I've been enjoying long-distance
walking in Europe since the mid-1990s. Most of my trips have
been in Britain England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
I've also walked long-distance paths in Italy, France, Switzerland,
and in the United States.
At left, you'll find links to
accounts and photographs detailing four of the paths that I've
walked in Britain. Perhaps someday I'll get around to putting
up accounts of the others.
If you enjoy hiking, there's
no better way to see a foreign country than to walk through it.
These step-by-step encounters with the land and people provide
a perspective that's missing from riding in high-speed trains
or touring by automobile.
Britain is particularly blessed
with hundreds of walking paths, some of them designated as National
Trails. These allow walkers rights-of-way across private land,
many of which date back centuries to a time when drovers had
to have access to bring animals to market. These paths climb
to the high places and follow river valleys from town to town.
Accommodation is easily found, and there's a warm pub waiting
at the end of the day.
Best of all, walking forces the
traveler to adopt a slow and steady pace, and often leads to
close encounters with natives ... inn-keepers, farmers, other
walkers ... and many of them are looking for an excuse to rest
for a bit and talk. On the more popular trails, such as Wainwright's
Coast to Coast Path, you'll keep company with other walkers.
On that path alone, I've gotten to know many Brits, and also
visitors from New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and
all over Europe.
Parts of some of these trails
go through wild places that many people would not expect to find
in Britain. But wild places there are, from desolate moors to
high mountain paths. One such lonely stretch is on the northern
part of Offa's Dyke Path, from Llangollen past the 13th century
ruins of Castel Dinas Bran and on through the aptly named World's
Now there's a walk that will
take you back back to the Iron Age.