The walk started well, with the Vanguard heading from Blaise and linking up with the main body of walkers coming down off Dundry Hill.
Sky Larks were playing over the heads of the wheat fields, and spirits were high. . .
. . .although after a while the Gaveller was starting to look pensive, perhaps due to his weather sense kicking in. . .
. . . and then, it came. . .
Of course the benefit of a day that saw wind and stillness, rain and bright sunshine, thick black clouds, and clear blue sky (and an occasion that is supporting the vision of Kyabjé Kunzang Dorje Rinpoche), is that a rainbow was inevitable.
The final leg is where 'Uncle Mirek' nearly came unstuck, and started at the Compton Inn. Here the advance party of Drowang, Thrinlé, Shé-zér, 'ö-Dzin, Mirek, Isa, and A-gyür were joined by Namgyal, Libby and the four children (Raechel, Tom, Milan and Jana) for the final 3.7 mile section - all seen on their way by Khandro Déchen, for whom a knee injury had alas sidelined her from being able to take direct part in the walk itself.
It turned out that following weeks of heavy rain, and a downpour during the penultimate section of the walk, the final leg had somewhat treacherous footing. Fortunately however the six inch deep mud cushioned the various impacts that happening during the home stretch.
Two of the team of walkers did take major tumbles during the 22.5 mile 'Moon-wise' secton of the Green Man course, which follows the Bristol Community Forest Path around the City. A-gyür took the first dip in the murk, shortly followed by Isabelle. Despite this, fortunately 'Uncle Mirek' survived his nasty brush with death (aka a mud-soaked Isa) without a scratch upon him.
Various records were set during the walk (albeit none of them relating to the pace of travel), including most biten by horseflies (Thinlé - 5) most times having a shoe sucked off her feet (Jana - 3), most times teased about not wanting to get even a spot of mud on him, whilst his wife was virtually swimming through the murk & mire (Mirek - 547) and most times staring down a charging Bullock that seemed intent on attacking the walkers from behind (again Mirek - 1). Also Drowang (The Gaveller of the Honorable Order of Woodwoses) has officially declared that this was the muddiest excursion ever for a Green Man event.
All who participated enjoyed the event immensely, and are thinking of walking the other half of the 45 mile route next year. Well, nearly all. . .
. . . and in addition to the mud, they are all now proudly sporting a Drala Jong Appeal wristband (send £2 + £1 P&P to firstname.lastname@example.org for yours. . .)
Having been introduced by Drowang, run by Rin'dzin (the Mad-as-a-Snake Khandro) last year for Aro Ling, and now walked by sangha, friends and family this year, the Green Man (now renamed by those who walked it the 'Green Man, Brown Woman' walk looks set to be a sangha fixture
With about half the donations for the event declared, we're delighted to advise that so far £488 has been pledged to the appeal.
If you still want to make a contribution you are of course most welcome to do so, by sending a credit or debit card payment via paypal to email@example.com
My profound thanks to all who took part, Lama 'ö-Dzin who took the photos, all who came along to support, all who couldn't attend but have pledged their petrol money to the appeal, to those who donated, or who just wished they'd been there to see Mirek jump a full 12 feet in the air when Isa approached him covered in mud.
Here's to brilliant blue skies, and the swift establishment of the Drala Jong Retreat Centre, and the enactment of Kyabjé Kunzang Dorje Rinpoche's vision.