Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summary For New Readers Of The Blog

Welcome to all new readers of the blog, of which there are many in the past few days, Especially those joining me from the AngloInfo websites in France, Spain, Italy and Cyprus. A special “hello” also to members of my old club Altrincham and District Athletics Club.

Reading the Blog. With so many new readers, not all having the time to read the whole blog from its beginning last August – for those who don’t know, in a blog the most recent entry appears at the top of the page – I think it may be necessary to summarise progress to date.

Food. The basic objective of the walk is given in the header above. I am doing the walk alone. My wife Gay would like to accompany me on foot but there are insuperable problems, mainly connected with our diet. We are vegetarians. Unless we want to carry mountains of equipment and food, this means that, walking together, we would have to stay in hotels or hostel-type accommodation and eat food cooked by others in restaurants. As the concept of eating a meal without meat or fish is virtually unkown in France, we would either starve or eat 70 omelettes.

Transport and Accommodation. Therefore we have decided to buy a motor caravan, which Gay will drive while I walk, so that we have our accommodation and cooking facilities with us. The current plan is to sell the van after the walk. We anticipate that what we lose will not exceed what we would otherwise have spent on accommodation and food.

Corporate Sponsorship. There was much discussion in earlier pages about whether I should seek corporate sponsorship to cover the cost of the journey. For instance, whether to ask a motor caravan maker to lend us a van in return for it carrying logos and adverts for his own services. I decided against this because I would feel too obliged – I would feel I was then doing the walk for others and, especially if injury or illness prevents me from completing the walk, that I had let them down.

Raising money for Charity. There have been many suggestions that I should raise money for charity as I walk. I am inclined to do so, but am a bit chary because I would still feel the same sort of obligation as above.

Route. Although France has an incredible network of long distance paths, I will not be using them because they wander about too much and I would not be able to complete the walk in the symbolic 70 days. I will be walking on (quiet) roads from the Pyrenees to Caen/Ouistreham. I will be publishing more details of the route in the near future in the hope of blog readers advising me about off-road routes which are parallel but (clearly) safer. In England, with help I have already refined the route. From Portsmouth to Oxford I will be on long-distance off-road footpaths. From Oxford for most of the rest of the way, on canal paths.

Company. I have had many offers of company along the way – people joining me for sections, even one or two offers of joining me for the whole walk. I am very happy to have company on sections, but I will generally be setting off for a section at 7 in the morning, will not wait for people who are not at the start point at that time, will usually walk for 30 kms non-stop (about 5 hours). For those offering to do the whole walk with me - sadly, I can not envisage wanting to spend 70 days with anybody except my wife. And that is before we get to the problems of accommodation and food.

Book of the Walk. I shall be writing a book about the build-up and the walk itself. Suggestions for a title will be welcomed. One is “Walking Back. Through 70 years in 70 days”.

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