Bryan Clover, CEO of the Rainy Day Trust, has completed a 24 hour hike on behalf of the Rainy Day Trust’s Apprenticeship Support programme.
Here, Bryan discusses his motivation behind the hike as well as his experience completing the challenge and how donations will help support apprentices.
We launched our Apprenticeship Support programme about two years ago and since then it has really flown. Giving youngsters a decent qualification is a great way of making sure they can hit the road running when it comes to finding a job after school.
But it isn’t an easy option, as the kids have to crack on with their academic work in the evening too, so it’s almost a 24-hour a day job while they serve their apprenticeship. This is why I decided to do a 24-hour hike along the Ridgeway – to raise awareness of apprenticeships and how we support them as well as raise enough money as I could to back the kids up.
Friday 21 June was chosen for the hike because it was the longest day, with the minimum amount of darkness. As the hike was to be unsupported, I had to carry everything that I would need for the whole 24 hours. The rucksack weighed a ton, 14lbs of it was water, and I had to do a full refill at 4pm on Friday afternoon as I had already drunk most of it during the day.
I saw surprisingly few people on the Ridgeway, and those that I did see were on mountain bikes. It got a bit busier in the early evening as people were out walking their dogs, but in the main it was very quiet.
The weather on Friday was lovely and sunny but the night was seriously cold. Having dropped the car off near Avebury I went straight into a 5km long steady climb. Unlike the coastal walks that I have done in the past where the climbs are short and sharp, the hills on the Ridgeway are steady and go on for miles. Most of the route was like that with little flat to catch your breath and going down was just as hard as going up as it pounds your knees. As the evening wore on the breeze picked up and I found myself digging around for my torches so that I could see where I was going.
From 1am the going was rotten, very uneven with rabbit holes to fall into, soaking wet grass that was thigh-high and fog to contend with too. My boots were sodden, as were my feet. The whole lot slowed me down enormously. That lasted until about 4am, after which my legs just got stiffer and stiffer, until they finally seized up altogether 23hrs and 15 mins in; just 45 minutes from the end. Rather than keep heading East, I turned around and headed back to Wallingford, finishing my 24 hours just outside the town. In all, I hiked 85.4km which is 53.4 miles in old money. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that when my wife arrived to pick me up in Wallingford an hour later, I could barely stand let alone walk; my legs had locked solid. Sunday was written off with me hobbling around like a decrepit old man!
But the hike was worth it. We have raised over £3,500 including gift aid which will all go towards our apprenticeship programme. While I was waiting for my lift home, I logged into my work e-mail account and during the walk, six new apprentice applications had been received, an apt indicator that what we do is needed. I can also safely say that I won’t be doing a 24-hour unsupported hike again – that rucksack was incredibly heavy!
My heartfelt thanks to Lawsons Builders Merchants for being the lead sponsor, and to AkzoNobel, ACO, Monument Tools and Reisser for their business sponsorship, we are incredibly grateful.
The Just Giving page is still open, so you can still sponsor the walk – every penny helps.