But first, a little about ourselves

Our names are Mark and Rachel. We are Sussex born and bred and have lived in Mid Sussex for all our married lives. Both of us have always had a love of the Great Outdoors but on our honeymoon in the Brecon Beacons in 1984 I thought that perhaps hill walking was a step too far for us. We were walking up Pen y Fan with next to no kit, with Rachel making a valiant effort in totally unsuitable clothing and footwear. About half way up, she stopped and said that she couldn’t make it and wanted to return to the car. What was a newly married man to do? To carry on without her or do the honourable thing and walk back down with her, giving up on my dream of getting to the top. There was only one thing I could do, it was our honeymoon after all and we had only been married for a couple of days, so....................I set off for the top!

As soon as funds allowed, we purchased proper kit and Rachel never looked back. The Stork made a couple of deliveries, in the form of two boys and almost as soon as they could walk, we had them panting up hill and down dale. Most years we would make our way northwards to enjoy the finest hills and mountains that this country had to offer, and by the time Mike and Dave were 9 and 6 years of age respectively, they had their first Munro under their belts. Despite all this indoctrination, both our boys have no interest in walking or hill climbing now, which is a shame really, but each to their own I suppose.

We continued to climb mountains but Rachel wanted something different. I offered a divorce but that wasn’t what she meant, apparently. She had got a little bored with climbing up hills and then straight back down again, and soon after my brother in law cycled the South Downs Way, she suggested that we could walk it. This hit a chord with me as I had been given several Wainwright books by my mother, years previously, among them The Pennine Way and The Coast to Coast. I used to read the books constantly over and over again and dreamt of what it would be like to achieve something like that. Little did I know that one day I would marry someone that ultimately, would want to do the same thing.

Walking long distance paths was a new concept to us. Could we do it, would we enjoy it, would it all end in tears? Dear reader, I’ll let you be the judge.