Going the Distance
Going the Distance – Janet Lees
I completed my walk on the TPT in September 2020 at Hornsea but remembering when I started is much more difficult. I live in Longdendale and for at least 20 years I have been fortunate to have the TPT go within half a mile of my house. We started walking on the local sections two decades ago and my daughter learnt to cycle there. However, it was not part of my walking plan to complete the trail in 2020.
But then for most of us 2020 has not been the year we planned. In 2019 I was able to walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats: over 1110 miles in 117 days. It was epic and nothing is quite like the End to End. As I came up the west side of England, not quite into Wales, preferring to use off road routes where possible, there was a short section of the TPT near Sankey that I included in that longer route. So after LEJOG was over, in the Autumn of 2019, walking west from Longdendale to link up with that small section of TPT sounded like a good plan. We (me and my husband, Bob) often used the train to get from our start and end points and even visited the newly opened railway station at Warrington East.
I eventually completed the westwards walk to Southport early in 2020 with a plan to probably track eastwards at some point in the year. But that like so much else had to go on hold for a few months. Luckily the TPT is always open, and each day, even in lock down, I was able to get onto the section nearest me and walk. I saw the Spring slowly unfold there in a way I had not seen it before. You can watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeAo5qGO6YI.
It was August before things felt safe enough nationally for us to go east. We developed a plan of four days at a time, staying in small local hotels, that took us from Doncaster onwards. This was a part I’d not visited before, although Bob had cycled the whole trail in 2013. I loved the wide flat landscape, so different from the hilly moorland nearer home. The summer was drawing to a close but the weather was mostly dry and we watched the combine harvesters make their stately way up and down the fields of East Yorkshire.
At North Ferriby it was chilly as I stood at a social distance in the car park to greet my friend Mary who had come over the Humber Bridge to say hello. These would be our last few days walking, via Hull, to Hornsea. It was well worth it and not just for the fish and chips on the seafront at the end. Although no where near as long as my walk in 2019, the TPT had been full of adventures. There were new things to see, friends to meet, conversations, excitement and ice cream. Each day I was able to find a section within my walking capacity and it didn’t fail to lift my mood. I sent Tweets about the beginning, progress and end of each section to show others what there was to enjoy. To my list of personal achievements I can now, unexpectedly, add the TPT or as I like to think of it, the Side to Side.
Janet Lees, is 61 and overweight. In 2020 she completed walking the TPT. She is a writer and lives in Longdendale. Here End to End blog is at https://foowr.org.uk/lejogblog/ and you can follow her on Twitter @Bambigoesforth
Pat and Bryan’s story has helped our Partners right across the Trans Pennine Trail network to see how changes can make the route more accessible. Take a look at what they've helped to accomplish.