19 September 2016
As Cobham Hall’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Leader, Miss Katharine Lambert is used to long walks in the countryside. This year, she turned that into a fundraising challenge: walking five of the UK’s longest National Trails during the School holidays – a total of 1361 miles!
Starting in the 2015 summer break, Miss Lambert who also teaches both Geography and PE, completed her first Trail – the Pennine Way. A mere 268 miles! The October half-term saw her head to the border between England and Wales to tackle the shorter 177-mile Offa’s Dyke trail. Her third trail was completed just before Christmas, and was the most poignant for her. At 100 miles, the South Downs Way was where her father first inspired her love of long distance walking. The final two paths were completed in 2016; during the Easter holidays Miss Lambert walked the 186 mile Pembrokeshire Coastal path and this summer, she walked the whole of the South West Coastal Path – all 630 miles; a trail that was almost as long as the previous four put together!
Inspired by her favourite quote, ‘Challenges are what makes life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes them meaningful’ and a documentary marking the 50th anniversary of the Pennine Way, Miss Lambert decided she wanted to combine a love for the outdoors with a physical challenge, and so her National Trail Challenge was born. Miss Lambert chose to use the challenge as a way to raise money for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. “This fundraising challenge honours the memory of both my parents,” she explained. “My father inspired the physical aspect, and my mother was a keen fundraiser.”
Initially setting a target of raising £1000, Miss Lambert achieved that before tackling the longest trail. When asked if the fundraising element added pressure, Miss Lambert was honest. “It does add pressure, but for me it was in a good way. It definitely inspired me to not give up and to keep pushing; you don’t want to let people down. The pressure is only there because I’m doing a good thing and want to be able to raise as much money as possible.” Her total raised so far now stands at just over £1700, and she’s hoping to hit £2000.
After completing her final walk, she said “I cannot believe I have managed this walk, it has been the toughest challenge I have ever done but so proud of myself for achieving it and getting through the tough moments. It’s opened my eyes to what I’m capable of, and I’ve really enjoyed challenging myself. It’s shown me that if you put your mind to something and take it step-by-step, you can achieve anything.
It’s good for the girls to see their teachers pushing themselves as well….and girls on their Duke of Edinburgh expeditions definitely can’t complain now!”
Cobham Hall is a Round Square and IB World School, both of which encourage pupils to push themselves to discover there is more in them than they think by undertaking an array of challenging activities. It’s fantastic to see teachers so willing to lead by example!