Aylesbury Vale woman is joined by Clare Balding on demanding charity walk

She was joined by the broadcasting icon for part of her 247-mile journey
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An Aylesbury Vale woman was joined by longtime broadcaster Clare Balding as she completed an extensive walk for charity.

Karen Ironside from Waddesdon who is partnerships director at Caudwell Youth, trekked for 247 miles, completing a coast to coast challenge.

She was walking across the UK to raise funds for the charity she works for. Caudwell Youth supports children and adults who are at risk and aged between 11–24.

Karen Ironside and Emma Courtnadge walking along the scenic river path with Clare BaldingKaren Ironside and Emma Courtnadge walking along the scenic river path with Clare Balding
Karen Ironside and Emma Courtnadge walking along the scenic river path with Clare Balding

Starting in Bristol she walked under the Brunel Suspension Bridge on the Avon, along the picturesque Kennet and Avon Canal, the Thames River, and finally to the tranquil Thames estuary, where she reached her destination in Kent.

Karen says the walk was not just a physical challenge, but something that could be interpreted as a symbol of hope for the young people that Caudwell Youth supports.

Karen’s fundraising page can be accessed online here.

She did not walk alone she was joined by her friend, Emma Courtnadge, who accompanied her for just over 215 miles.

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She also spent time with the BBC broadcaster, Clare, who chatted to her and conducted an interview along part of the route.

Karen said: “This walk was never meant to be so long, just 100 miles of the Avon and the Kennet and Avon Canal. However, spurred on by people we met along the trail and family who encouraged our adventurous spirit, we extended to the Thames Barrier (165 miles) and finally Coast to Coast given that we were so close.

“We did not envision that it would be so hard or so beautiful but with every step I knew I was moving closer to raising essential funds for Caudwell Youth and helping to change lives.

"To date, we've raised more than £2,000, but we’re still a bit short of our target of at least £2,700 – but there's still time to donate.”

In total Karen spent 130 hours out on the trail, and went through two pairs of running shoes during the project. She also completed 20 train and 26 car journeys, and had to throw away a pair of leggings, which developed a hole where there should not be one.