So here she is, my eldest daughter Meg taking her first steps onto the South West Coast Path last weekend. Her backpack, packed, repacked then repacked again she set off with her steely determination not ‘just’ to go the whole hog to walk the entire path but to raise money for Lupus UK whilst she does so. Her own diagnosis with Lupus 2 years ago, finally corroborating years of seemingly unassociated symptoms, is something that came as a blow nonetheless.
To be fair (as she would say) she has not allowed this to hold her back, in any way! Fast forward 2 years, with the right medical support and a bucket load of true Gibb grit, she has successfully run as Chairwoman for her Uni Handball team and come out of a lockdown impacted second half of her studies at Leeds Beckett with a first-class honours degree. This is Meg.
With these achievements under her belt and now navigating her life in between her next big life decisions, she has decided to fill her time walking 630 miles of the coast, on her own, for a cause very close to her heart.
With around 9 million people visiting the South West Coast Path each year there will hopefully be company enough along the way to gee my sociable daughter along, but with elevations four times the height of Everest she will most certainly be called upon to dig deep into her own individual reserves.
It perhaps goes without saying that it felt perfectly natural to don my ‘Walking Devon’ cap, who wouldn’t want to pore over OS maps of the coast path!? Give tuition on the use and benefits of a JetBoil!? Discuss the merits of dehydrated foods and the comparably essential nourishment of ‘keeping up of one’s spirits’ on such a walk!? Hopefully some of it will be useful as she works her way around.
As a South West Moorland Leader I can help Meg on her next endeavour, but more essentially as a dad I will endeavour to support her, wish her very well, and of course to feel very proud of her.