This September, Sunday 26th, will see retired couple, Carol Stanaway and her husband Colin taking on Julian House’s Circuit of Bath Walk for the fourth time in three years. The pair who first took on the challenge in 2018, returned in 2020 and for Julian House’s spring version of April this year. Now the pair are sharing some insights to encourage others to take on the 20-mile challenge and to support Julian House.
Carol, who is newly retired, forged her career in council and local health providers. For the last 12 years she worked as the drug and alcohol commissioner for BANES which saw some cross over with Julian House. “The work that Julian House does is inspirational. Eradicating homelessness and supporting our vulnerable communities is close to my heart” she said.
Being able to support her local charity is one of the reasons which keeps bringing the couple back. However, the event itself and the route is one of its biggest selling points. She said “The camaraderie on the day is fantastic and it encourages me to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Plus, it is a very beautiful walk.” Advising future participants, she said: “If you can’t walk 20 miles that’s ok – walk part of it and use the bus Julian House provide. Then sign up again next year and try and do a few more miles.”
Like previous years, the couple, this year, will be joined by their walking group friends: Les Wilkinson, Charlie Varey, Joyce Reid, Adrian and Jane Robert who have all taken on the event before. Of their favourite part of the route, Carol added: “Reaching Kingswood’s Sports Pavilion and knowing I have made it up the most challenging hill [is the best part]– [In April we were] very grateful to the good people of Wooley for the tea and cake stop half-way up that hill.”
As April, this September’s walk will see additional coffee and cake stops for walkers along the route as well as a fully signposted route thanks to the charity’s work with event partner Bathscape and Cotswold National Landscape.
Participants are being encouraged to sign up early and get training for the big event. Carol said: “Start getting the miles in – try for an hour 4-5 days a week (around 3 miles) with longer walks for a couple of days a week (around 6 miles). Build up stamina with a few day walks of 4-5 hours and don’t forget to walk up some hills. Every time you walk up a hill it gets a little easier. On the day, check the forecast and dress appropriately. Very comfortable boots and socks are the most important things.”
“If you have sticks, this is the walk to use them on – especially on the downhill, to take pressure of your knees. Give your fellow walkers a cheery hello and a few words of encouragement. Stop and savour the views, and catch your breath (it’s a marathon, not a sprint), and most of all – enjoy.”
Tickets are available now: Adult £12, Child £6, Family £25 at www.circuitofbathwalk.co.uk