My name is Martyn Howe. I have achieved a lifelong ambition to walk all of the 19 National Trails in England, Scotland and Wales, some 3,000 miles 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?
This blog recounts my own personal adventures over the past 12 years and the approach I have taken to walking each path. Each has its own unique characteristics and challenges from the short level walks to strenuous mountain traverses. My objective is to give anyone who wants to take on these challenges a different perspective not often found in guidebooks and journals.
As for me, I am in my mid 50’s, married with kids, with a career in Information Technology management, which has taken me around the world. My inspiration started in early childhood, with fond memories of time spent outdoors, camping, fishing and exploring, often to be rescued by concerned parents.
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. It was while recalling that trip that I set out to do the PCP again in 2004. This started a journey, where I have walked all 19 National Trails, 3,000 miles in 160 days. Next perhaps the Wales Coast Path (open now, although not an official trail) at 850 miles and the English Coast Path (fully open in 2020), another ~2,700 miles. Then to top them all, perhaps, The Scotland Way, 540 miles of sublime wilderness. But before then, I fancy some cycle touring and plan to circumnavigate the North Sea (Eurovelo 12 or North Sea Cycle Route).
I’m smitten, this is addictive.
I cycled around the British Isles in 2001, camping each night, over 17 days, taking in the four cardinal points at Lizard Point, Lowestoft, Ardnamurchan and Dunnet Head, some 1,400 miles. I find the time to walk/cycle between jobs and more recently between interim consultancy assignments. All other time is spent on a few other hobbies, such as photography, cycling, motorcycling and camper van touring, showing my wife the “best bits” of the walks at a leisurely pace.
More recently I completed the North Sea Cycle Route, some 6,000km. Next I’d like to walk the Wales Coast Path and cycle the Atlantic seaboard. When time allows.