Hello everyone, my last blog was a heavy one so this one will be a fun light hearted one and a good laugh. In 2011 I started volunteering on the checkpoint for the Louise Smalley Walk. I did this up until 2015. 2016/2017 I had a year off the walk due to work. Then 2018 I was a walker. Here are some tales and woes and laughs from the checkpoints.
First year in 2011 I was 17 it was the year after I had a moment of crisis on the Louise Smalley Walk and had to finish the walk. We decided I would go with dad on his checkpoint and at this point Hannah was on checkpoint she was on mum’s checkpoint I was happy because I was checkpoint with Cathy as well. This blog post I am going to go through the years with the highlights, the low lights and things I learnt.
1st walk as a checkpoint crew, 2011 was Ladybower we were fittingly so on Checkpoint one and checkpoint five; the charity this year was Landmarks College. We got to the checkpoint one very early in the morning and my job was making coffee’s and tea’s on checkpoint one and five so that is what I did. Checkpoint one was really windy but the view was amazing it was hard to imagine a city was over the horizon of the hill. I really enjoyed the rush of it as on checkpoint one you have everyone in large groups and they walk in and out. So after a while most people were through. We were waiting for a few walkers which came through it was noticeable that one was struggling due ankle issue but he made it through. We then packed up and went to checkpoint 5 which was a church in Eckington. We set up and made sandwiches and waited. This checkpoint I struggled with at times one of the struggles was the waiting around for people, I did have a quick nap in a chair because I wasn’t used to the early start and all the activity with it like running around trying to stop the checkpoint blowing away. Walkers are more spread out at this point and I really struggled with it to start off with. I ended chatting to Raynet and they had a dog that I played with for a bit and when people got there some were less polite than they were at checkpoint one but I understood. We got everyone through the checkpoint, Darren went with the back runners to make sure they got to checkpoint six in time and we packed up and went back to Whitwell.
2nd walk I did was Monsal head which was 2012, checkpoint two which was Haywood CP and checkpoint six Eckington CO/OP, the charity this year was National Autistic Society. Again this checkpoint was a breakfast stop and a was on the hardest walk. My job was drinks I did a bit of cooking and checkpoint two they come in quick bursts similar to checkpoint one. We had a drop out at checkpoint two and he was picked up by a family member. At checkpoint six we had a few drop outs here and there but mainly people would rest. Eckington Coop was a good checkpoint we used the staff toilet and it wasn’t peeing in the trees. This was the cut off checkpoint you had to get to it at 7 which was stressing people out and it made a few people emotional but I cheered people up with my encouragement and light hearted humour. I struggled to be comforting if people were crying and sometimes I wanted to laugh at them. But didn’t I was supportive.
3rd Walk it was the Heritage Walk round robin which was in 2013, Checkpoint 3 Teversal Visitor Centre and checkpoint 7 Holbeck, the charity this year was Calow hospital Children’s room. This was not a cooking checkpoint but it was a long wait around. I had up some sandwiches and we welcomed the walkers into the checkpoint we had a drop out person who we took with us to the next checkpoint. As there was so much waiting around I got warned before hand I would get bored so at that time in my life I was I was really obsessed with making pompoms out of wool. I made about 10/20 pompoms. Our gazebo went for a fly over a wall in Holbeck which about four of us managed to get it . At Holbeck a walker was hunched over and walked and got into a car and was driven away we took that as he was retiring. Something I noticed was round robin was a lot less waiting around. It was a weird one not going to lie. I really enjoyed it. It was more relaxed but at the same time I liked the first two checkpoints because you would start early and finished earlier.
4th Walk it was Millers dale which was in 2014, Checkpoint 4 Grassmoor and Checkpoint 8 Elmton, the charity this year was Just Good Friends group. This year I struggled the most for a few reasons. I had a meltdown the night before, I was going through a lot that year but I managed to get through the day without too many issues. This year was the first year without the first aid cover from St Johns on certain checkpoints. Checkpoint 4 was a pub and I had a sneaky pint with a few non driving members of the group. We got people through checkpoint 4 and moved onto checkpoint 8. We were at the bottom of the hill and we had to use the toilet at the top of the hill in a pub. This checkpoint was so long but good thing about checkpoint 8 is people most of the time walk through the checkpoint because they are so desperate to finish. This checkpoint I was struggling a little bit in my head and I noticed people could be a bit more rude and abrupt on this checkpoint I understand why its because they are tired.
5th walk it was Burton Joyce which was in 2015 back on Checkpoint 1 Oxton, checkpoint 5 Duncanwood and checkpoint 8 Creswell Crags the charity this year East Scarsdale explorers. This year I had a brand new job on the checkpoint which meant I was not much use at checkpoint because my new exciting job on the checkpoints was first aiding. I was the first aider on the checkpoint and I was so excited. Checkpoint one people most of the time come in, have a bite to eat and leave. Sometimes they walk through and sometimes they grab a bacon butty and eat it on the walk. Checkpoint 5 I did a lot blister care I also did some first aid fun stuff. A walker was sick so I was a ninja with one hand I grabbed water with the other I grabbed a chair for the person to sit down. I was used to sickness situations so it didn’t phase me. I gave a lot of encouragement to the walkers people were really struggling that year due to the heat and there was something in the air that year. After we went through checkpoint 5 dad and I went to join mum on checkpoint. The first Aiders on this checkpoint had been walking between checkpoint 8 and checkpoint 7. So I did some first aid when they weren’t around and it was weird doing first aid on people I had done first aid on earlier. Everyone went through the checkpoint and the walk was finished for another year.
quick fire things I learnt on checkpoints;
- Is it a checkpoint really a checkpoint if your not seeing people approach and shouting “WALKER” at the top of your voice.
- It’ll surprise you what small things fill you with joy on the checkpoint whether its a bit of flapjack, a call through to say the checkpoint before you has closed that means the back runners will be there within the hour.
- its useful having a family member on another checkpoint.
- That no matter how things go; the busyness, the long hours, the grumpy walkers, the rain, the sun or waiting around wondering if you will ever eat an normal meal again. It is a hundred percent worth it.
They are looking for volunteers on the checkpoint this year as it is the 25th anniversary. the checkpoints are so worth it and it gives you a good feeling inside.