Vale Hargie from Rugby, Warwickshire, lived in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire when she took part in her first walk in 1991. On that occasion she only managed 16 miles from Nailsworth to Pitchcombe.
But, for all of her next 19 walks she has completed the 21-mile route and this year plans to do the full circuit too. In all the years since the walk has been held she has only missed 1993, 2002 and 2006.
“I have really enjoyed the walk each year. It is a superb route and the camaraderie which exists among the walkers is amazing. I think the Slad Valley is my favourite section of the walk – the views there are wonderful. We certainly enjoyed the sculpture park last year as this was a change from the usual route.”
Vale hopes to bring a group of at least ten ramblers with her to join the walk on Sunday.
“Because we drive down from Rugby we do not usually begin walking until 9.30am – it is usually a big sprint along the cycle track to attempt to reach the last checkpoint before the volunteers head home. We have always managed it so far."
Support the cause
“I shall continue to encourage other members of my Ramblers group to come along each year, support your cause and enjoy the walk. It was easier to get sponsorship when I was working, but I still manage to raise some money each year.”
We’re hoping 2,000 people will join Vale and her group for this year’s Five Valleys Walk, in partnership with Connexus, on Sunday 27 September.
Giffords Circus will be performing from their Fennels Farm base near Slad and we’ve also organised face painters, live music and a children’s nature trail, as well as a variety of food and drink, to line the route, making it a day out not to be missed.
“Whether you love rambling, circuses, food or entertainment, there’s something for you on this year’s special walk, and you’ll be helping to beat meningitis with every step.”
Sue Davie, CEO
The walk, which passes through each of Stroud’s five valleys – Painswick, Slad, Toadsmoor, Chalford and Nailsworth – is split into nine sections. Walkers can start at any of them, and catch a free Stagecoach bus back to their start point if they don’t want to walk the whole circuit.
There’s still time to join Vale and everyone else on Sunday – just turn up and register on the day. We hope to see you there.