Mersey to Med 2017
A Journey of self-discovery
On November 27th 2016 Baby Elsie passed away at exactly a month old.
Elsie was born with a rare and as yet unknown disease that meant she could not move her body or limbs.
Despite the hard work and dedication of the consultants and nurses at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital Elsie’s complications from her condition meant that there was nothing more that could be done for her and treatment was stopped.
Her parents wish to make a legacy in her name and this is how they intend to do so…
Mersey to Med…
A one thousand mile journey by Horse and wagon.
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Over the years Phill and Emily have travelled all over the world by conventional means, maybe it’s time for a change? To fundraise to their full potential it would make some sense to do something with their specialised skills and abilities.
Phill is a Master wheelwright and has built all manner of horsedrawn vehicles so has no problem getting his head around any vehicle issues.
Emily is a qualified veterinary surgeon and despite not specialising in horses can tackle a lot of potential horse health related issues.
“Sometimes it’s not the destination that’s important but the journey, slowing down the pace in this modern quick fix society might be the change that helps us out of these dark, sad days” Phill.
From Wheelwright’s shop in Lancashire to the Mediterranean coast of France via some important detours is approximately one thousand miles.
The Journey would take them past many landmarks that represent their story and their history. Using their skills and determination to help others along the way, raising funds, learning, teaching and having an adventure.
The route through England and France takes in some of the most stunning and breath-taking scenery in Europe. Navigating the backroads over hill and vale may make the journey longer but would be worth every mile. The latter sections of the journey through France follows the river Rhone and much of the journey presents the opportunity to ride the horses into rivers and lakes for a swim and a cool down after a hard day’s travel.
The ideal window of opportunity is summer 2017, mid July, August, September and beginning of October. This would fit in with the best weather and it is the only time Emily and Phill would be available to undertake the journey.
Given that the summer season should be warm it would make sense to use a lightweight vehicle based upon an American style shepherd’s wagon. These vehicles are capable of being pulled by a single horse under most road conditions and are big enough to carry all the wares needed for day to day living/survival.
The vehicle would be built at Phill’s Wheelwright’s shop based upon basic continental, British and American styles of construction.
The horses would have to be sourced and potentially trained to pull the wagon. For the style of vehicle and the conditions expected it would be a good idea to take a pair of gypsy style coloured cobs. Cobs are hardy, great workers and look great pulling a wagon. They also tend to have a good temperament and a character that makes them loveable. The general rule would be to drive with one horse and alternate them daily to maintain their condition and reduce the workload on each individual.
The aim would be to travel light and to improvise where possible. Much of the journey will be on back routes away from civilisation so cooking with the bare essentials might become very necessary.
The Wagon would double up as a mobile home. Inside the wagon will be a fold out bed for some comfort.
Phill is a time served master Wheelwright from Lancashire. He is the fourth generation of his family to make wooden wheels and is very proud of his history. Renowned for his practical skills and abilities in difficult situations Phill has travelled and performed research all over the world earning himself the position of Yeoman of the Worshipful company of Wheelwrights and has been welcomed as a fellow of the Winston Churchill memorial trust.
Phill’s other hobbies include Historic and vintage vehicles (military and emergency vehicles), historical re enactment, dirt biking, horse riding, walking, travelling, shooting and camping.
Emily is a qualified veterinary surgeon BVSc MRCVS, working in a local surgery treating small animals. Emily qualified from the University of Liverpool in 2014 and has been at Phill’s side for nearly 10 years enduring his journeys and adventures in good humour. Emily has practical experience from working alongside her husband and was runner up artisan apprentice of the year in 2009.
Emily’s other hobbies include knitting and crochet, reading, walking, camping, dirt biking, horse riding, history, dog training and cooking.
Aaron is Phill’s 13 year old son. He has Phill’s thirst for adventure and loves to help others. He likes challenges such as climbing Snowdon and Scaffell Pike. His hobbies include camping, walking, quad biking, computer games and drumming.
Pann and Pepper are the family dogs, Border collies, that get to go on many adventures all over the UK. Pann is a rescue dog, she had a lot of issues at 1st but is now a loving, entertaining and happy collie. Pepper has been with the family since he was a puppy. He’s so laid back he is usually horizontal. These two dogs love to travel and to entertain with their tricks. Pepper’s hobbies include eating, long walks and fetch. Pann struggles with fetch as she would rather run around barking. Pann loves to run and bark… a lot.
The Horses: As yet unknown… we are working on locating two good horses for the project….
We have one potential candidate in Sally, a pretty little cob mare… fingers crossed she has what it takes!
Watch this space!