So it’s over. I made it. I told you I would! 😉 I’m exhausted and sore, but very thankful for the experience, (and to be home), after almost 2 weeks of rain, sleet, snow, hail, hot sun, howling winds, fog and drizzle. I’ve seen some amazing places, and met some lovely people, tasted some of the best food I’ve ever had – generally anything eaten outside when I was cold – and experienced amazing support and encouragement from start to finish.
It rained most of the night last night and having eaten my breakfast from an old Pot Noodle tub (my heavy cup went with Steve a couple of days ago) I packed up my soggy tent for the last time. I’m so glad I cut 4 miles out of today’s journey by doing more yesterday as it was cold and miserable and quite a tricky morning. It was also a good reminder of how much worse the weather could have been, particularly over the last week.
The first challenge was navigating the very wet woods around Littlebeck on the way to Falling Foss waterfall, which I annoyingly somehow managed to miss, save for a glimpse through the trees.
Then it was up onto Low Moor then Graystone Hills Moor. In fact, I used my compass more today than all the other days put together as the fog closed in as I traipsed across the bogs towards the coast.
Evelyne and the kids met me with an amazing lunch in High Hawsker before myself and my eldest son, Ben set off for the last 4 miles along the coastal path to Robin Hood’s Bay. On the way we met Alice, Joey and Tim, who also walked through to the end, and picked up Claire and Tom as we approached the end of the path.
Having come down the steep hill into RHB I arrived at the ramp down onto the beach to ritually wash my boots in the North Sea to find a small crowd of friends waiting to welcome me in. There was even a ‘Well Done’ balloon. Amazing! Thanks everyone. You made a potentially anticlimactic end a really nice moment.
Of course, to complete this journey carrying all my stuff is a massive personal achievement for me. There were times – hours, even days when I questioned whether I could even do this as I’d planned, carrying the load, putting up with the discomfort and pain. It just seemed too hard.
But this was never about me or whether I could complete my journey Coast to Coast. If it was I’d have paid for a nice warm B&B every night and eaten in a restaurant and had my luggage ferried to the next stop by taxi while I carried my lunch and a couple of litres of water for the day.
It was about lads like Billy who wants more than anything else to be with his Mum. But he can’t. Or Dilon who just wants to get a job and start again, but can’t. Or Bryn who wishes he could turn back the clock, but can’t and doesn’t know how to move forward from that. Or Aiden who needs to know that because he’s failed in the past doesn’t make him a failure. It’s for all those lads, and hundreds of others, who need someone beside them to walk their journey with them, to lighten their load, to sometimes help carry their burden, to encourage and support them and tell them they can do it, that they believe in them. I’m no more worthy than one of these young lads and yet I have received all of these things in abundance. And because of all that I completed the journey set before me. I overcame the pain and discomfort and succeeded.
And so can they.
I know many of you have already sponsored me to do the Coast to Coast – Thank you! – but there’s still time if you were holding out to see whether I’d make it. I did! I’m inching towards my target of £10k but I’m not there yet, and I’d be quite happy to raise more 😉 And our target for the year of £25k is still a long way off. https://www.give.net/MarksCoast2Coast/fundraising
Or if you would just like to stay in touch with In2Out and the journeys the lads are on, then please sign up for our Quarterly Newsletter or Monthly Prayer Update.
You can find all the details on our website or through the links above, or get in touch with me and I’d be happy to help.
Thanks to ALL of you for being on my journey with me. You got me through.
Together we can do the same for more young people like Billy and Aiden, and countless others that are just waiting for someone to say, ‘I believe in you. You can do it’.