Friend of the blog Anthony Riches (author of Empire: Wounds of Honour and the soon to be released Empire: Arrows of Fury) has let us know about a charity walk that he's doing and we're hoping our readers will support his generous spirit. For the full story in Anthony's own words please read on...
"A few months ago, over lunch with Robin Wade (my agent), and more than comfortably replete with food and booze, I mentioned an idea that had been forming in my head, to go for a walk along Hadrian's Wall in full Roman military kit and thereby raise some money for charity. Robin, being a keen type, promptly called my bluff by offering to join in, and so the idea was plucked from obscurity to become reality. It's not a new idea, of course, lots of people have done the same route in bigger and better ways, and the various re-enactment groups that recreate the Roman army have been at it for years. If not original, Robin and I are certainly keen to do it right, and we've both shelled out to purchase the full kit that would have been worn by Roman auxiliary infantryman at the time of 'Wounds of Honour'. This list of equipment looks like this:
Clothes: Roman hobnailed boots, leggings, leg wrappings, tunic, belt, scarf, padded arming jacket to go under the mail, and a cloak to keep the rain out.
Armour: Mail shirt, helmet, manica (a metal sleeve worn on the sword arm), greaves and shield.
Weapons: Spear, spatha (long sword) and pugio (dagger)
Miscellaneous items: Food bowl, knife, spoon, water bottle, soldier's loculus (leather satchel)
It all weighs quite a lot, so I'm already in training for the sorts of distances we're looking at doing on a daily basis, and I'm also lifting weights when not deciding to doss about being lazy instead. We'll post some photos of the kit (and possibly of us staggering about under its weight) once we're feeling brave enough. I'll be undertaking a series of walks around Hertfordshire in full kit for acclimatisation once the weather improves in 2010, so if you meet me out walking please try not to laugh too loudly.
Friends, associates and casual bystanders are all warmly invited to donate some cash in support of our chosen charity, Help for Heroes (www.helpforheroes.org.uk). This charity operates in support of the servicemen and women, who, having accepted on our behalf a risk greater than most of us will ever take, now need more support than our elected representatives feel able to provide. Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure - just go to www.justgiving.com/Anthony-Riches). Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it's the most efficient way to donate - we raise more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
So please dig deep and donate now. Thank you. "