A FORMER chef from Winsford who ‘found herself’ through hiking is planning a 100-mile dog walk through Cheshire.

Sammie Kerford, along with four-year-old Pocket Bully, Styx, plans to tackle the entire Cheshire Circuit non-stop, starting on May 4, which she says will take a week if she covers 15 miles a day.

They’ll be staying at campsites along the route where she’ll sleep in her van, which her parents have kindly agreed to move to her new overnight location each day.

The 33-year-old volunteers at Barnardo’s charity shop in Winsford, so decided to use her walk as a fundraiser for the charity which protects, supports, and cares for some of the UK’s most vulnerable children.

Northwich Guardian: Sammie says the heaviest thing she'll have to carry is water for StyxSammie says the heaviest thing she'll have to carry is water for Styx (Image: Sammie Kerford)

Sammie said: “I’ve wanted to do a proper long-distance hike for as long as can remember, but I really needed a reason. It’s a big undertaking.  

“I got back into hiking properly a year ago and it’s done wonders for my mental and physical health.

“I was a chef for more than a decade, which is a really stressful job. It really took it out of me, and my body and mind were very tired.

Northwich Guardian: Sammie and Styx are keen van campersSammie and Styx are keen van campers (Image: Sammie Kerford)

“I took myself out of the industry and found myself through hiking. It turns out what I really want to do is give something back, so I’m to start by fundraising.

“Hiking has given so much to me, I want to use it to help me give back to others. The money raised will be going to support vulnerable children, both in and after care.

“My map reading has improved a lot over the last year, thank God.

Northwich Guardian: The Cheshire Circuit starts at Frodsham and takes in Delamere Forest, Northwich, Winsford, and the River WeaverThe Cheshire Circuit starts at Frodsham and takes in Delamere Forest, Northwich, Winsford, and the River Weaver (Image: Sammie Kerford)

“Styx is going to love it. She’s a massive ball of energy, though she’s got a very minor heart murmur. I’ve spoken to the vet, and he reckons it’ll help improve her cardiovascular fitness and benefit her health overall.

“We’ve been working up to the full distance, and now she’s a lot fitter than me.”

Sammie and Styx love their van camping and often venture to Snowdonia, the Peak District, and Cornwall in search of outdoor peace and tranquillity.

Northwich Guardian: Styx looking noble at the seasideStyx looking noble at the seaside (Image: Sammie Kerford)

They’ve set themselves a £1,000 target for their Cheshire Circuit fundraising walk, and they’re already more than halfway there. You can help by following the link. 

Sammie and Styx will also be appearing on Northwich Radio at the end of March, which they hope will give their fundraising a boost.

Sammie’s boss at Barnardo’s Winsford, store manager Linda Capper, said: “I was truly amazed at Sammie’s enthusiasm to help us raise much needed funds.

“I first met her in the interview for a volunteer role in Winsford Barnardo’s and that’s where she said she wanted to do fundraising alongside volunteering.

“We discussed what she would like to do and she already had the idea of the hike with her little dog, so when she started her volunteer role we got to work on the idea. She’s such a can-do person.

“On behalf of Barnardo’s, we hope she can raise her target and more for a great cause.

“Please dig deep!”

Sammie added: “I’d like to thank the Bickerton Poacher, Stonehouse Farmhouse B&B, Sunnyside Touring Park, and the Aqueduct Marina, for all agreeing to let us camp at their places free of charge.”