Taking steps to make peace possible 

Cord’s Head of Operations, Katia Richardson, embarked on a very long sponsored walk to celebrate her 40th birthday and raise money for projects that are building peace around the world.

The Offa’s Dyke path 

“When I was thinking how to celebrate my 40th birthday, I thought that it’d be a great idea to do a really, really, long walk. And, I thought, what an excellent opportunity to fundraise for Cord at the same time. So, I walked the Offa’s Dyke path which follows the border between England and Wales, all 177 miles of it!” 

548,159 steps – once it had stopped raining 

Katia’s epic walk in January almost didn’t happen, as extensive areas of Wales were flooded. The River Wye had burst its banks which threw her plans in to doubt. However, on the morning of Saturday 14 January, a little later than she had planned, when the rain finally stopped, Katia took the first of her 548,159 steps! 

9,000 meters of ascent – higher than Everest 

Katia chose this walk because it was easily accessible for the friends and family taking turns to join her on the adventure. She was also familiar with the route’s latter sections, in Snowdonia, having spent lots of time there in her childhood. However, what she hadn’t appreciated was just how up and down the path would be. She clocked up over 9,000 meters of ascent – higher than Everest! 

Muddy hills, frozen hair 

Katia, her sister and her sister’s dog, struggled up and down muddy hills for the first few days before things became easier on the Black Mountains. A plateau stretched for miles providing spectacular views, including the Malvern Hills, clearly visible in the distance. After a couple of nights at home, Katia returned for some long snowy walks across misty moors with her friend Gemma. It was so cold that their hair froze. 

Relentless beauty 

“I was lucky enough to be joined by nine friends and family for sections of the walk. I turned 40 whilst walking through Powys. This was actually the hardest day and the only day I walked alone. With so many steep ups and downs, it felt insurmountable at times but as I was reminded by the only other person I saw that day…it was a day of relentless beauty.” 

Freezing nights, uplifting days 

Katia stayed in a variety of places but for half the walk braved the nights in her van. She woke up on more than one morning with a frozen water bottle and icy duvet. 

Some slow, tedious, muddy stages near Oswestry with her friend Alice, gave way to more uplifting days full of picturesque scenery. And then, almost before she knew it, Katia was in the familiar surroundings of north Wales and walking with her Mum. One memorable moment was having lunch in a very remote spot, on a perfectly still day. The almost complete silence was only interrupted by the occasional call of a Red Grouse. 

Paddling in the Irish sea 

Accompanied by her friend Mike, Katia completed the walk in Prestatyn, paddling into the freezing Irish sea. The view didn’t change on the final day with the sea in sight throughout. This meant that although it was the shortest distance, it felt painfully long. 

Small persistent steps for peace 

“Making peace possible involves taking small, persistent steps… which is what I did as I trod the undulating path from coast to coast. I loved walking with family and friends and I was delighted that so many others joined me in celebrating my birthday by donating to Cord and taking steps to make peace possible. Thank you!” 

Are you inspired? 

Katia’s brilliant Birthday walk raised an amazing £1,206.25. 

If you would like to find out more about getting sponsored to do something you love, taking on a challenge or doing something fun, visit our events page

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Cord’s vision is a world where all people can live life to the full, in peace.
Peace means hope and healing for victims in safe and stable societies.
Peace means freedom, and people reaching their potential.
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