Tales from the Big Trails

A forty-year quest to walk the iconic long-distance trails of England, Scotland and Wales

Author: Martyn Howe

Series title:

Paperback publication date: 02 Sep 2021

Paperback ISBN: 9781839810589

Tales from the Big Trails is Martyn Howe's story of walking the nineteen National Trails in England, Scotland and Wales, some 3,000 miles in total. Martyn vividly describes the diverse landscapes, wildlife, culture and heritage he encounters, the physical and mental health benefits he derives from walking, and the people who enrich his travels.

‘I am already planning the next adventure. The wanderlust that infected me has no cure.’

It all started in Fishguard in the mid-1970s when, aged fifteen, Martyn Howe and a friend set off on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path armed with big rucksacks, borrowed boots, a Primus stove and a pint of paraffin, and a thirst for adventure. After repeating the route almost thirty years later, Martyn was inspired to walk every National Trail in England and Wales, plus the four Long-Distance Routes (now among the Great Trails) in Scotland.

His 3,000-mile journey included treks along the South West Coast Path, the Pennine Way, the Cotswold Way and the West Highland Way. He finally achieved his ambition in 2016 when he arrived in Cromer in Norfolk, only to set a new goal of walking the England and Wales Coast Paths and the Scottish National Trail.

In Tales from the Big Trails, Martyn vividly describes the diverse landscapes, wildlife, culture and heritage he encounters around the British Isles, and the physical and mental health benefits he derives from walking. He also celebrates the people who enrich his travels, including fellow long-distance hikers, tourists discovering Britain’s charm, farmers working the land, and the friendly and eccentric owners of hostels, campsites and B&Bs.

And when he is asked ‘Why do you do it?’, the answer is as simple as placing one foot in front of the other: ‘It makes me happy.’

Martyn Howe is a freelance technology consultant with a passion for long-distance walking. In 2016, he realised a lifelong ambition to walk nineteen iconic trails in England, Scotland and Wales. In total, these walks covered some 3,000 miles over 153 days, taking him through some of the most wonderful and diverse landscapes in the world. His love of adventure doesn’t begin and end with the English and Welsh National Trails and Scottish Great Trails: he has also cycled 1,400 miles around the British Isles, camping out each night; and recently his wanderlust has guided him around 6,500 miles of Atlantic and North Sea coastline. His website www.trailplanner.co.uk contains more information on his walks, cycle rides and campervan tours. Tales from the Big Trails is his first book.

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