Guernsey Press

Record turnout for round-island Saffery Rotary Walk

Hundreds of walkers toiled around Guernsey’s coastline on Saturday to raise money for good causes.

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Left to right: Tania Russell, Carly Parrott, Vicky Randall and Nicola Heaume from Team JackalBoxfit eat some snacks at Portelet before continuing their walk. (Picture by Karl Dorfner, 33310351)

The Saffery Rotary Walk had its biggest turnout ever, with more than 1,100 walkers, and organising committee chairman Simon Milsted said everything had gone well.

Walkers set off at 4.30am from the Guernsey Information Centre and went clockwise around the island.

‘It was a perfect walking day,’ said Mr Milsted.

‘It was overcast this morning when they were on the cliffs, but as people came down to the west coast, the sun shone and the wind was on their backs.’

There were a few sprains and twists, but St John were on hand to help, and the checkpoints were manned by dozens of volunteers.

By about 11am about half of the walkers had passed through the third checkpoint at Portelet.

Many people were doing the walk with friends.

Nicola Heaume, 50, was doing the walk with six friends from JackalBoxfit.

She last did the walk 15 years ago, but said it had been easier this time, as she was a lot fitter.

‘The steps have been pretty hard – there is a lot of up and down,’ she said.

‘It’s been quite cloudy this morning, with a bit of rain, but the sun is coming out now, so it is going to heat up.’

Ayla Meerveld and Alice Leach. (Picture by Karl Dorfner, 33310353)

Friends Ayla Meerveld and Alice Leach, both 30, were walking together.

‘There is a great atmosphere,’ Miss Meerveld said. ‘At the start there was a bottleneck and we did get stuck behind people, but from Le Gouffre it all spread out.’

This was her second time taking part and she was glad to get off the cliffs, but she did not underestimate the long, flat west coast.

‘This is now a mental game,’ she said.

This was the first time Morgan Lihou, 17, had done the full walk. She was joined by friends and family for various sections.

‘The last bit of the cliff was really tough,’ she said.

Her father Nathan, who joined her for a stretch of the cliffs, said he was proud of his daughter.

Nathan Lihou with daughter Morgan, 17. (Picture by Karl Dorfner, 33310354)

There were also a number of relay teams taking part.

Ian Drillot, 53, was part of a relay team of seven people from Marsh Management Services, and did the cliff stretch.

‘It was not a very good sunrise, but it is a great community event,’ he said. ‘Everyone seems happy, even having to rise early.’

Guernsey Arts is one of this year’s charitable beneficiaries, and will be using the money to fund better access to the arts and to have more community groups for those with additional needs. It entered its own relay team and at Portelet, funding committee volunteer Jennifer Strachan passed on the baton to chairman Stephen Ainsworth.

Stephen Ainsworth and Jennifer Strachan from Guernsey Arts, one of the beneficiaries of funds from the walk. (Picture by Karl Dorfner, 33310352)

This was the first time Mrs Strachan had taken part.

‘It was tough,’ she said.

The first walker across the finish line was Barnaby Paul at 10.52am, while the first relay team was the Clarity Champions, just after noon.

But Mr Milsted said it was important that people achieved their own goals with the walk.

He thanked all the volunteers and sponsors for all their help, in particular Saffery Trust.