Saturday, 6 December 2014


Working my way across the cheese-board, I'm in - security conscious - Brie. Less than forty miles from the centre of Paris, and if it wasn't for my pesky ankle within a long day's walk. I'm still striding along and it doesn't seem to be getting worse - just stiff and painful. I've cut up a sock to make a padded cuff which helps. Herzog had a similar problem at this point and roughly the same solution.
He then walked through the night and well into the next day to finish his walk. A bit too extreme for me. And besides I'm still enjoying the walk - despite the hobbling and sudden drop in temperature.
Last night I walked on from Carlos' bar and up into the huge Villefermoy forests. A comfy bed of beech and oak leaves, tawny owls calling, soup in bed and deep sleep. A bit of rain in the night, and dry again by dawn. Instead of rushing off I lay in bed writing, brewing coffee, looking at routes on the map and mulling over the trip so far. Slightly saddened it was so close to an end (chicken counting if ever).
When I emerged from the forest and back onto the road I found a slew of warning signs along the next twenty kms of dead straight walking meant to deter my kind of trespassing, and particularly poaching deer. Rabies, traps, prosecution, live ammunition etc. (Actually the one I've liked best was in a previous stretch of forest; 'process verbal.' - a good shouting, I suppose.). Probably my biggest risk was being shot by the tens of hunters out on a big drive for wild boar. Jeeps and Land Rovers shot by along the roads dropping of gunmen on the long open tracks through the woods. They were all dressed in the drabs and camouflage colours of the outdoors, an effect rather spoilt by covering the lot with high-viz orange waistcoats. Prudent though. There were frequent barrages of shots and high-velocity bullets must have been twanging through the trees like hail. In dark colours and made lumpen and boar-like by my rucksack I felt amusingly vulnerable.
Next is another of those dusk trudges along the verge of a busy road for three miles - the only way forward - and then I'm into the patchwork of dormitory towns, scattered fields and forests and parks that run into central Paris. Like an urban wolf I'm trying to find a corridor that though straight avoids busy roads, built up areas and farm land. I'll need to find a hidden spot in a wood to sleep in tonight. And then tomorrow...


  1. I don't know how you still kept going with your ankle and all those threats of being shot and what not, definitely very brave of you. Goodluck for all your future trips as well as this one.

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About Me

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I'm an independent writer on wilderness activities, slow adventures, traditional horsemanship and odd stuff. I'm the author of Paddle; A long way around Ireland (Sort Of Books), and i was the story consultant on the IMAX documentary on cowboy cultures across the globe, Ride Around The Word. The Slow Adventure sends reports back from the front-line of a slow and simple life; horses, kayaks, guitars, long walks, travel, books, simplicity, trains, travel, wildlife and the occasional thrill.