Beefy's Big Sri Lanka Walk: Sir Ian Botham ends day seven on the beach
Beefy takes a dip in the Indian Ocean, as two of his crew members get engaged
By Oli Burley - @SkySportsOli
Last Updated: 07/11/13 1:36pm
As he relaxes in the Indian Ocean after leg seven, a nine-mile walk from Matara to the picturesque Weligama Bay, the former all-rounder takes satisfaction in a good job almost done.
With 111 miles completed, just 14 remain - a distance that stands between Botham and Seenigama, where the 'Sport for Life' project set up by Laureus and the Foundation for Goodness following the Tsunami Disaster of 2004 is flourishing.
Botham's aim is to help recreate that project's positive impact in Mankulum, an area in the north of the country torn apart by civil war, and he feels big strides have already been taken to achieving that goal.
"The vision has always been to build a village up in the north to replicate the success we've seen in Seenigama and we're going to do it," said the Sky Cricket commentator.
"The walk has highlighted what we're trying to achieve - the awareness is out there - and there's a real buzz when we walk through the towns now and it's great to see the school kids out in numbers.
"I think we are well on the way to achieving what we came here to do and after seven hard days I think we're all looking forward to tomorrow. This is the big one!
"It will be a magnificent moment when we arrive in Seenigama because a lot of people won't have seen what we've done there.
"When they do I'm sure they will be very pleasantly surprised and it will bring home to them exactly what they've been walking for."
After six arduous days on the road in high humidity and temperatures that have approached 40 degrees, Botham slowed his favoured 5mph walking pace to nearer 4mph on day seven to give his blister-burdened fellow walkers a better chance of completing the walk.
A slight alteration to the route also knocked three miles off the original 12-mile total and meant that the walk finished on the beach rather than the plush Fortress Resort and Spa, where the night before two of Botham's crew members, Nick and Donna, had got engaged.
"All the walkers have deserved a lighter day because they've been brilliant," said Botham. "But particularly Nick and Donna! Mind you it was still nine miles and in this heat that's no easy thing.
"But we've done the hard stuff now. There are a lot of guys here who have walked with me every step of the way and I want them to finish the walk and enjoy it.
"Thanks to their efforts and all of the support that we've had we're going to do it; we're going to build a village built up in the north."
You can follow Botham's progress on Sky Sports News, online with skysports.com and on your iPad. To donate to Beefy's fund-raising effort simply visit www.justgiving.com/BeefysSriLankaWalk