Rest Day Tonic: From-the-margins-to-the-mainstream

Joining-up walk (9.5m)
Making links between Leeds and the south, using Leeds and Liverpool Canal, the Aire and the Calder, before moving my base to Holmfirth.
This has been a couple of rest days I put into the programme before the assault on the western front. Unlike Bonaparte ( and his ilk) I decided not to do both at the same time although my walk at this stage (with (Dewsbury to Holmfirth on Friday when I’ve already done Holmfirth to Manchester) is getting hard to follow!
As John Q has remarked “Dick’s chosen coast to coast route reminds me of what Eric Morecambe famously said to Andre Previn “ I’m playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order”

We have had some kind feedback from Diane H who sponsored our Partnership Event on Wednesday :
“It was lovely to have you all and I am just sorry that the bomb scare may have delayed people/put them off. I very much enjoyed hearing the moving story from Diako and about the good work being done by Gill Chapman at Leeds Teaching Hospital
The blog looks wonderful. I do hope and pray that the rest of your journey is safe, pain free and rewarding.
If there is anything more I can do to help, let me know.”

The “Medical notes” have,I know, attracted a small troll-base, perhaps anticipating some grisly accident (!) so here goes:
Medical Report: Bowels have returned to normal; sleeping as chaotic as ever, right thigh rather stiff and in need of a gentle massage (I think), new(old) boots worn today for an 9.5 mile loosener and found to be up to expectations, Brew Dog doing its job and best tonic? Yorkshire under the cosh at Headingly, a lot of grumbling ( but not from me!)

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Eventing in Leeds: from-the-margins-to-the-mainstream-

Event and return (6m)
Our Partnership Event attracted a dozen interested and informed attenders, keen to find out more about our three programmes. An earlier bomb-scare and subsequent traffic chaos was thought likely to have prevented more from attending.
Both Diako and Gill gave very informative and emotional presentations to a group eager to learn. The issue of the wider apprentice programmes on offer ( for other trades and professions) was given a good airing, the qualities looked for in Guardians, our stickability, how Flouishing Families was funded and our financial needs  for the future were raised.
We were very grateful to the generous support of Diane Hallet ( Beachcrofts) for the room and refreshments, in one of Leeds’ most elegant buildings.
At the end we all gave ourselves a round of applause!

Medical Report ( focussing on my “great grimy  feet,” as my Cousin once named them): nothing alarming but some red rubs look dangerous, My new ( old) boots have arrived so this gives a fresh opportunity for rubs to occur elsewhere. The radox bath is very sybaritic and does a good soak of the smalls after.
Take an aspirin and keep under review.

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Over the top: from-the-margins-to-the-mainstream

Holmfirth to Glossop (14.5m)
A beautiful day and a great walk.
Over the Pennines at their most scenic and varied following the Pennine way, once we’d crested Black Hill from Intake Lane and Holme village.
The skies were blue and a cool breeze blew gently and the vistas open on all sides: “There’s Oldham Town Hall. Is that lovely peak in Cheshire and can we just see York Minster?” The horizon buzzed with wind turbines and heather and the contrails and jets flying to San Francisco and Boston crossed the sky in clear view.
Fellow walkers all remarked on the clarity of the day and the luck we were having with the warmth of the sun.
Gerard had brought Pork Pies from Kirkburton to rival Paul’s from Marsden on Sunday and we arrived, rubicon crossed, in Glossop, ready for refreshment!
There was anticipation of our Holmfirth beano on Friday night where prepations had long been in train and both the dinner and raffle were fundraisers for Growing Points and our determination to establish new communities in the north.
Two days of events ( in Leeds) and organisations ( of events in Sheffield and Manchester) follow with some well earned rest! Today we reached 77 miles and by the beginning of next week we will be well over 💯 or more than half way!

Medical Report: all settled inside. No aches today and thought of not getting on the road at 7am really appeals; at least for 2days!

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The rubicon and hurries: from-the-margins-to-the-mainstream

Castleford to Dewsbury (18m)
After a few false starts I found my way out of Castleford and by going the wrong way, encountered the Burberry factory, oddly located by the railway underpass and assorted litter and rubbish.
Over the River Calder , my 4th river and very much part of West Yorkshire, as the dawn broke.
The TPT is very odd signage-wise and when I got to one just outside Wakefield pointing to Stanley South and in the opp. direction, yes, Stanley South; I thought we’d reached a nadir. (No one died).
Shortly after, I switched my affections to ‘Leeds Country Path’ and things picked up for a while until I realised the map I’d borrowed from my daughter ( a veteran-the map-of a long ago DoE expedition ) was rather out of date and the march of housing had obliterated most of Northern Wakefield in the intervening years.
But the rubicon has been crossed! The M1 is on the east of the country but somehow crossing it today seemed like getting over the equator. And into dog walking land!. EVERYONE I met in West Yorkshire was out walkin’ the dog! In fact one man stopped me and asked me where my dog was,  because his dog had got excited seeing me in the distance, assuming that I would bring fido a new friend!
But the litter is just as bad, in fact it’s really awful. Sad to say, no area gets even a “trying but still hopeless” Report, isn’t that sad ? With the number of prisons I’ve passed surely a few payback schemes could be organised by all that tattooed talent behind bars.
Now, regular readers will remember the problems we had yesterday with calculating mileage. I hadn’t realised that I was traveling with my own Tim Hartford, who has got down and dirty with the facts and produced a brilliant explanation ( At this point I should advise that this information should only be read before bed-time when somnolence is anticipated and under no circumstances when operating heavy machinery or driving) Here’s the gist of it ( it maybe helpful if you think iPhones and pedometers……)

Dick had done 35,276 steps (including his walking in Leeds) which was recorded as 12.4 miles.

12.4 miles is 785, 664 inches (63,360 inches in a mile). Dividing the total number of inches by the number of steps would indicate that Dick’s stride is 22 inches.

My phone recorded that I had done 14.9 miles in 30,392 steps. Dividing the total number of inches (944,064) by my recorded number of steps (30,392 – I didn’t do any walking in Leeds) gives my length of stride as 31 inches.

( Please try to stay awake at the back of the class! To continue…..)

If Dick’s number of steps (35,296) was multiplied by my stride length (31 inches) the total number of inches he walked today was 1,093,556. Divide this by the number of inches in a mile gives 17.25 miles.

As our phones are currently set up, Dick’s phone records the distance walked as only about 2/3 of the distance that my phone recorded.

I suspect that 31 inches is not too far away from my stride length. I suggest that for a man of Dick’s height, 22 inches is probably underreporting his stride length.

A quick consultation on Wikipedia shows the University of Arizona stating that average stride length for a man is 30 inches. As I am 6ft 2in and above average height, 31 inches sounds right for me. Dick’s stride must be more like 30 inches than 22.

As Dick’s phone is currently set up, he will have done 200 miles when his phone says he has done 133! ( Well before he gets to Liverpool! Ed.)

Friends, I have to tell you that there has been a rejoinder to this, from my other travelling companion ( concerned about the impact of curvature of the earth and the depth of the lake that covered Glossop in prehistoric times, on the calculations ) but assuming most of you are nodding already, I think it will keep …and the Medical Report is up next, with important developments to record:

Medical Report: it was all going so well but the squits kicked-in today. Two stops under hedges made necessary by the intestinal hurries. I’m pleased to say a couple of Imodium have sorted that. (And yes, I do carry loo paper)
Tomorrow I rejoin my companions to cross a further rubicon, the Pennine hills from Holmfirth to Glossop.

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Thank you.

By Canal to Manchester (uphill).

Glossop to Manchester (14m)
I did this section with Paul and Gerard. Paul had re-routed it (making it longer but more scenic) and Gerard measured it with an optimistic pedometer (making it even longer and more macho).
The route was basically downhill from Padfield to the Ashton canal and downhill again following the canal to Manchester; as a result (?) we spent the first half-hour climbing hard through Sir Edward Schaar’s cutting ( he had returned from the Crusades that way) and after more climbing, reached the downhill bit.

Then we passed through areas with proper names like Mottram and Audenshaw and stopped for lunch at the Moravian Church and Community in Fairfield. I was attracted to this detour by the refugee link, my practical companions thought there might be a bench to eat lunch on. As it was, we saw a beautifully preserved set of houses set either side of generously wide streets where parking was not a problem. We ate some delicious Marsden pork pies that Paul had brought and wondered why housing communities couldn’t be built like this today.
The canal guided us through suburbia to industrial waste and eventually to the heart of Manchester. As it progressed it steadily became choked by the mess people make when they fail to take their litter home. A pity since the built environment was much improved /loved.
Eventually we emerged, arguing about the length of the walk and the best place for a beer, into the upper world of Piccadilly .
We alighted on the Piccadilly Tap and, beers in hand, toasted the walk which was 13 miles in my judgement but longer (15 miles) in my companions’. The warm sun and the beer made settling for their more liberal interpretation of the map desirable. And so the difference was split 50/50.

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My elevator speech: from the margins to the mainstream

Goole to Castleford (17.5m)
Start bright and early with pub in full swing at 6am ( had it closed?) with punters arriving for breakfast and ordering pints ( they didn’t get them). Goole even sadder in the cold drizzle of the morning but there really is only one train today to get me over the river and it leaves at 7.06!.
Soon landscape is pure East Anglia, huge sugar beet plantings, irrigation, sheep and country houses. But what’s this? A power station (Drax) smoking ( vaping?) into a clear blue sky. Those towers are enormous gosh they are huge; then there’s another (Eggborough), then another (Ferry Bridge) and yea another! The horizon muddled with their strutting pylons and steam; so much energy in so little space strung along the wiggling and writhing River Aire. So different from yesterday.
My selfie breaks, my boots split ( send for more), the footpath has been trashed; where are those endorphins?
Castleford at last, the birthplace of a hero , Henry Moore; but where is it? Here’s someone to ask who I recognise “I think I know you” I offer, “I’m Yvette”….ah yes the local MP on walkabout. ” I hope used to work for you,” I burble “I’m on my way from Hu……” she cuts me off as I struggle to extract my visiting card from my pocket, “Sorry it’s my daughter, must go….”; ah the elevator speech, what happened?
Arrive at my daughter’s house in Leeds. Very comfortable, especially with the addition of a few cans of Brew Dog and a new selfie stick to fathom.
Medical Report: normal for Norfolk really. No blisters but feet ache from a lot of road pounding. Will be straying into Lancashire tomorrow so will change the boxers in deference.

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Kindness of strangers: margins-to-manstream

Hessle to Goole (19m)
Walking does generate its own sense of well- being, I think they are called endorphins. (please excuse me if they are something else used in the dying trade or to enhance the taste of food).
I notice this after about an hour. It doesn’t matter what the conditions are like or whether you’ve lost the plot on the map, you just feel good. Then you also get the serendipity things like Eileen who today was the nearest thing to sanity when I’d got lost about 5 mins after being dropped off. She was cooking bacon in one of those roadside snackeries near Hessle and put me on the right track and then asked the fateful question “Where are you off to?” “Oh Liverpool”, I say airily and then my little card comes out with all the facts and figures and so she says, and by this time it’s raining hard and I’m soaked, “you shall have a cuppa on the house!” How kind.
Later, Bryn is rushing around like an idiot ( he’s a collie) as I talk to his owner, “where you off to” he says……you know the rest. “Hey! I’ve not got much change have this” and he holds out a £1 coin which Bryn jumps at like a biting mackerel. I only need another 18,000 like him and the job is done.
To cross the Ouse from the east I get a lift from the train. I’m perished. ” Sit in the front coach mate it’s much warmer” says the driver. It is!
In the pub at night the music and mayhem is profound but chap next door mouths “Where you going to?” I say, well you know I say, Liverpool , “They was shit against Sevilla!” He says, I nod.
Walk :Huge East Anglian skies today and a cold north wind, watching the Humber become the Ouse amongst endless marshes and mallard. Walking the dykes is uplifting because they afford the only view there is in this flat land. Industrial farming here, furrows clear and straight to the horizon.
Goole at last, so much trade is closing or closed here, only Christmas is worth hanging on for BUT big Sky sports screen in the bar and fish and chips. What’s not to like!
Medical Report:Body doing well, usual twinges in small of back and right thigh. No blisters, the 1000 mile sox doing their bit; never walk without them!

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Charity #1148487. Gift Aid it!


A pair of bras….Margin to mainstream


Walk Hessle to Hull (8m)and Evening Event:
Walk from Humber Bridge ( now officially a national icon) was disappointing; trail overgrown and deep in litter, badly marked and to close to roads, massive shopping centres and constrained in fenced paths through industrial estates. More clockwork orange than city of culture!
Some rain and more promised but otherwise huge Constable skies and a brisk wind  (from the North). Everyone helpful and interested as ever.
Event: Turnout was small but discussions very lively and doubled our number of Guardians in Hull. A result!
We talked about the need to get a local presence in Hull and its distinctive personality ( hence this blog’s title -you work it out!*) and we had some glowing feedback from two of our customers who came. We announced the outcome of our Board decision not to accept sub-min-wage for our people on NHS Nurse Apprentice programme and some feeling that we should push Hull CCG to top this up as a special case. Good plan. Our customers cannot afford to subsidise the NHS.
One of our Guardians, Simon, spoke well of our professional approach and of the Guardian  Angel support. We linked this to our Development day discussion about improving all this which will be a real hit.
A lot of affirmative feedback that we were definitely on the right track and why weren’t more organisations doing what we do?

(*You can’t? Well if it’s a pair of trousers, why not a pair of bras? And that’s what they say in Hull!)


This is the card I will hand out while I’m on my walk……

 Walk from Hull to Liverpool  September 2017

I’m walking from Hull to Liverpool (200miles) to raise £20,000 for Growing Points. That’s £100 per mile!

We support people from excluded communities to achieve their ambitions and increase social mobility by sharing our professional networks and know-how. In out Hidden Talents programme we work with NHS Trusts to offer apprenticeships to refugees who want to become nurses. Our ambition is reach 2000 refugees over the next 3 years and train over 400 nurses.

See more on

You can help us in many ways…

All our volunteer Guardians are unpaid. The money you donate goes directly into helping our customers, so please help us to help more people by donating to our crowdfunding page at:  Open from 10th September

Don’t forget to Gift Aid! Our charity number is 1148487

If you want to support us you can become a volunteer Guardian; we need them all over the country especially in Hull, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Leicester. Contact

If you want to find out more and track my progress/feet/stress levels/crowdfunding total, go to our Facebook page

Thanks you for reading this and cheering me on!

Dick Stockford


Growing Points

The intervenor’s motto…”do with, not for”>

I had thought in our modern, participative and engaged culture, the intervenor’s motto would be both common knowledge and common practice. All it means is that you get better outcomes/more change/ better understanding, if you work with your subject, rather than do things for them.

This has not always been the case and a lot of help and therapy based in the last century is based on the discredited notion of “tell them, show them, make them”. Perhaps I should say, I hope it’s discredited; it’s certainly wrong and doesn’t work well where it’s most at home, in teaching. Counsellors get it, with their commitment to an “unconditional positive regard” for their clients, but do the rest of us?

It cropped up in a my Blog about the founding of the Welfare State where the engagement bit was certainly missed and the mission to serve was certainly dominant, as exemplified in a paternalistic health and welfare profession who not only know what’s best but are constantly trying to find new ways to improve “patient compliance”. Everyone knows (don’t they?) that the best way to improve this is to get the patient to understand what you are up to, engage them in understanding what’s making them ill and seek their help in curing it. It’s not that complicated but it takes longer than signing a prescription with the words “two times a day and finish the bottle”. So many of our modern ills are self-inflicted own-goals (obesity, type 2 diabetes, lung cancer, alcoholism, addiction to prescription drugs) that the role of the patient in any “cure“ is pretty obvious… or it certainly should be.

But in spite of my suppositions, I keep coming across areas where either no-one appears to have heard of the motto or if they have they certainly aren’t practicing it and are about to make things go wrong, badly wrong.

Just two will do…no names. A large and very caring national organisation is involved in setting up services for refugees, where refugees have only incidentally been involved in the creation of the programme. The question of how to ensure this service will be done “with, not for” has just been raised…… just before the service goes live!

And, at a meeting of committed organisations in a town keen to up-their-game in the provision of services to refugees and asylum seekers who have systematically reviewed what they do and reached a conclusion on what they should do to achieve better outcomes for their clients/customers. Hardly believably, the list does not include education or employment they very issue Growing Points gets asked about by most of our customers; but again the services were self-reviewed; no refugees were involved.

One of the reasons we are so keen at Growing Points on our new pilot anti-poverty programme Flourishing Families is because not only do we not help but we insist that the families work out what they need to do to get out of poverty and to stay there. The findings of the programme in the States that inspired us, is that poor families make good decisions give the space and support to do so.

And they will get plenty of “with” from us!