Thirsty work for Sidmouth hikers on mission for Hospiscare

A steady pace was maintained on the long walk back to Sidmouth

A steady pace was maintained on the long walk back to Sidmouth - Credit: Simon Horn

On the morning of Saturday, March 12, 21 fine and young(ish) men met at The Pig at Combe, near Honiton for a hearty breakfast before setting off on a 10-mile hike in aid of charity.
 
The charity in question was Hospiscare and this was a version of the now annual Men’s Walk. Organiser George Housden said: “We have done the Exeter route a few times in the past, and as there were quite a few of us from Sidmouth, we decided to forge our own trail with the aim of ending up at Sidmouth Rugby Club in time for kick-off. As it turned out there just happened to be a few pubs 'en route' as they say in France.”
 
And so it was they set out from the Pig into glorious early spring sunshine after being fuelled with hearty breakfast baps, pastries for the carb load and some top-notch coffee. Very kindly the Pig provided the breakfast in exchange for a donation to Hospiscare.
 
The team struck out over the East Devon countryside taking in the Roncombe Valley, and after negotiating some particularly moist underfoot conditions, where certain team members' choice of footwear was found wanting, they arrived at the first hostelry, The Red Lion Inn, in the heart of Sidbury.
 
After a quick pint, it was a leisurely stroll through the lanes to the Byes and on to the Volunteer Inn for another much-needed thirst quencher. At this point, the queue for the gents was longer than the queue for the bar, but it’s a long way from Sidbury to the Volly!
 
Many thanks to the Volunteer team who very generously donated half of the bar bill back to Hospiscare!
 
Back to the Byes and onward to the Swan Inn in the town centre for another well-earned beer – yes there was a theme developing – but all in a good cause.
 
By the time the team arrived at the Blackmore, Sidmouth RFC was in the process of administering a lesson in open rugby to Bridgwater, and with the route completed there was no better way to celebrate than with a few additional beers. The club also showed its support by making a contribution to the group’s fundraising efforts.
 
Martin Stokke, Senior Events Fundraiser and Men’s Walk organiser said: “Thanks to the walkers, Sidmouth RFC, their supporters and donors for going the extra mile in their support of Hospiscare. At a time where Hospiscare is more reliant on its community than ever, you made your own Men’s Walk and inspired many along the way.”
 
All in all, it was a brilliant day out with several hundred pounds raised for charity and some well-needed exercise taken in the process. 
 
In summing up Mr Housden said: “It couldn’t have gone better. We were lucky with the weather and the welcome we received from all the pubs on the way was fantastic, even though some of the teams' feet were wetter than an otter’s pocket after negotiating the water meadows of the Sid Valley, a great time was had by all.”