A Dream Come Through
It’s been 3 months since Sophie Brown completed her dream walk – to walk 100 miles along the Kennet and Avon Canal to raise funds for Reparations Youth Projects in Bristol.
She raised just over £2,000 to support young people from aged 11 to 16 years with some Arts & Craft sessions at a local community hall.
Here’s what she had to say about the walk.
My name is Sophie Brown, and I am the founder of a walking group in Bristol named Bristol Steppin Sistas.
I have been walking solo since the age of 8 years old, before I founded the group . walking and hiking has been my passion for many years.
The walk from Bristol to Reading was a dream I always wanted to follow for the past 4 years, when others ask me “how did the walk go “. all I ever say is “MIND BLOWING”
The walk itself was amazing, and I can’t believe I had the experience to see what I was missing in the UK for all these years.
Absolutely, lovely people that I met along the way, they came across as if they knew me already. They looked surprised to see a Black woman, solo walking for 5 days – one Man who lives on the canal between Devizes and Hungerford actually told me that he has lived on the canal for 12 years and this was the first time he’s ever seen a solo walker, a Black woman. He also said this is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. I stopped and spoke with him for a while and he said that I will be ok and all the best – he gave me his phone number and I still speak with him now up to this day, he also gave me a donation.
So, moving along the canal I bumped into many friendly people, stopping me and asking where I was going. I stopped in pubs and B&B’s overnight, I had no problems whatsoever with anyone, to be honest I felt safer and more welcomed in these places than my own place of residence a times.
It wasn’t just the people that I was surprised about – it was he actual river and the amazing countryside views, everything was just clean ant neat, going further south, crossing into Berkshire the water was turquoise, and I was thinking if I was becoming delusional , as I’ve never seen turquoise coloured river water before – I stopped to ask a passer-by, what colour is that river water “she said its turquoise” it literally blew my mind, I have only seen sea water that colour.
I came to a path, a very slim path and on both sides of the path was a river that ran for at least 6 miles, then joined into one surrounded by tall pine forest trees, it was so surreal, and I didn’t see one person in sight for a whole day. The strange thing about the whole experience was that I had no fear whatsoever – it felt like there was someone walking beside me every day – I didn’t feel lonely, but was eating a lot, obviously I was burning too many calories. I had seen more wildlife than humans on the whole walk.
Would I do it again? – ABSOLUTELY 100% the walk was an eye opener for me and I thought a lot about my life and what I wanted to do when I return home.
My partner Darren has been very supportive since meeting him just before the walk.
About a month after I returned, he has given me space in his house with an office to use to carry on with working on my walking group, in a different environment other than a busy city, which works out well, as it gives me some extra time to spend with him on less busier days. Darren is a nature photographer and landscape gardener who lives in Glastonbury – my favourite place in the UK.
I need to work on myself as well, as I’m not used to being in a relationship with someone who treats me well, genuinely and is willing to support me. We’re definitely a team.
I am still receiving some support from our local radio station – BCFM radio – “The one love Breakfast Show” on a Tuesday and Thursday with Primrose Granvillle and “the Al Dat Show” on a Wednesday Ammo also on a Thursday 4pm to 6pm “Getting Bristol Home” DJ Nytro & Ammo, streaming live from BCFM and Crystal Love Radio – you can find the BCfm shows here BCfm Radio
I will carry on collaborating with outside organisations and I have met some wonderful people from the Long Distance Walkers Association
My main contacts for collaborating with weekend events are Pro Trainings UK About ProTrainings Europe Ltd – Our Story and How We Started to be honest I couldn’t of done the walk without the support they have given me with all the training and knowledge over the last two years. Also, ITV West are supporting me with promotion.
Just to carry on, surround myself with positive, like-minded people, stay grounded and keep collaborating with organisations who are genuinely there to support me.
Follow the Bristol Steppin Sistas on Social media
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