CBO director Ed Gowan’s five-island walk will cover tougher terrain, as covid restrictions mean he will replace Jersey with a ‘Guernsey-Plus’ day.
He was due to cover 111 miles by walking each of the five Channel Islands at the end of this month.
Ed, who hopes to raise £5,000 for the Priaulx Premature Baby Foundation, was due to set off in Jersey on 28th July, before heading to Sark, Herm and Alderney – finishing in Guernsey on 1st August. Due to the worsening covid situation in Jersey and changing restrictions there, he will now lap Guernsey and then cover the cliffs again as far as Corbiere, ensuring that he covers the same difference, but on tougher terrain, making it even harder.
The idea of walking around all of the Channel Islands emerged during a social team call during the first lockdown in 2020.
‘Later in 2020, when a colleague’s family relied hugely on the Priaulx Premature Baby Foundation flats in Southampton to support them through a lengthy medical process for their son, it seemed a fitting way to say thank you, and raise money for this cause,’ said Ed.
‘I’ve been training since the start of January. Each week I do a combination of early morning cliff walks – about an hour each – and then 1 or 2 longer cliff walks during the weekend. I’m focusing on those parts of the island with lots of steps, as that will be the hardest part of the challenge.
‘I’m currently upping the time on my feet each week, to build endurance. This is through longer 3 to 4-hour weekend walks. The hardest thing about my training has been finding the time. It was easiest during lockdown, when the complexities of school runs, etc, didn’t need to be considered!’
Ed has always been a keen hiker and has done the round-Guernsey walk every time it’s been run, since he came to Guernsey in 2014. He has walked the Offas Dyke walk (south to north coast of Wales), Hadrian’s Wall, and a number of 3-5 day routes across the UK. Further afield, he’s hiked in the Himalayas and Andes, and around Lake Baikal in Siberia.
‘Despite having been lucky enough to trek in some beautiful and challenging places around the world, I found the round-Jersey walk, which I did in 2019, the hardest day’s walking I’ve ever done,’ he said.
Funds raised will go towards the PPBF compassionate housing – Aggie’s Burrow and Isaac’s Pad – which are right next to Southampton General Hospital. They provide a comfortable, private safe-haven and help keep families together during the immensely difficult time when their child is receiving vital care at the hospital. The PPBF’s challenge is to continually raise the required funds for the annual £30,000 running costs needed to keep the two flats maintained and always open for local families in need.
Ed explained that a number of his friends had benefitted from PPBF’s flats; most recently they were a lifeline for CBO colleague David Palzeaird and his fiancée Abi, whose son Elliot went through extensive treatment there during the height of the pandemic.
‘We were at a particularly low point when the PPBF were able to offer accommodation to us a stone’s throw from the hospital. This solved a serious problem for us by giving us somewhere to stay that was very close to the hospital should anything go wrong no matter the time of day,’ said David.
‘The flat is funded by the foundation, which is funded by donations. It’s been decorated with a Guernsey-theme, giving a real sense of home to any family that might have to use it. It’s the first time Abi and Elliot were able to relax after days on wards, passed between beds.’
To make a donation towards Ed’s charitable challenge, please go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/fiveislandswalk
Picture: CBO director Ed Gowan taking part in the round-Jersey walk (his toughest to date) in 2019.