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A Successful Walking Festival 30 June 2006

Walking Festrival 2006A band of intrepid walkers who completed the near 100 miles Coastal Path, as part of the Isle of Man Walking Festival, have returned home full of praise for the festival itself despite encountering gale force winds and torrential rain on the mountain tops.

Walk leader Mick Salmon from Douglas has walked the coastal path (Raad ny Foillan) around 30 times but has rarely come across such unpleasant conditions. He said:

‘The high winds on the second day from Port Erin to Niarbyl were just about the worst I can remember, and this week showed just how much of a challenge it can be.
‘However, at the same time, my group were all experienced walkers and I think the difficulties made them all even more determined to complete the distance – which they did.’

His comments were backed up by one of the group – Anne Parry, a massage therapist from Reading in Berkshire. Said Anne:

‘Although it was certainly challenging I wouldn’t have missed it. The Island has very diverse scenery and literally every day was like being in a totally different country.
‘I really liked the Isle of Man and having seen it in summer I think I would like to return and walk the glens in the spring.’

She was one of five people to receive framed certificates to mark her achievement. They were presented at the final night ‘Blister Ball’ by Tourism Minister David Cretney and signed by Mr. Cretney and Festival Director Terry Marsh.

Also on the roll of honour were Anne’s partner, Peter Logan; Amanda Wilson from Hetton-le-Hole in County Durham; Richard Pardi from Los Angeles, and Isle of Man Sports Council member, Margaret Brown. There was also recognition for walk leader Mick Salmon and Somerset’s Allison Tipper, the assistant leader. Allison, a keen ornithologist, was able to identify 70 bird species during her trip round the Island.

Oldest member of the party was 71 year old Richard Pardi who makes a hobby of walking around different islands, having already tested out Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Wight. Richard, a retired company financial director, said that without a doubt the Isle of Man was his favourite.

He added:

‘The walk was way beyond the hardness I had expected, but in a way that added to the enjoyment. I was amazed at the variety of scenery the Island has to offer and what made my holiday was the fact that everyone I met was so helpful. ‘I do a lot of my hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains and I find there is some similarity to here with the waves pounding onto the mountain ridges. You have green here, but we don’t have green – just mainly brown; you have trees and different types of bushes but we just have brush. The Isle of Man was a real eye-opener to me and I am going to try and encourage some of my friends to come over and see it for themselves.

One person who has more reason than most to remember the 96-miles trek is Amanda Wilson. Amanda, who was walking for charity and hopes to raise £600 for Macmillan Cancer Relief, celebrated her birthday on the last day of the walk, from Ramsey to Douglas.

Said Mr. Cretney:

‘Having completed the London Marathon, my 100mph lap in the Manx Grand Prix and now the Parish Walk myself I can understand the walkers’ feeling of achievement at conquering the Coastal Path during some poor weather. It is pleasing to hear that they enjoyed the beauty and varied scenery which we have to offer and hope they will tell all their friends what a marvellous place it is.’

The Coastal Path contingent got on so well together that there is even talk of some of them getting together as a group and tackling the Parish Walk in two or three years time.

Photo caption: A group of walkers who took part in the Walking Festival pictured with walk leader Mick Salmon (centre)

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