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In August 2015 I set off to Edale, Derbyshire, to walk the Pennine Way – an adventure I did not know whether I would be able to complete. As clichéd as it sounds, I really did relish the opportunity to be away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, at one with God’s awesome creation, and spending some time with God too.

Before setting off, I asked my Connect Group, family, and close friends for prayer that my recurring injuries would not be a problem. Oh, and that I would admit defeat and stop if I needed to, and not stubbornly continue, possibly causing myself injury or getting into danger!

I knew this was a physically tough challenge, and it certainly was. I battled with sometimes atrocious weather, exhaustion, and injuries old and new. It was also tough psychologically, and at times I faced fear, loneliness, low spirits, and even boredom. Plus, there were the navigational challenges, and accidents.

Throughout the journey I relied upon God and would often pray for healing. These were generally just minor aches, pains and twinges, but I was almost always released from that pain immediately. There then followed a ‘thank you’ prayer, and often a ‘now my … hurts…’ etc.! It was amazing to have such quick and positive response to prayer on such a regular basis.

As I was walking I saw some truly amazing and awe-inspiring scenery – God’s handiwork. I missed some good views due to mist (no pun intended!), while others I was unable to linger and fully absorb their beauty because it was just too cold or windy, or getting late in the day. Nevertheless some of these views were the highlights of the journey.

I was grateful that I could pray to God and trust in his protection, that he cared enough to heal even the smallest of my aches and pains, and for his perfectly timed provision of helpful, friendly, supportive and uplifting walking companions.

One of my favourite worship songs last summer was Oceans (Where feet may fail). I found if you changed the lyrics from ‘Oceans’ to ‘mountains’ (or something similar), it summed up my journey. The song became my anthem. I was also reading the second book of Psalms. Psalm 66, I felt, was very apt.

Since completing the Pennine Way I have done three long day-walks. On all three, I had problems with some, or all, of my recurring injuries. On one, the cumulative pain was so acute I was barely able to walk at times, and progress was so slow that darkness began to set in and I had to abandon the walk and ask a friend to rescue me and take me back to my car. I believe it was my own and others’ prayer, and by God’s protection and healing power, that I was able to walk for the sixteen continuous days of the Pennine Way with a heavy backpack and only have problems with one recurring injury on two of the days.

Heather Leighton

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