November 3, 2013
Cricket legend Ian Botham rode to the start line on a cow-drawn carriage and then fed an elephant its breakfast of bananas, melon and what looked to be cheese baps.
No day on Beefy's Big Sri Lanka Walk is ever expected to be "normal", but this really was an odd start.
Nevertheless, this third day of the Beefy Walk, being the shortest in distance, was hoped to be a relaxing one as it passed by the mesmerising surroundings of Sri Lanka's Sigiriya Rock. But even if the distance of 20km was no problem for Beefy, the heat was another matter.
Talking to Laureus after arriving at Dambulla Cricket Ground, Beefy said: "I actually think the last hour and a half was the hottest we've had so far on the walk, but we'll have to see when I speak to others on the bus.
"And after Mahela (Jayawardene) and Kumar (Sangakkara) the first two days, it was great to have the local minister joining today, only elected three weeks ago. He was great company."
The walk passed though some of Sri Lanka's most stunning natural scenery. Mountains hundreds of feet high and rock structures boasting ornate religious monuments flanked Botham and his fellow walkers on either side of the road today.
With such beauty on offer, it is no doubt the cricket legend was reminded of his passion for the country and, of course, its people.
He said: "We're here to try and help, to rebuild a community in the north as we have already with Laureus in the south. Whether it's IT skills in the classroom or cricket on the playing field, we want to give young people the opportunities they need. We are not interested in politics, this isn't political. We just want to help."