For the Beauty of Olivia0
David Palmer, a well-known local Pastor from Believe Church, will be undertaking a gruelling trek, over three hundred kilometres along the North East Coast of England in order to raise funds for Domestic Violence charity, DARE.
What has inspired you to take this walk?
The inspiration to do the walk is that I love walking, I love nature. I’m a walker already. I have a stressful job, so nature restores my soul. I love photography! It keeps me healthy at my age (65). Back in 2015, I felt inspired to travel to France and do an 800km Camino de Santiago walk through to Spain, a 1200 year old pilgrimage trail. I started in a little town called St Jean Pied de Port, it took 34 days to walk. I absolutely loved it! It completely inspired me. I backpacked it and stayed in hostels and I loved it! I realised I could do something crazy like that. I discovered one of the most famous walks in England is in the north of England. A.W.Wainright wrote a series of guide books for the Lakes District, one of the most beautiful parts of England. They are handwritten and illustrated and still available for purchase. He decided before he died that he would do one last walk, the Coast 2 Coast walk. The route begins at St Bees in Cumbria and it goes through the Lakes District, the North York moors and ends at Robin Hood’s Bay. I decided that I would like to do the walk, but I would like to do it for a cause. I was thinking about my Mum, at her grave site and thought it was about time I honoured Mum. It was really the motivating thing, I want to do this in honour of my Mum. I want to start a conversation, raise funds for resources. Karen has become a friend of mine, I know first hand that they are desperate for immediate resources. They need blankets, they need cars repaired, they need accommodation. In honour of my Mum, if I could raise finances to get resources for these desperate people who need it. I’m prepared to do that.
Can you tell us more about your Mum and what your childhood was like?
My Mum was very troubled because of domestic abuse. She was married a number of times and in a number of relationships, trying to find a father for me. She made some well meaning but poor choices due to the fact that she didn’t think much of herself. She was also a very attractive woman but completely unaware of it. She was never aware of her true worth. I was separated from my sisters at three years of age and never knew the love of a Father. I never had a father figure to play ball with me. All of us siblings were affected by insecurity due to the lack of stability. I was suicidal at the age of twenty. Clinically depressed and misdiagnosed asthmatic for 20 years. My Mother always stood by me.
What is the terrain like there?
I expect there to be hours of uphill climbing, I will be walking for 10-12 hours a day. I will be using trekking poles for stability. The Lakes District is mountainous, it is rocky and wet. It has the highest rainfall in England, it can be slippy, muddy and boggy! Some parts you can bog up to your neck in mud! Some parts you need to hang on to chain. If it rains, you can be walking through streams. It can be foggy. I have a hand held GPS I will be using. I will be trekking through fields, farmlands, stiles, old mining districts. You can see rolling mountains through the fog, hopefully it won’t rain to much! I will be taking a drone to take images.
How are you training?
I do 8-10km a day on the Clear Mountain conservation trail. I go out sometimes with my headlamp on at 4.30am and have slipped and fallen a few times! It is easier to run down the slippery hill sometimes! I have trekking boots on with very good grip, a solid up hill climb in the Queensland heat is intense! I had to crack it, I had to get to the point where I could do it and not think about it anymore. I do it everyday excluding Sunday.
What challenges do you think you may face on this walk?
Getting lost! That’s my biggest concern. It’s not clearly signed and I’m not very good at reading a compass. There is not much phone signal. I will be reliant on my GPS. It can’t really be tested until I’m there though! I’m hoping when I get there it will work. I do have maps. It’s not a government recognised walk, despite being so famous. Navigation is a concern, people do get lost.
What do you think can be done to change the domestic violence epidemic we are currently facing?
We have to keep talking about it. We have to educate people better. The Government needs to resource it more. There is not enough emergency accommodation. We are desperate for more! I think that is the greatest need. We need to work with the abusers as well as the victims. We need more counselling. I think the government needs to step up with training in Community Services. We have to ask: Why is it increasing, why is this happening? We need find the answers. The direct need needs to be catered for first, accommodation predominantly and them we need to look at what’s causing the problem.
How much are you aiming to raise to assist DARE?
I wasn’t sure, I put $12,000 on the website. We’ll just see how it goes. I want to be realistic though I know DARE needs more than that. People are showing interest because they’ve got DV somewhere in their family, this really touches them.
Lastly, do you have any words of support for those in our community who are or have been victims of domestic violence?
My heart felt wish is don’t give up! Just reach out to someone for help! You’re worth more than you think you are! You are of more value than you think! You absolutely are worth it! Please don’t give up!
You can donate to support Dave’s walk and DARE’s amazing work here – https://chuffed.org/project/dare-to-care