Did I ever tell you about the time I went walking in St. Ives with walking Queen, Julia ‘Bradders’ Bradbury?
Then buckle your belts for this short novella/blog is dedicated to Bradders herself, and tells the story of when I spent an entire day walking and filming in my beloved Cornwall, with Julia flipping Bradbury...
Monday 16 October 2017 - it was a typical morning at work, nothing much was happening, I was checking emails and daydreaming out the window. Then I noticed my phone flashing and a notification popped up, ‘Julia Bradbury has sent you a direct message.’ Now, those of you who know me will understand my excitable reaction to the fact Julia had messaged me. I squealed, jumped out of my seat and waited a few moments before opening it. I didn’t want to seem too quick off the mark in replying, I wanted to seem a little cool (yeah right!) So, I waited a whole 30 seconds before reading the most fantastic message from Bradders herself.
Before I go into details, let me explain a little more about Bradders and me. I have followed Julia’s work and adored her from afar for years. About 13 years to be exact! For as long as I can remember, Julia has been a consistent part of my life – she is a huge part of the reason why I started Cornish Ramblings and has been a force behind most of the decisions I’ve made over the years. Julia unknowingly (well, she knows now because I’ve told her more than once) helped pull me from the rubble all those years ago when I was in a bit of a dark place, and with her guidance and good advice, positive posts and honest words, her passion and vigour for life and appreciation of the littlest of things, I have had the courage and ability to grow out of that insecure and sad girl and into the more stable, positive and driven woman I am today. I still have my dark days, as does Bradders, as does anyone who can suffer a little with their mental wellbeing now and then. But with the occasional nudge from Julia and a reminder there will be sunshine after the rain, I've turned my life around. As well as Julia, I also have my family, close friends and wonderful partner Hannah to thank for being such an integral and significant part of my life.
A few years ago, I finally met Julia at an event in London. After 10 years of watching her on the telly and getting the occasional reply to my Tweet from her on Twitter, there she was, in all her glory sat only a couple of metres away from me. We’d interacted a little on social media and she knew I was going to be there at the event. But what I didn’t expect was to be recognised by her amongst the audience and then enveloped into a massive hug. She felt like an old friend and put my skittering nerves at ease with just a smile. Fast forward to now and not only have I spent many occasions with Julia, her sister Gina and some of the lovely people from The Outdoor Guide, mainly Holly their wonderful Content Manager. But I now blog occasionally for The Outdoor Guide and am in regular contact with Bradders who continues to advise me, listen to my ramblings of what I’ve been up to, put me at ease if I’m having a slight breakdown and occasionally sends me a message to check in and see what I’m up to.
Now, without being too smug about it, since our first meeting in London back in 2015, Julia and I have exchanged many messages so seeing her name pop up on my iPhone screen (not an ad!) back in 2017 shouldn’t have made me too giddy. But I still get that excitable ‘Julia Bradbury just messaged me’ feeling no matter how many times I hear from her. And this day was no exception. Except the huge difference being this message would tick another item off my Bradders Bucket List; to go for a walk with Julia Bradbury in Cornwall.
Never in a million years did I think I’d meet Julia, let alone go for a walk with her. But on Tuesday 17 October 2017, I woke up with the same feeling I get when waking on Christmas morning. Having received the message the day before that Julia was heading to Cornwall to do some filming for a new tv show, and that I was invited to join them, I hastily booked the day off and got through the rest of the day at work on adrenaline and repeatedly looking at the messages she’d sent. That evening I spent about an hour or three deciding what leggings, coat and walking boots to wear before heading out for a late-night loop of Truro to try and release some of the adrenaline that was hindering me from sleeping!
9am the following morning I made my way to St. Ives where I would be meeting Julia and the film crew. You may have seen it on ITV, the programme we were spending the day filming part of was called Britain’s 100 Favourite Walks where Julia and Ore Oduba took us through a countdown of Britain’s 100 finest rambles and ambles – did you see it?