Four Men Walk Waterfalls

Four Men Walk Waterfalls

Four members of the BikeBoatBoot challenge spent the morning of Saturday 2nd March 2024 walking a circular route in Waterfall Country north of Pontneddfechan in South Wales.  Laurence, Lee, Anthony and I (Paul) completed the 9.3-mile trek in just under 4 hours.  On the walk we saw incredible waterfalls including Sgwd yr Eira, Sgwd Clun-Gwyn, Sgwd Ddwli Isaf and Sgwd Gwladus.  It was perfect training for June’s challenge for Tŷ Hafan.

Laurence, Lee, Anthony and Paul

For me, the walk highlighted what these challenges are all about and it is not just about cycling, hiking and kayaking the length of Wales in 4 four-days.  In fact, I would say that the training days are even more important that the challenge itself.

All four of us who walked on that Saturday have lost children, either as a dad or uncle.  We are all continually grieving, irrespective of the years that have passed since our children died.  Grief does not leave you.  You carry it like a rucksack.  And sometimes that rucksack is light and sometimes it is so heavy that you struggle to move.  But it is always there.  And, in a strange way, you never want to put it down.

As families, we all have had or are having support from Tŷ Hafan.  Indeed, the first challenge was organised by Gareth who was heading up the Dad’s support group at the time.  And Tŷ Hafan is helping us with the organisation and planning of the BikeBoat Boot challenge.

Lee and Paul

Joining other BikeBoatBoot team members on a training walk or cycle ride gives you the opportunity to talk.  You can say things and ask questions that would be difficult or even impossible with other people who have not experienced such a loss.  There’s a lot of dark humour and a sense of camaraderie that I have never experienced in any other group.  I suppose we are members of a club that we never wanted to be part of.  But the people in that club are simply incredible.

I have found that the friendships I’ve made on the previous 5in55 and 10nTaff challenges are truly for life.  People who I never really knew before are now the people who I can turn to in my darkest hour.

The challenges give us all a focus.  Something to aim for.  A physical feat that forces you to put your waterproof gear on and walk 6 miles in the cold pouring rain on a dark January evening after work.  You have to train.  You have to leave the house.  The training gets you out into the amazing countryside of Wales and we are seeing many of the walks and off-road mountain bike trails for the first time.  And being out in the wild is amazing for the body and mind.

We have many more training sessions planned, some which could actually be classed as a challenge.  But I look forward to every one.  Just to have the chance to walk, cycle and kayak alongside some incredible men.  Just to have the opportunity to talk and feel normal.

You can sponsor and support Laurence, Lee, Anthony, Paul and the BikeBoatBoot team on their Just Giving page – Just Giving BikeBoatBoot