Great North Walk: Post script from Stockton Beach

My footsteps in the sand in Awabakal lands

My footsteps in the sand in Awabakal lands

Time of writing: 8:00pm 14 July

As I lay here in my tent for my final night before returning home, I can’t help but look back on the highlights of the past two weeks. It already seems so far away; it’s odd how that happens.

I think the thing that’s touched me most are the people I’ve met along the way:

  • the artist lady and her children who reminded me to keep an eye out for animals and birds
  • the fitness walkers in Lane Cove who wished me well
  • the father with his children who kept me company that first day when I was quite anxious about whether I’d make it to the finish
  • the Duke of Edinborough group who welcomed me around their campfire
  • the Christian missionaries who left me with such a sense of peace
  • the cyclist who took me to water
  • the Scout leader who shared a yarn with me when I was lonely
  • the teenage boy who insisted I take $3 in change because he thought what I was doing in taking on the GNW was inspiring (I am going to donate the money towards my Cycling for Hope challenge)
  • the wounded warrior camped next to me at Stockton Beach who gave so much for my freedom (I hope he finds peace for he is only my age but has paid a heavy physical and emotional price)
  • the man camped on the other side of me who I only met tonight but who offered me a lift to the airport (I politely declined because I have to leave early in the morning)
  • all the other people who’ve taken the time to stop and chat as our paths have crossed.

The journey has been intensely physical but also deeply spiritual. Everyday I have spoken to the elders past to tell them why I was traveling through their land and to offer my respect. Everyday I made time for prayer. Today I bought some simple prayer cards from a church of another denomination from mine. I spoke with the good people there and they gave me an extra card: A Blessing for Travelers. I will keep the prayer in my heart and will also wish it on others who take a journey on or off the road:

Loving and gracious God, you always show mercy to those who love you, and you are never far away from those who seek you.

Remain with your servants as they travel far from home, and guide their way by the light of your Word.

Shelter them with your protection by day, given them the light of your grace by night, and as their companion on their journey, bring them to their destination in safety.

May they see your face in everyone they meet, and know the depth of your love on every road they walk.

At the end of their journey, may they return home once again with renewed faith and hearts full of joy.

On this journey I learned that if I just put one foot in front of the other and don’t give up, then, even with a heavy load and rest stops, I will get to my destination. It might not go according to plan and plans might change. But that’s just par for the course. And the most magical moments occur when my heard is open to hear what my ears cannot.

The End

(for the Great North Walk story)

Total: 16km walking around Newcastle over two days


19 responses to “Great North Walk: Post script from Stockton Beach

  1. Pingback: Great North Walk Day 11 (12 July): Watagan Forest Motel to Finish at Queen’s Wharf, Newcastle | Transventure

  2. Awesome sentiment Andrew! You had a sense of purpose (yr walk), friendships (the souls you met) and time to reflect – it sounds like the path to happiness.

    • Thanks Sue 🙂 It was a fantastic experience. The time away to just be outside of the hustle and bustle of life was just what I needed. Yes, the souls I met were just beautiful.

  3. Congratulations Andrew, amazing effort!

    • Thank you Stephen. Say, Waz said he saw you at Trailwalker Brisbane. Did you have fun volunteering? I was there as support crew (much easier than walking, that’s for sure 🙂 ). How’s your walking efforts going?

  4. Great read, sure it was an even greater adventure. Congratulations.

  5. Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment. Great life lessons learned because of it as well.

    • Thank you Angela 🙂 . I always find experiences like this trip help me grow a little more as a person (though I did physically shrink by 4kg – almost 9 lbs). I am taking the lessons I learned from the walk with me in the Cycling for Hope. It’s a bit like the Great North Walk on steroids because it’s 3 times as long and is happening in the middle of my real life.

  6. Love the prayer Andrew and your profound words that go with it. Again congratulations, I’m really proud of you mate, I look forward to reading about your next adventure!! 🙂

    • Thank you Simone. I thought the prayer was beautiful too. An Islamic girl I used to work with had a wish she always shared with people going on travels. It went something like: “I wish you safe travels. If I have done anything to hurt or offend you, please forgive me before you go.”

  7. Hello and thanks for sharing your travel impressions with the world. I’m planning to walk the trail as you and I’m wondering how much water you carried and how easy it is to refill the water on the track



    • Hi Johannes, I carried about 2L every day but extra on days where there was no water indicated. I carried purification tablets and used them when I filled from creeks. I think there were 2 days I carried 5L. One was the night I camped with the lookout in the Watagans near the scout group (towards end of walk).

    • When do you head off? It’s a fantastic experience. One of my favourite.

  8. Wow, what an awesome job, mate! Great reading and I got some tips that should help me on my GNW adventure (when I eventually do it). Thank you.

  9. By the way Andrew, I helped start Audax in Australia back in the early 80’s, and was president for a few years.

  10. Heading off this September on the GNW north bound. I’ll be close to 67 by then and I’ve never done much bushwalking, but I have done loads of long distance cycling/camping in the past.
    Regarding the food you carried, did you really need to start with all that you took? It looked a lot to me.

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