Planning starts early for walk

Shaun, Ellie and Derek enjoyed a long walk at Kielder as preparations begin for their coast to coast challenge.

Musician Derek Allan, of We Steal Flyers, continues his weekly diary.

August 26

You usually have to be out of your room by 11am on tour. We then find shops and chippies all day until the 9pm gig start.

It was ok, but the War Games shop was the best. You buy soldiers, paint them and play some kind of games. Shaggy used to do this years ago. I was given a soldier to take home and show Ellie and Rebecca. I will see if they like them.

I bought them a few books too. I like taking gifts home, even if I am away for a few nights.

The gig was good and some more CDs sold. More and more of our songs are passing the 1,000 play mark on Spotify too. All these little things keep me going in this business.

August 27

We have a year to plan our coast to coast walk. Now we need to team up with Shaun and do some more walks with him. Ellie is excited because he is a walking machine.

We have to train now to get a good pace together so that no one walks too slow and no one walks too fast.

It could cost us more than £1,000 to this walk too so we need a plan to save up and raise something towards it all. A few sponsors from shops and so on should help.

We will need three maps too, and a greater understanding of how big this all is.

The gig today was cancelled so we are working from home mostly, and some films.

There is a lot to do, but this is what time is for.

August 28

I loved playing a solo set in Belford. I am ready now for what I have to do and it will work because I want it to.

Heidi, from the golf club, is a hardworking music lover. She needed a player for Bank Holiday Monday and I stepped in.

Gary Spalding performed after me so I got to hear some music too. I like seeing people so we had a nice few hours with friends.

I am ready now to record my songs in a studio and release my first solo CD.

August 29

Shaggy is with Maria and her family in Scotland. I love Scotland. I know first-hand that the walks look great, but they are not so easy.

I went to see Durham playing cricket. Sadly, it was my last day here with Ellie because school now wants to teach her stuff.

It was a great day. Paul Collingwood scored 177 and England under 19 player Matthew Potts scored an excellent 50 not out, and he is a bowler. Graham Onions took his 600th wicket too, an amazing player. With Jimmy Anderson in the England team, Onions may very well be the second best in England.

August 30

We were up at 5am and picked up Shaun Watts for a 26-mile walk around Kielder Lake.

Melanie and Rebecca spent the day together doing activities, and we walked the lake.

It was a great, though very long walk, with a few hills. Ellie is an amazing walker. The three of us are walking together to learn to walk at a speed we are all happy with. We need to know how many hours and miles we can get in a day.

We are going to walk hills and rough tracks in preparation for the coast to coast for Headway charity.

It was a great day and I love being with the team.

August 31

Sam Gibson had a gig with the band that plays with Blondie today – a great band from America on a great tour.

As Sam walked on stage I was sent a message cancelling one of his dates in the middle of his next tour there. Another £5 wasted on posters and more on postage. I fixed it in the end. Cancellations are a big worry for tour dates.

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