Rachael steps out for charity challenge

Rachael Cowburn on her charity walk
Rachael Cowburn on her charity walk

A woman is counting her blisters after completing a mammoth 800km trek in aid of charity.

Rachael Cowburn, from Nateby near Garstang, completed the famous Camino de Santiago Walk; a major pilgrimage route from France to the outskirts of Portugal in a bid to raise funds for charity, Heartbeat, that provides cardiac rehabilitation programmes, education and support to local people.

Rachael, 29, said: “I had a heart operation ten years ago and the charity is very close to my heart as it were.

“Doing the walk was really good, but such hard work.”

Rachael, who spent two years working in New Zealand and has recently returned from working in Germany, started the trek with friend, Janine, but after her friend gave up half way through the challenge, she carried on alone.

She said: “It took me about a month to complete the walk and it took a lot of guts and determination.

“As I reached the end I was in so much pain I just wanted to lay down and close my eyes.”

The Way of St. James or St. James’ Way (El Camino de Santiago) is the pilgrimage route to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in North Western Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried.

A film was released in 2010, named The Way’, starring Martin Sheen as a father who learns that his son, played by Emilio Estevez, has died on the route and takes up the pilgrimage in order to complete it for his son.

Rachael walked the equivalent of a marathon a day and on the final leg started walking at 5.30am, intending to stop 20 km short and continue the following day.

However, she powered on and walked 56 km to complete the task.

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/Rachael-Cowburn1.