My name is Martyn Howe.
In 2016, I achieved a lifelong ambition to walk the 19 iconic long-distance trails in England, Scotland and Wales, some 3,000 miles, over 150 days, through some of the most wonderful, diverse landscapes in the world. I have come to realise that if you live in Britain, why venture abroad? Some of the best outdoor experiences can be found on your own doorstep? These paths are the 15 National Trails in England and Wales, and the 4 designated long-distance routes of Scotland’s Great Trails. The definition is complex, but I used the Long Distance Walkers Association Diamond Award as a list, soon to be expanded when the England Coast Path is complete and other trails received official designation.
On 2nd September 2021, Vertebrate Publishing will release a book I have spent a few winters writing – “Tales from the Big Trails”
I can not recall how my journey started, but I was only 15 when, with a friend of mine, we completed the Pembrokeshire Coast Path in the mid-1970’s. With a heavy framed fluorescent backpack and a pair of army boots, we took a bus from Oxford to Fishguard and set about walking south. This was the beginning of a journey that was to last over 40-years.
Walking is not my only addiction. In 2001, I cycled 1,400 miles around the British Isles, camping each night, over 17 days, taking in the four cardinal points at Lizard Point, Lowestoft, Ardnamurchan and Dunnet Head, waiting for the phone to ring for a new job.
In 2017, I extended my passion for cycling by circumnavigating the North Sea on Eurovelo12, some 6,000km in length.
In 2018, the addiction took hold and I completed another cycle journey from Lands End to John o’Groats via the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland, some 4,000km, but I wasn’t counting as I enjoyed the coastal scenery.
In 2019, it was back to walking, when I completed the Wales Coast Path in 2019 – somewhat longer than the longest National Trail at 870-miles. During the lockdown period, I managed to keep to the rules and wander around the Southern Hebridean Isles on my Thorn Sherpa, wild camping mostly, with only seals and otters for company.
Future plans/thoughts include:
- Cycling around the Channel (aka Tour de Manche), Eurovelo 4 and NCN Route 2 (~4,000km?)
- Walking the Scottish National Trail in 2020, 540-miles, perhaps starting at Lindisfarne
- Walking the England Coast Path in 2021 (2,500m+)
- Another Scottish Odyssey on off-road tracks and quiet roads, bikepacking a 1,000-miles or so on little known trails, making it up as I go along.
Finding the time is the challenge, and the pandemic has seriously curtailed my adventures, for now.