In the late summer of 2017 I became captivated by the sculpture A Line Made By Walking. It was created in 1967 by Bristol artist Richard Long, who walked carefully backwards and forwards through a grassy field, drawing a footpath with his feet. This fleeting track of trampled grass was the opposite of a footpath. It led nowhere and was created by one man.
Yet, it was a record of a journey, with endless possibilities of discovery within an ephemeral line. Pinning this photo to the wall, I began to plan a journey of my own that would trail a path through Britain’s landscapes. Many long-distance routes traverse the land, running from coast to coast and ending at the sea. Digging an old map of Britain out of the attic, I drew a different line, one without a destination, linking different footpaths until they formed a loop of almost 5,000 miles around the edges of the island.
Six weeks later I rounded a corner and collapsed on to a muddy verge. It was a frosty October afternoon: day one. Months lay ahead of me.
I enjoy casual jogs and had a couple of marathons under my belt, but with legs tired and feet sore, I wondered if my body would ever stop aching. Nothing had prepared me for the weight of my tent and backpack…