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The Sacriston hike - 35 miles for a good cause

Posted in NatWest CricketForce 2009

It all started on a cold winter's night in Sacriston Colliery Cricket Club.

The usual suspects sat around the table deliberating fundraising events to assist with the Natwest CricketForce weekend on 4/5 April.

After the success of previous events such, as the Coast-to-Coast bike ride, a cycle journey from Lindisfarne (Holy Island) to Sacriston (the Holy Land), and a hike from Hexham to Home, we decided that the dedicated members of Sacriston CCC should don their battered trainers and waterproofs again.

The sadistic side of the human nature is to always push yourself a little bit further. Well, after walking 28 miles in the Hexham hike a year previously, we had to find a longer, tougher and more challenging route.

After a quick phone call and a meeting with a local cycle tour operator, we had a plan - 35 miles of off-road hiking from the hills of Northumberland (Allenheads to be precise) back to sunny Sacriston.

We were advised this would be a very challenging yet enjoyable hike for the summer. However there was one small problem – we would be doing the hike over two days in March. From that point on the challenge got a lot harder!

Experience of recent years in that part of the country would suggest snow, freezing temperatures, icy cold winds and some flooding on lower ground. Add that to the fact that we are walking over 17 miles per day and will have to spend the Saturday night in a sleeping bag on a cold floor!

It was now felt we had come up with a worthy challenge for the hardy folk of Sacriston.

Our next concern was could we get enough volunteers to sign up for such a physical and time-consuming challenge? We should not have worried – we got the required 24 hikers within a week.

So here we are, a week away from an incredibly difficult challenge and we’re all worrying about the usual stuff - Am I fit enough? Will I get lost? Will the weather hold up? How can I stop the blisters?

At the time of writing, I have no idea how hard this hike will actually be or if we will all actually complete it. However, I do know that there is a really good buzz about the place at the minute and with everybody so committed, I think the CricketForce weekend will be a huge success.

Watch this space for the post-hike report!