Walking from the Pyrenees to Northern England

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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-127811 1246981628

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:


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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:


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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-127811 1254327998

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.

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