A year after her aborted walk around the Island, Karen Penny returned in style on Tuesday via the 1925 Fastnet winner, Jolie Brise.
Karen’s walk is part of her 12,000-mile marathon circumnavigating the British and Irish coastline and its islands to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. But having arrived at the end of October, she had to return home to Wales because of the lockdown just a day later and put all plans on hold.
Now she is back on the Island, staying in a variety of accommodation including a gazebo, an empty flat and on farmland where she will pitch her tent. Karen stayed overnight in a garden in Bembridge on Tuesday before restarting her walk on Wednesday.
The Jolie Brise is skippered by Toby Marris and was bought in 2003 by Dauntsey’s School in Wiltshire. She has the capacity to carry up to 12 students for local and international cruising and racing trips.
Speaking before starting off on Wednesday, Karen said: “The journey started smoothly, but then the water became choppy and they put the sail up. It really was a case of all hands on deck and I was sent up into the crow’s nest – I don’t think they took my age into account. I’ve only just got my legs back in time for the walk!
“It’s great to be back on the Island and I have had a fantastic reception already. People have been so welcoming. I stayed in a back garden in Bembridge last night in my tent and I had tea brought to me on the lawn this morning!
“I’m so looking forward to continuing my walk; the weather is perfect walking weather and the coastline of the Island is so varied. I’ve had great help from David Howarth, Chairman of the IW Ramblers, who met me off the yacht and will be accompanying me part of the way.
“I’m also hoping to meet the Lord-Lieutenant, Susie Sheldon, next week as well as lots of other people on my adventure.”
Karen set off on her 20,000km route in 2019, from the Gower, in South Wales, choosing Alzheimer’s Research UK in memory of her husband’s parents.
She is hoping to become the first woman to complete the course, walking clockwise around the coast – a challenge that is expected to take close to four years after missing the last few months because of the lockdown.
Karen has already raised £78,000 and people can donate via her JustGiving page and Facebook page entitled: ‘The Penny Rolls on Walking the Coast of Britain and Ireland.’
Where you can see Karen walking over the weekend: Today (Friday): Ventnor to Chale; tomorrow: Chale to Freshwater; Sunday: Freshwater to Yarmouth; Monday: Yarmouth to Wootton; Tuesday: Wootton to Bembridge (return to Lymington).