Northumberland friends clock up nearly 2,500 miles with lockdown walks

A group of Northumberland-born friends decided to see how far they could walk to combat the lockdown blues.

By Ian Smith
Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 4:58 pm

The 20-strong group, all former pupils at Duchess’s Community High School in Alnwick, managed a combined 2,471 miles.

For the competition, they split up into two teams, with the losing side pledging to buy the triumphant winners drinks.

Kitty Chrisp, 25, who came up with the idea and ended up on the winning team, said: “We are now spread all over the country but we usually manage meet up at least a few times a year so it’s been a great way of keeping in touch with everyone. But it has got pretty competitive!”

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A group of former Duchess's Community High School pupils clocked up the miles with a series of lockdown walks.

The team were unsure how to keep track of the mileage tally but, luckily, one of the group, Ben Murray, is a software developer and he devised a web app connected to the group’s mobile phones. Seeing the impact of their efforts published to the app spurred everyone on.

Ben, originally from Belford, admitted: “With February starting off so cold and bleak and in the midst of a lockdown – this was just the motivation needed to get out of the house and active again.”

Hugh Renner-Thompson, in first place for distance covered, walked 244 miles with his Labrador Daphne at his side. He managed a marathon 26 miles around Belford on the last day.

As the miles increased the friends thought that their efforts could be used to benefit others and decided to raise some money for Bell View Resource Centre in Belford. So far, £255 has been raised.

Hugh Renner-Thompson on one of his walks.

The charity supports older people to live independently by offering services such as accessible transport, a day care centre, a lunch club, home delivered meals, exercise groups, arts and crafting, enabling, assisted trips out.

There are coffee and lunch clubs in Belford, Glanton, Seahouses, Bowsden and Cornhill and the catchment area covers approximately 200 square miles of scattered rural and coastal communities.

Alternatively, card payments can be made by phone on 01668 219220 or via a BACS direct payment Barclays “Bell View (Belford)” 20 58 17 Account Number: 20693758.

Elly Bolton on one of her walks in the snow.

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The Northumberland countryside.