No one can accuse Catherine Tyldesley of taking things easy. On top of her hectic Coronation Street schedule and raising her 10 month old son, Alfie, she now has something else to occupy her time. Just as temperatures are plummeting and most of us want to curl up indoors, she’s about to start training for a gruelling 50km hike across the Brecon Beacons in Wales.
It’s the last thing you’d expect her Corrie character, Eva Price, to do – she’d most likely fill up her rucksack with lipgloss and hairspray – but Catherine, 32, is looking forward to the challenge, especially as she’ll be joined by some familiar faces.
She’s part of a team that includes fiance Tom Pitfield and fellow Corrie stars Tisha Merry and Katie McGlynn, better known as Steph Britton and Sinead Tinker. She tells TV Times it will be no walk in the park.
Catherine, you’re swapping Eva’s high heels for hiking boots to raise money for Parkinson’s UK and the Joshua Wilson Brain Tumour Charity, on 4 June. How are you preparing for the challenge?
“I’m very much into my fitness, but I usually do high intensity stuff in short intervals, so for me this is an entirely different kind of training. I’ve spoken to a couple of people who have done it in the past, including a friend who used to be in the army. He knows the Beacons well, and says that I’m going have to train hard. If he says it’s difficult, then it’s difficult!
“Me and Tom love going on walks with Alfie, but normally we’ll just go for an hour or two, whereas now, we’ll have to really build ourselves up. So we’ll probably head over to the Lake District or the Peak District.”
What are you most nervous about?
“I’m quite outdoorsy and I don’t mind having no make up on. What does make me nervous – and no one has given me an answer to this yet – is what’s going to happen when I need a tinkle, because there aren’t that many bushes!”
This isn’t the first time you’ve braved the elements to raise money for good causes is it?
“In 2014, I took part in The Great Swim, Europe’s biggest open water swimming series, and notched up several miles in chilly Lake Windermere.”
So that, and your hike across the Beacons, are the kind of events you’d probably never dreamed of doing in your mid-teens then?
“Back then, I was overweight and went up to a size 22. But around the age of 18, I shed around four and a half stones, and since then have made it my mission to keep active and stay in shape.
“I need the energy, and if I don’t train, I feel lethargic. I’ve got a son to run around after, so I want to be on this earth for as long as possible. And my job is really intense – if one of us is ill at Corrie, then the schedule goes to pieces. It’s not about weight loss for me now, it’s about being as healthy as I can be.”
You’ve also recently started a nutrition course.
“The programme has been put together by medicinal chef Dale Pinnock, who has been seen whipping up his flu-fighting soup, amongst other dishes, on ITV’s This Morning. It’s amazing to think that food can prevent certain ailments or disease. I watched This Morning not that long ago, and there was a three-year-old girl on who had been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. That was nothing to do with genetics and was purely down to her diet.”
Would you like to be nutritionist?
“No, I just want my family to be as healthy as they can be. It’s a home study course which is great for me, as I’m insanely busy and can take as long as I want.”
You have an ‘insanely busy’ schedule, including a new Corrie storyline that kicks off next week. Tells us a bit about that.
“When Catherine’s alter-ego, Eva, finds a Polish teenager hiding out at the Underworld factory. It turns out that the frightened girl, called Marta, is working as an unpaid slave for a wealthy couple, and the story is set to have ramifications for Eva’s job.”
Eva has a new love interest in factory boss, Aidan, played by Shayne Ward, so could you be filming a Corrie wedding in the not-so-distant future?
“I’d be so thrilled! Fingers crossed Miss Price will become Mrs Connor. I’d love a wedding; that would be brilliant! I think it would be a cross between My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Cheshire Housewives!”
If the Brecon Beacons walk goes to plan, would you like to follow it up with another big challenge?
“I love challenging myself. I think it’s good to do something each year that scares you a little bit – you know, feel the fear and do it anyway.
“I’m a terrible runner so I wouldn’t do a marathon, but perhaps I’ll do some more swimming or maybe go further afield. There are lots of treks you can do, like across the Sahara. That would be quite cool…”
Click here to sponsor Catherine and the team on their Brecon Beacons hike.