In 2010 Hayley Rudd visited Tanzania on a volunteer trip, where she worked with the children from Karama Orphanage and her life was transformed. Most of the kids at the orphanage are HIV positive and every year since her first visit, Hayley has taken on an epic fundraising challenge. The money she raises provides medicine, operations, therapy, clinic and hospital expenses, medical supplies and transport to and from the hospital, to give the Karama kids the care they desperately need.
Having already conquered Mt Kilimanjaro, the Three Peaks Challenge and the Inca Trail, in 2017 Hayley set her sights on walking across England on Alfred Wainwrights Coast to Coast path.
As Hayley explains, “Every year I do a fundraiser for Karama Orphanage and each year I try and top the previous year’s challenge – last year I walked The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, so it had to be pretty challenging! I’m a fan of The Lake District and Alfred Wainwright and had heard of Coast to Coast and was curious about doing it. I genuinely thought it would only take about 5 days! But then when I started researching and realised it was 13 days, my jaw dropped. By that point though, I’d already planted the seed and knew I had to do it…I’m so glad I did.
“My buddies were amazing and really made the trip. They all brought something special to make the journey easier and were all really positive and full of energy, even when the weather wasn’t on our side! People donating along the way and messages of support really helped too. As did the B&B owners…hats off to Macs Adventure for their choice of accommodation, couldn’t fault it. I’ve also made amazing new friendships meeting fellow Coast to Coasters along the way.”
Like any challenge, the Coast to Coast has its difficult days.
“On Day 6 of the walk; Shap to Kirkby Stephen, I had to walk the whole 20.5 miles in flip flops! I had blisters on my little toes and my feet had swollen up so much, that wearing shoes was unbearable. I live in flip flops during the summer, so it wasn’t too bad, but around the 17-mile mark, I did hit a wall. Fortunately, Laura was there to keep spirits high and we were met with a cream tea at the B&B, which made up for the pain. The next morning I bought a new pair of walking boots; to be able to wear shoes again without limping was heaven!”
But these moments of adversity are always more than matched by those of pure joy.
“Walking the high route on day 2 was a particular highlight. I was the only Coast to Coaster to do it and was a little bit apprehensive as I waved them goodbye, especially as the clouds were low as I started my ascent up Red Pike! Fortunately for me, when I reached the summit the clouds cleared and what followed was a beautiful sunny day. It felt amazing to then do High Stile, High Crag and Hay Stacks; breathtaking scenery and an overwhelming sense of achievement. Not only because I did the high route, but because I did it on my own.
“Also, on day 7 meeting the Yorkshire Shepherdess and having tea at Ravenseat Farm having just walked over Nine Standards was a really lovely day with lovely Coast to Coasters and the hilarious Yorkshire Shepherdess.
“And how can I not mention coming across Thomas’ Honesty Box on day 5; squeals of delight to find cold drinks inside on a hot day. It was like we’d struck gold! Laura and I bought a can of coke each…we felt quite tipsy and laughed a lot!”
We’d like to congratulate Hayley and thank her for sharing her thoughts on the walk. Hayley’s Just Giving Page is at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/karamaorphans
You can also support Karama Orphanage through the UK Charity, Juniper Trust at http://junipertrust.co.uk/projects/Karama-Orphanage