Last week marked my 30th birthday. In my mind's eye I had pictured celebrating the occasion by having tea with the Queen to tick off my final 30 before 30 challenge. In reality I fell well short having completed just 11 of the 30 challenges. On the upside I did have a fantastic day which started in Paris with my fiance Lauren and ended back in London having a lovely meal with my family.
Looking back there were mitigating circumstances for my failure to get even remotely close to completing all of the challenges, not least my unforeseen lung problems. Buying my first house and planning for a wedding certainly didn't help either. However, I'm not really one for excuses and the reality is I failed miserably.
I'm no quitter either, though, and my challenge now is to complete the remainder of the challenges as soon as I possibly can and I got off to the best possible start last weekend by walking part of Hadrian's Wall to tick another challenge off the list.
The wall itself isn't all that impressive (about 4.5 metres at it's heighest point) but when you consider how old it is and all the history attached to it, the wall takes on far greater significance. Add to that the incredible countryside in which it's set, a farmers market, a pint of cider (or five) at the end and the company of two of your best friends and their wives to share the experience with and you have yourself the makings of a great weekend!
The walk itself was no more than 4 or 5 miles from the little village, Gilsland, where we were staying to the Roman fort at Birdoswald meaning that Hadrian's Wall wasn't the most difficult of my 30 before 30 challenges. However, it was certainly one of the most enjoyable and I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone. If you're after somewhere to stay then the Samson Inn is well worth considering as an option. Outstanding value and great food.
All that's left to say is a huge thank you to Giles, Laura, Paul, Ali and Lauren for joining me for the challenge and to everyone that's supported me in my 30 before 30 challenge so far. I'm so sorry I fell so far short but I will see these challenges through to completion and will never stop fundraising until we beat blood cancer.