The Blister Sisters….
When the idea was first discussed amongst the four of us, we debated whether we could even complete it, after all none of us are in our 20’s anymore and with an average age of 61½yrs, we all have our health issues.
We had no idea how big this event would become or how much support we would receive. We honestly thought that there would be fingers pointed at the mad English women posing as the Blister Sisters (Auriana, Carole, Lynda and Sue) as we stomped around the TRNC!
However, the support that we have received from all corners of the TRNC and all nationalities living here has been enormous, far beyond any of our expectations and most certainly overwhelming, bringing us to tears on occasions. We cannot find enough words between us all to thank you but you have touched our hearts in so many ways and we are all so very grateful.
We chose October to tackle our challenge as it was supposed to be a cooler month after our long hot summer. What we had not taken into account was that we could not train at sensible hours during the summer due to the heat so we were getting up at 3.30am to get out walking before the temperatures really kicked into the late 30’sC. We were lucky enough to find a gym that gave us a free month’s membership to keep us out of the heat.
Leading up to the first day the temperature took us all by surprise as it was actually rising which ensured our first day was a nightmare at an unexpected 34C. By the time we finished our first day, we were absolutely exhausted, barely being able to put one foot in front of another and concerned about what the following days would bring.
However, the weather started to turn across the island and the temperatures dropped enough to make our walking enjoyable. We managed to get out of Girne before the floods arrived, we left Famagusta before the ‘oversized golf ball’ hailstones arrived and we escaped Lefkosa before the storms arrived there. The bad weather only managed to catch up with us on the last day and even then it wasn’t much more than a drizzle for about an hour coming over the top of the mountain. At least we were able to wear our newly purchased pink waterproof jackets; nobody could fail to see us in those!
Two notable things have come out of this challenge, the first being the friendship that we have forged between us all. We were a ‘team’ right from the very start, encouraging each other and supporting each other as we all experienced an injury, a cold, chest infection etc prior to our trip but the walk sealed our friendship.
The second being the support that we received both from the expat and the local community alike all along our journey. Not many fundraisers cross the foreign community/Turkish community divide but this one certainly did and we felt it as we travelled through the villages with pride as the locals had put so much effort into making us feel part of their community and to say thank you for our efforts. Villagers in one area actually tied pink ribbons along our route through their village. All ages came out to meet us, welcome us as well as trying to feed and water us!
As the week progressed we thought we would start to tire but this was not the case, we actually started to feel stronger and our speed was picking up day by day which was great because we had a few unexpected stops where locals came out to meet us and these were not in our plans at all!
Our last day was so memorable as we passed GAU with the children shouting long after we passed them, then onto the group that met us at the end of the bypass to walk into Girne with us on our last 10kms, the support from the businesses (water and donuts) that we passed that had sponsored us, then up to The George.
Wow, what a welcome. We never anticipated so many would turn up to meet us especially as the weather had been a little unkind earlier in the day. It was incredibly emotional for all of us to finish to such support, kindness and warmth. Yes there were tears but they were tears of happiness and some even asked us if it was a sense of relief when we arrived but the honest answer is no, it was a huge sense of achievement that we all felt.
To all our sponsors, however big or small, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You all helped our challenge become even more worthwhile and we are proud of you all for supporting us in so many ways.