Last June, my brother, Robert, his two friends, Euan and James, and myself set out from the Scottish parliament at Holyrood hoping to reach Westminster by foot in a month.
Robert had done the research, mapping and booking of hostels and campsites. We carried packs weighing about eighteen kilograms each and I took my camera along for special moments.
I had wanted to walk to London for a while; it was something of a challenge in my mind. My motivations and reasons were few, vague and typical to me. I ultimately wanted to push myself, see where my limits lay - how far could I walk day after day? What would it be like to embark on a walk that hasn't been popular since Sir Walter Scott? I was also interested in my own country; I've been fortunate enough to travel around the world, learning about various cultures and seeing vastly foreign scenes, but I felt as if I had neglected my home. I had no practical experience of striking out alone in the English countryside, relying only on my initiative and the help of locals to find a way South.
Robert also had the idea of doing the walk for charity, and so we did it in aid of 500 Miles, who provide amputations and prosthetic limbs for people in various African countries.
My companions for the walk were varied; Robert is a health fanatic, Euan is a socio-political activist and James is a comedian. I had preconceptions of strolling along pleasant country lanes, picking berries along the way and stopping at quaint pubs for food. This turned out to rarely be true, and when it was the rain and hail were there to dampen our spirits. Never for too long, however, as we were determined to make the walk come Hell or high-water.
What follows is a serialized version of the walk, adapted from the journal I took along the way.