I'm a double cancer survivor, cyclist and walker who does various challenges for different charities, mainly cancer-related.

My latest trip was a three-week tour of Tasmania in February 2015; amongst other things, I've cycled from Land's End to John o'Groats (2003), Rotterdam to Lemvig (Denmark) (2005), walked the Pennine Way (2008) completed the ascent of all 214 'Wainwrights' in the Lake District in only 55 days (2009), cycled 4,500 miles around the coast of Great Britain (2011), cycled all 42 of the accessible Western Isles of Scotland in under a month (2012), twice abseiled 230 ft from the top of The Big One in Blackpool, cycled the WWI Western Front from London to Compiegne via Ypres and Arras (2014) and cycled 750 miles in the Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton (2014).

Altogether I've raised over £70,000 for my charities including The Christie, Cancer Research UK, the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, and ABF (The Soldiers' Charity) and I was mightily chuffed to receive the British Empire Medal in the 2014 New Year's Honours List.

I'm a Rotarian and give illustrated talks about my adventures in exchange for a donation to charity, so if you're looking for a speaker leave me a message. I am also Event Organiser for the Ribble Valley Ride Cycle Sportive, to be held this year on Sunday 14 June 2015 - more details at www.ribblevalleyride.org

You can also follow me on Twitter - @CancerBikeMan and on Facebook - just search for Bill Honeywell

Cancer Research UK is the world's leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research, whilst The Rosemere does fantastic work for patients in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Walking in the Axarquía area, Andalucía  – May 2015

A week’s walking and getting to know a quiet corner of southern Spain

Life isn’t all about cycling. There’s plenty of walking to do too!  Every Christmas our friends James and Jill arrange a day’s walking in Lancashire, almost invariably in wet and windy conditions - although last Christmas was a welcome exception.  Last autumn another couple in our little group, Ian and Jackie, suggested being a bit more adventurous and going to Spain for a week. They knew a couple who run ‘Spanish Steps’, a walking holiday and accommodation business based in Cómpeta, not far inland and about an hour from Málaga airport.

Keen to sign up, in addition to ourselves, were James and Jill, John and Susan, Peter and Linda, and Roger, making a group of 11, and so we booked with Spanish Steps’s proprietors, Peter and Sue, who have been running the business for over 20 years,  making them probably the most experienced people in this business in the entire area.

We were to stay in an authentic country ‘town house’ in the village, left to our own devices but with meals provided by friendly bars/restaurants in the village square and guided during the day by Peter or his son Andy.

The holiday started with an early morning flight from Leeds Bradford on a typical cold, wet and windy morning. The contrast with southern Spain, less than three hours later, couldn’t have been more marked. Blue skies and a light, warm breeze welcomed us to the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. We’d arranged to travel a day early so as to have an afternoon and evening in Málaga, so instead of the usual airport transfer we headed across the concourse to the modern railway station.

The automatic machine was a bit of a challenge but nine of us got our tickets from the airport to Málaga Centro-Almeida station at the bargain price of €1.55. John somehow got at cross-purposes with the Spanish instructions and ended up with two tickets to Sobra-somewhere at €8.00 each. I managed to find out how he could get a refund but it was so complicated, and would probably have taken so long, that poor John decided just to write the cost down to experience.

When we arrived in the city centre we found our budget hotel in quick time, then parked our bags (while we waited for the rooms to be got ready) and went for something to eat, along the harbour front. James and John had spotted a place that hired Segways and after a bit of haggling about four of us (excluding me!) had about half an hour on them, with James threatening to kill some poor pedestrian in no time.

Val and I went to have a look around the Cathedral. The turrets on the right hand side look unfinished - apparently the local population left them that way and sent the money they saved to help the residents of Galveston, Texas, buy their town, but whether or not that's true, I can't say.  It's pretty impressive inside though.

Ian had booked a table for 11 in Málaga’s wonderful old town, full of character and not far from where we were staying, but on the way we called at a traditional bar where the wine was served in small straight glasses straight from the barrel and the tab was chalked up on the bar with real chalk. At €1.05 for a glass it wasn’t the best wine in the world but it was great fun!

We had a great variety of tapas at the restaurant before making our way back to the Hotel Sur for a well-deserved night’s sleep. In the morning we’d have time for a bit more exploring before being picked up by minibus and taken the hour’s drive to Cómpeta. More next time...

...BUT - before I go, can I just point out that this blog now had ADVERTS! Please don't just ignore them, because the more click-throughs I get, the more money I make to send to the Rosemere Cancer Foundation - so would you be kind enough to check out the adverts AND share this blog with your friends? Thank you!

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