It’s not always easy to recall the specific day when one is inspired to do a particular thing but, in my case, it was 12th December 1989. I’d watched a movie about a shy man in his sixties who, despite never having walked more than a dozen miles in his life, decides to fulfil a life-long ambition to walk the length of Britain. Like him, I was never going to climb Mount Everest or sail single-handed around the world, but also like him, I harboured a primal urge to go out and look at the land I’d spent my life in, to journey forth at least once on an adventure which might prove an inspiration to others.
Whilst I thought about it often, it was many more years before, undaunted by a distinct lack of backpacking experience, an impending 60th birthday, and a recently replaced hip, I decided to quit my job and set off to fulfil my own 30-year ambition to walk the length and breadth of the UK mainland in lone, unsupported, single trips.
The idea of actually writing a book about my ‘adventures’, although appealing, was daunting. The old saying goes “everyone has a book in them” – but it also goes on to point out that in most cases that’s where it should stay! So many people expressed an interest, though, that I thought I’d take the plunge and six years after first putting pen to paper I completed the account of my trek across England in 2015 and my 1,200-mile life-enhancing and unforgettable journey from Land’s End to John o’ Groats in 2017.
Producing a manuscript was one thing – turning that into an actual book, quite another. I’d approached one or two self-publishing companies and was particularly impressed by Douglas’s friendly and helpful response to my initial enquiry. Frances took up the baton and led me through the production and design stages, displaying great understanding and patience even in the face of my numerous last-minute additions and alterations and I couldn’t have been happier with the finished product.
The Self-Publishing Partnership has enabled me to realise a dream and publish my book in an extraordinary year in which our enjoyment of the great outdoors has been seriously challenged. I hope that others will get some pleasure from my journey and appreciation of our rich and fascinating history, and the awesome scenery of mainland Britain.