Devon and Cornish coast to Cape Cornwall; A total of 250 Miles + with a Cumulative Ascent of 48,000 ft!

Richard spoke to many people on his journery about EDS, raising awareness of the poorly understood, rarely diagnosed syndromes and about the EDS toolkit for GP's which had recently been published:


We also managed to get on morning prime time BBC radio Devon with Gordon Sparks to share the story and raise awareness.

Richard raised £2,450 for EDS UK in my honor! (EDS UK: https://www.ehlers-danlos.org/what-is-eds/)

Ehlers-Danlos Support UK funds vital research, influences the improvement of clinical care, provides vital information and support groups to patients and spreads awareness.

Here are some of the highlights of Richards incredible coastel trek, accompanied by stunning photos and musings.

"Day 1 to Porlock a strenuous climb out of Minehead to the camp site at Spark Hayes where the next morning I cooked my first and only Breakfast and decided not to carry food to reduce weight!"

"Porlock to Lynton where Exmoor meets the Bristol Channel on high steep wooded cliffs where I missed the official path and went around the steep Foreland Lighthouse, treacherous is an understatement!"

"A hard walk to Lynton and used the Cliff Railway to Lynton where I was told that there was a Rock Music festival next to the Camp Site which turned out to be true as I approached I decided to turn off up into the wood to look for a alternative site which failed ! so tired & exhausted I returned to Sunny Lyn Camp site, where my new neighbours offered to put up my tent and feed me barbecue sausages!"

"Asked for a Double Espresso with my Breakfast at the Boat Cafe in Widemouth and this came ?"

"Going South from Coome Martin to Illfracombe with the weather deteriorating with mist and fine rain so turned inland to Lee to find food at the Grampus Inn to find that no food was served on a Sunday! with no nearby camp site the Landlord Bill Harvey let me camp in the Garden with his barman cooking Dinner for free!"

"Going into Braunton my water Ultra Violet steriliser managed to fall out from the backpack and break! not what I wanted!"

"Walking from Braunton via Barnstable to Bideford and my first Wild Camp on the River Torridge Estuary at Appledore ."

"Appledore via Westward Hoe to Clovelly a long very hot day running out of water at Bucks Mill taking water from the river with my left knee very painful suppressed with Ibuprofen; I went inland for an hour in search of a Camp Site marked on the OS Map up very steep terrain with a blocked path to find that the Camp Site was now a building site! A Builder offered to take me to the next Camp Site at Higher Clovelly which had also been shut down? At this point I lost all confidence in OS Maps! A painful walk into Clovelly where I found a B&B and rested the next day ( Day 8)to allow my Knee to recover and buy a walking pole and knee supports."

"Camp Site at Stoke Barton opposite the church, where the lady kindly arranged breakfast for me at the Hartland Quay Hotel which was a great help as the Section to Bude is severe, desolate with nowhere to obtain food."

"Clovelly to Heartland Quay. The coast around Hartland Quay is spectacular! The next section to Bude is rated severe and desolate."

"The section from Hartland Quay to Bude is long and rated severe with no facilities, the weather very hot and ran out of water resorting to streams and rivers, walked for 4 hours without seeing anyone? not arriving into Bude till 7.00 pm. excellent food at Life's Beach Restaurant then running out of daylight went in search of a camp site could see it but find a way? As I pitched my tent on the in the cliff edge in the failing light a walker came by who I had spoken to that day and offered to take me to the Camp Site!"

"Sunday 24th June at superb Crackington Haven Cornwall; A excellent BBQ at the Beach Cafe who found a B&B cabin with Peacocks in the Garden for me ! My German Host gave me huge breakfast on two plates! the full works!"

"Crackington Haven via Boscastle to Tintagel a section rated as very strenuous!"

"Wild Camp on the Cliffs before Tintagel sunset view from the tent and cliffs!"

"From Tintagel to Port Isaac with the longest spell of hot weather that Cornwall has had in thirty five years."

"Not so sleepy Port Isaac a magnet for Doc Martin fans from around the world, a recent twenty strong Fan Club from Seattle were such a nuisance that they were given walk on parts to keep them out of the way! So steep is the village it has four emergency defibrillators to treat so many unfit visitors!"

"After Dinner at the Beach Hut at Watergate Bay and approaching Newquay running out out daylight! and was looking for somewhere to camp? had looked at Trevelgue Head but decided against it as it was too close to Newquay ? then I found a caravan site called Porth Beach Holiday Park jammed packed! I phoned the warden who drove out to find me,only one pitch for a tent at £21? but let me stay for free as I was on a Charity Walk. That night wakened by a thunder storm right over head ,certainly not the time to be camped on an exposed headland!"

"Holywell Bay Poldark Country" / “Parranporth Beach and the morning view from the YHA” / “St. Agnes”

“Portreath” / “Wild Camping view from the tent on the edge!” / “st. Ives Bay Hayle Beach 3 Miles of Golden Sand"

“Lelant Church viewed from Hayle side of the Estuary” / “Corbis Bay” / “St Ives”

"This last section from St. Ives to Pendeen Watch is rated a Severe with places difficult to cross, closer to approach scrambling over boulders than walking and after a month of very dry weather surprisingly wet and boggy?"

"Cape Cornwall the end of '' Walking For Charlie '' 250 Miles in eighteen days in the hottest weather in thirty five years."

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