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Blog with a dog – And we would walk 500 miles………

“Out Of The Shadows” Campaign

A few words about the campaign….

FRANCIS

A few months back after being made redundant, I decided that it may be a good time to take a few months out, take stock and do some volunteer work.  Through my wife Nicky I became aware of the great work of ARCH North East. www.archnortheast.org, a valuable but little known charity based in Teesside. ARCH NE carries out very difficult but incredible work in support of those affected by sexual violence. Nicky has worked there now for a few years so I know how difficult it can be to keep things going.

One of the big things the charity struggled with was letting people know about the support they could offer and also bringing people on board to support the cause, whether that was making a donation or volunteering some time.  I thought this is something I could help with and after discussing with some of the team at ARCH NE we decided to launch the “Out Of The Shadows” campaign. I then set a target of raising £5000 for them before the end of the year; with a personal challenge of raising £1000 towards this by trying to cover 500 miles by whatever means necessary with Buddy our black Labrador being dragged along beside me to help with the task. (No engine driven or other powered vehicles allowed to assist with the mileage or indeed any riding on the back of black Labradors!).

Over the course of the next few months I will be organising a few other fundraising and awareness events, so if you can help support me along the way that would be brilliant!

So, apart from raising awareness and hopefully a few quid towards helping Arch NE deliver their vital services I thought this may also be a good opportunity to highlight some of the amazing scenery and facilities we have in Teesside. And to be blatantly honest I also need to lose a few pounds as well! (ok, stone(s))!

On the 2nd July 2017 Buddy and I started our 500 mile challenge as part of the ARCH NE team taking part in the Ali Brownlee Riverside run. Cheers team but I thought you would have waited for us! (You know who you are!)

Hopefully I will be able to log the walks, runs and bike rides and you’ll be able to see some of the fantastic areas we have travelled in and around Teesside.
Buddy and I will cover the mileage by walking, running, cycling and possibly a few miles crawling! I should point out of course that Buddy will be running most of it as he still hasn’t managed to learn to ride a bike!
The intention is to do a regular blog, so you can catch up with our Teesside ramblings and keep tabs on our mileage countdown clock! We will also be doing a number of fun runs along the way (including Buddy where he is allowed) so please come along and show your support; you will know about these via our blog, Facebook page and the ARCH North East website.

At this point I just want to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to our sponsors to date; Bow-Tique, Birchwoods Recording Studio, Yappy Days, Mabo Media, Oceanscan, Create Architecture, Emmerson Marketing and Head of Light Entertainment with their new album -Drool. Our Blog will be sharing some more information about the sponsors a little bit later on. If you or your company would like to support please get in touch via fundraising@archnortheast.org or contact me via my Facebook page.

BUDDY

First of all I want to say that it’s taken me ages to learn how to type so I hope you all appreciate the efforts I have gone to in order to do this blog it’s not easy with paws. I would also like to point out that learning to ride a bike isn’t something that comes naturally to a dog so I hope you will forgive me if I disappear when it comes to doing 20 to 30 mile bike rides, especially with my sense of direction and tendency to get my tail caught up in bike spokes. It was also not my idea by the way to do 500 miles, I thought doing 100 would be enough, but no, no one ever listens to me; I’m just a dog. I just get dragged along and asked to jump in rivers, fetch balls and lick sore feet.

I have to say though that it’s been great going to new places but I’m not sure what this GPS watch thing is tied around my neck, seems I’m logging a few more miles than my human companion.  I’m not sure jumping into the Tees with this watch on was part of the plan as I am no longer allowed to wear it and Francis seems a bit annoyed; I’m sure it will get fixed (and dry out) at some point though!

So far, we have managed clock up 134 miles strolling in and around Yarm, Eaglescliffe, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Richmond and my favourite place for a swim, Cod Beck. (Dogs only though, too dangerous for humans). Next month we are going into the hills apparently; hope he remembers to bring my sleeping bag, loads of treats and a few other people (he can be quite boring, don’t say I said that though.)

A big thank you to Ade Fletcher for his company last week in and around the Richmond hills, nice views, pity about the rain and those pesky sheep as I had to be kept on a lead.

Stats up to the 2nd August as follows:

  FRANCIS BUDDY
Weather Very wet Awesome
Mood Tired (really sore feet) Awesome
Total Mileage 500 500
Mileage Complete 134 Loads more than him
Mileage Balance 366 Are dog miles the same as human miles?
Pounds lost 6 lbs No thanks
Pounds gained  £790.00                                              Half that’s mine boss!
Mood end of month 1 Contemplative Still Awesome

WHO KNEW…….

  • That you can go water skiing on the River Tees?
  • That the Tees Barrage is one of the fastest and steepest white water rafting facilities in the UK?
  • That the Air Trail at the Tees Barrage is the biggest of its kind in the UK
  • That Teesside has some of the best restaurants in the UK according to quite a few of the Good Food guides!
  • That there is an extensive cycling network with cycle paths stretching hundreds of miles in and around Teesside.
  • That Teesport on the River Tees is the third largest port in the UK?
  • That the Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF) is one of the largest open air festivals in Europe.

     Let me have your “Who knew….”,  for the next blog!

White water rafting at the Barrage     100’s of  miles of cycle paths

                         

The Air Trail in Stockton             The Derry, one of our favourites

                        

Thanks again to our sponsors for your donations and lovely T-Shirts

                     

                     Don’t forget to put all that loose change into an ARCH NE money jar!

Some photos along the way of places we visited along with Buddy and sometimes his mate Poppy Lax!

Buddy taking Poppy for a walk into Yarm

CEO Nicky Harkin presented with BACP award by The Mayor of Middlesbrough, David Budd

I’m ready when you are….

The start of our 500 mile journey at the Ali Brownlee run on the 2nd July

The Arch NE “fun-run” team

Having a rest at Preston Park

A cold wet morning in Richmond but still a stunning place

A very hot day at Cotham Woods, a doggy paradise!

Cod Beck – the best place in the whole of Yorkshire for a swim (dogs only)!

 The Tees Barrage – so much to do!

Along the banks of the River Swale near Richmond

Finishing our first fun run – (498 miles left)!

Some views along the banks of the Tees in Stockton

 

How lucky are we to live in such a multi cultural, dynamic, inspiring and stunning place?!

and Finally

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style”.

Maya Angelou