On my own two feet

Up at sunrise ready to walk miles through the beautiful countryside of rural northern Spain, passing vineyards with the vines full of plump red berries and alongside fields overflowing with ears of corn, this is my idea of a perfect holiday. 

If you had asked me 15 years ago, I would have laughed at the notion of a walking holiday, surely, that’s a contradictory term!  Ask me now and I’ll be there in a flash with my boots, backpack and walking pole raring to go. 

Walking is something I have always done, since I was one, but it was never something that I actively thought about, it was a subconscious act that occurred when I wanted to get from A to B.

That changed in 2008 when I lost my leg in a motorcycle accident.  Suddenly walking was all I could think about! I wanted to be able to walk across my living room, I wanted to be able to walk to the bathroom, I wanted to walk to town. 

In 2015 I choose to have osseointegration surgery and within 3 months I was walking unaided and without needing to think about it.  

Now I wanted to do something more than just walk to town so I started with a 6 mile sponsored walk along the canal and that's when I really caught the walking bug.  I wanted to do more, go further! 

Walking the entire South West coast path was the biggest achievement of my life.  It took me 69 walks to complete 630 miles.  I can’t say I loved every step but I loved the sense of achievement at the end of each walk.  The feeling of being at one with nature was so therapeutic.  Along with such beautiful scenery from open clifftop paths, to muddy woodland trails, through quaint picturesque villages, to long sandy beaches. Starting in Portugal and walking to Spain was the most thrilling, I don’t know why I was more excited about this one than all the walks in Spain that preceded it, maybe because it was even bigger than all the other walks or perhaps it was just the freedom of walking from country to country on my own two feet. 

Caroline Rutley-Frayne