Walking from the Pyrenees to the Pennines

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To celebrate my 70th birthday next year I plan to walk from my home in the Aude to the house in Blackpool, Lancashire, where I was born. Taking 70 days for the walk and arriving at the house of my birth exactly 70 years after the event. I have a blog for interested parties at: http://vicsbigwalk.blogspot.com


Vic Heaney-336067 1246981772

far this year I have walked 2,386 kms, which with my little legs (I am
not really such a big walker) equates to 2,982,500 steps!

I have one pair of shoes (Columbia Trailmeister IV) which have covered 1,500 kms - 1,875,000 steps. Not a blister in sight.

For more, see my blog:


Vic Heaney-336067 1249739756

The more I read about people doing long distance walks in France, the
more I come across references to frequent attacks by dogs. As I shall
be walking the full length of France, from almost at the Spanish border
to the ferry ports to UK, I don't suppose I shall be immune.

So earlier in the week, I was asking in my blog if anybody knew whether
pepper spray is legal in France. I am still not sure whether this is
the case. I know they are available. I believe it is legal to own one,
but it may be illegal to carry one. But that the gendarmerie turn a
blind eye to ladies carrying one in their purse for self-defence. What
about an old man carrying one in his rucksack?

Then came the news from New Zealand about a female jogger being savaged
for fifteen minutes by EIGHT pig-hunting dogs. She is luck to be alive.
If you haven't seen the story, just
Google "Jogger New Zealand" and you will have a vast choice of news
reports about it. It seems to have been covered by every newspaper in
the world. The news also sharpened my own thoughts.

What about tazers? I met an interesting man
who had a stall at Mirepoix market the other day. He was selling a wide
range of splendidly made marble Buddhas. He had a very interesting life
story to tell and I would be keen to hear more of it. However, the
relevant bit of our conversation concerned tazers.

He had been
on a market somewhere and on an adjacent stall someone was selling
tazers. Probably not the full monty type as used by the police but, he
said, just the sound they emitted was enough to deter a marauder, human
or animal. And that's before the ultimate sanction of applying the
electricity to the beast.

Does anybody know anything about these, whether they are legal in Europe, where they can be acquired?

The Buddha man is called Howard Owen and his website is:


His stuff is excellent.

My blog:


Vic Heaney-336067 1251124348

Booking My Place

Well, a week of hard work, and I have sent off the synopsis and several
chapters of my book to a publisher, and also to a literary consultancy.

If you would be interested in receiving details - with no
obligation or commitment - of when the book will be published, please
e-mail me at:


Please put the word "Book" as the subject. I will keep all these
e-mails in a separate folder and will keep you informed of progress. I
will also notify you of publication date and details of how to get the
book, if you so desire. This will, of course, be after the walk has
finished, which will, of course, be July 23, 2010.

This week I have walked 86 kms, still restrained by the heatwave. 3063 kms for the year to date.

Big Walker's Blog:


Vic Heaney-336067 1254328475

An otherwise fairly accurate article about Vic's
Big Walk in the English-language French newspaper Connexion, has me
walking 70 kms a day for 70 days. This would give a total of 4,900 kms,
which would get me to New York.

I think most of that would involve swimming, not walking. And it's
not the sharks that bother me, it's the fish - what would a vegetarian
eat in all that time?

I first crossed the atlantic by sea when I was 17 but this new way would be a novelty - there is always something to learn.

Follow my blog or donat to Pancreatic Cancer UK on:


Pandora29-333808 1272902000

Hi there

Enjoye'd reading up on your walk, and very good luck to you !!!! Why not join us and post here as well http://frenchliving.proboards.com/index.cgi

All the best


Vic Heaney-336067 1272903551

Hello Pandora

That sounds a good idea, but I shall be starting the walk very soon and will have limited access to the Internet. It will be difficult enough to keep my blog updated, deal with e-mails. I am already wondering how I am going to keep in touch with the numerous forums on which my walk is already up for discussion and support.

I'll see if I can fit it in.

Thanks for your support.


Pandora29-333808 1272908849

Hi Vic

We live between Narbonne and Béziers in Hérault, would you be travelling that route ? Want to pop in for a day or two ?



Vic Heaney-336067 1272909339

Pandora, that's very kind, but I am going more or less due north, with a bit of west, from where we live, which is 50 kms south of Carcassonne - almost in Andorra.

Vic Heaney-336067 1272909575

Sorry, forgot to add that I put my route through France, and all the planned stops, on my blog a few days ago.


Pandora29-333808 1272964449

Good morning

Yes, I can see, you are nowhere near us on your route, also nowhere near any friends of ours pity. But the best of British all the way until you are "home" !!!

Again, good luck to you and your wife

Vic Heaney-336067 1272966823

Thanks Pandora

We are in the middle of a blizzard here - I hope that sort of weather doesn't hang around for a while! It wouldn't be much help.

Pandora29-333808 1272967876

Hi Vic

I am not surprised - we are in the middle of a severe thundersturm and I will shut down everything now.

Have look at this http://www.meteox.fr/h.aspx?r=&jaar=-3&soort=loop1uur

Pandora29-333808 1273059277

Hello V ic

Min how you go today - a Severe Weather Warning has been issued for the north of Spain !!

Take care

Vic Heaney-336067 1273065235

Hello Pandora

Our electricity was off for 7 hours yesterday. Heavy snow fell all day, and was sticking on the ground. Fortunately it rained during the night and washed the snow off the roads. I have walked home from Quillan this morning and the tracks are wetter than I have ever seen them. Is this May?

Nice to know there is severe weather in the North of Spain, which is very near to here - I could walk there if I was even more energetic!

I will just take the opportunity of this message to remind everyone that the main reason I am going to walk 2,000 kms at the age of 70 is to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer research. This is a dreadful illness which gives people just a few weeks to live after diagnosis, for which there is no satisfactory treatment, and for which, unlike many cancers, there has been no progress in the past 50 years. Donations can be made on my blog at:


Thanks on behalf of all current and future sufferers from Pancreatic Cancer.

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