More than 600 walkers took part in the award-winning Pilgrims Way Challenge charity walk on Saturday 11 June 2022. The event has raised £74,000 this year, with early estimations being that the event will exceed £90,000 for Pilgrims once all fundraising is counted.
With three distances to choose from, 25km, 35km or 55km, walkers of all fitness levels were able to enjoy the rural beauty of one of England’s oldest and least-trodden national trails. Starting from the picturesque village of Wye within the Kent Downs AONB, those taking part walked through the scenic Stour Valley, to historic Canterbury, and onwards to finish inside the inner bailey of Dover Castle, journeying through some of the most charming villages in Kent, whilst being surrounded by endless green fields, rolling hillside views, quiet country lanes, historic buildings and ancient woodlands.
This popular annual charity fundraising event goes from strength to strength, with hikers and runners joining from across east Kent and further afield, all of them passionate about their walking, and everyone raising money to support end-of-life care at Pilgrims Hospices and within the community.
The weather was glorious, as walkers started their mammoth challenge. New faces joined many returning supporters who know the event is well planned, with rest stops, snack stations and bundles of volunteers and staff to support and encourage them along the way.
Robert Grew, Pilgrims Events Manager said: “It was fantastic to welcome so many Pilgrims hikers to another sun-filled Pilgrims Way Challenge at the weekend. I’m in awe of their determination, and extraordinary efforts to march so many miles in support of the compassionate, end-of-life care that Pilgrims Hospices provide. They really stepped up to the challenge and I’d certainly say they’ve earned putting their feet up for a while! I’d also like to say a big thank you to the many dedicated staff and volunteers, without whom the event couldn’t take place. Their boundless enthusiasm and friendly smiles kept participants going all the way to the finish.”
One walking (if not staggering) event statistic is, those taking part jointly achieved an incredible 21,475 kilometres on the day. That’s the equivalent of walking from London to Rome 7 times!
Linda Macdonald from Folkestone completed the 35 km route. She said:
“The walk was so well organised and the volunteer teams cheered us on, fed and watered the participants too. All with good humour and encouragement. It was a hot day, but the various churches along the route offered tranquillity and shade. Thank you all for such a great event.”