Thursday, October 20, 2011

Anybody Seen Will Fricker?

Vic's Big Walk was conceived in 2008. My preparations and training started then. So did this blog. In November of that year I posted here about John Hillaby, a famous walker from days of yore.

In July 2010 I completed my walk. In October 2011 - in fact yesterday - a gentleman - a mere stripling of 59 called William Fricker put a comment on my blog, attached to the 2008 John Hillaby item, giving me the advice which is below in italics.

If anybody sees William Fricker, can you please tell him that my walk is over and done. I finished on my 70th birthday, last year. It is I, with the experience of walking 17.5 million steps during the whole project, who am now ready and willing to advise him about his projected walk. I would start by agreeing with him about not wearing boots but something sturdy but lighter. I would go on to point out that if he walks from Land's end to John o' Groats he will find himself tripping over many other people doing so, which may dent his sense of achievement. Much better to set himself a unique, personal target and to plough his own furrow. But to follow in other people's footsteps is of course better than to do nothing at all.

He could learn much by reading my book about Vic's Big Walk. If, reading this paragraph, he swivels his eyes to the right, he will see where he can find the book. All will be sweetly, he will learn from my mistakes; have, I am told, a good read; and he will be content in the knowledge that he will be doing good as he reads because all proceeds go direct to pancreatic cancer research.

This is what Will had to say:

I wish you good luck and strong feet. I am 59 and plan to walk next year from Land's End to the tip of Scotland, too, and to prove that life can be fun at 60! I managed a 3,500 trek 30 years ago to Greece, returning on two wheels via North Africa. I can tell you walking is much easier than cycling (with luggage). I suggest plenty of liquid, a plentiful supply of chocolate (it boosts your energy levels at low periods), a comfortable rucksack and knowledge on how to pack it, a walking stick and a dog (two necessary companions). I agree with Hillaby that a light tent is essential for it provides independence, and you can crawl into it when the weather is forbidding. As to footwear, I phoned Hillaby before I set out on my trek and woke him from his siesta (Grumpy)....I started it out with light boots but chucked them after a week (10 blisters per foot) and resorted to adidas leather trainers (3 pairs). You can skip and trot with light footwear. The secret is to be as light as possible and to remember that you will, at times, go mad, and that you will also meet a lot of bores, too. Bon viveur!

Will Fricker

The picture shows John Hillaby's famous book "Walking Through Britain

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