Walking across hot coals was easy compared to living with a CSF Leak for Polly

On the evening of Tuesday 28th February, I caught the train into London and made my way to the Southbank where we were meeting for a briefing prior to the big event.

Scott Bell, from UK Fire Walk and world record holder for fire walking, talked us through what to expect and the main dos and don’ts. He was an engaging and interesting speaker and most importantly, was incredibly reassuring about this crazy thing that we were about to embark on!

The main points that were most essential to our safety were to walk briskly without running, no stopping on the coals for photos! Not to turn on the coals and to ensure we wiped our feet thoroughly on the wet grass once exiting he coals. And if we so desired, we could chant ‘cool wet grass cool wet grass’ or ‘damp moss damp moss’ as we walked the coals but the mind over matter approach wasn’t essential…

We headed outside into a bitterly cold February evening to an area of grass by the river Thames. The air was thick with smoke, the flames roared, the coals were being raked and a good sized crowd had already gathered. As I removed my shoes and socks off and stood nervously in line on the cold grass, I watched on as other fundraisers walked the coals…

Before I knew it, I was at the front of the queue, everyone was cheering and I was asked to step forward and start my walk… firstly across the wet grass, moving onto the glowing coals. As I stepped across the crunchy coals I braced myself for the pain, one step, two steps, three….six, seven, eight…before I knew it I was exiting the coals and wiping my feet on the cool, muddy grass. I had a few ‘hot spots’ on my feet which I could only compare to the feeling you might get when walking across really hot sand, but otherwise I was unhurt and feeling quite exhilarated! So much so, that I went on to walk the coals again!

Fire walking was never an activity I would have considered prior to suffering a CSF leak. I have participated in lots of fundraising activities in the past that have always been very physical – long distance walks and runs, abseiling etc. I was mindful that this time two years ago, merely getting myself out of the house and to the railway station would have been an impossible feat, let alone travelling into and across London, to sit for the hour long briefing, to stand in line and walk the coals and then make my way home again. Even though my physical activities are restricted by my leak, I am still in an extremely fortunate position to be functional and able to consider participating in an activity such as this in order to fundraise for the association and to raise awareness of CSF Leaks.

My sponsorship page is open for another couple of months and any donation is very gratefully received:


A wristband that says "Authorized walker" and "ukfirewalk.com".

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