Let me introduce myself. My name is Vic Heaney. I am a fairly well known long-distance walker, author and public speaker from the UK. I am in my 80th year but in the past 3 years I have, with my wife Gay, spent a week walking in the Sahara Desert over Christmas, tramped Britain’s 2-week Coast to Coast walk and, only last month, walked the length o Hadrian’s Wall, a barrier the Romans built almost 2,000 years ago across the whole width of the border between England and Scotland as the Northern border of the Roman Empire. Much of this wall is still intact. My main claim to fame is that to celebrate my 70th birthday I walked, mainly alone, from our then home in the French Pyrenees to Northern England. I averaged two-thirds of a marathon every day for 70 days. I arrived at the house where I was born exactly 70 years after my debut there.
I recently read Chris Quinn’s book Adventures of a Trail Stooge and enjoyed it. I have read many books about people walking The Appalachian Trail, The Pacific Crest Trail, The Central Divide, The Camino de Santiago de Compostela and other personal challenges. I particularly enjoy reading about the characters met and re-met along the way. I would like to thank Chris for inviting me to write this guest post on his blog.
I am still a regular hill-walker. I do not regard my age as a hindrance and normally walk much faster than most others in any group I am with. The main problem I have is that I am partially-sighted, with distortion of everything I see beyond four feet. This makes walking on rough ground, especially in descents, very difficult or even dangerous because even though I can see the rocks, my eyes and brain tell lies so that I do not see them correctly. I am cautious at these points in any walk. My walk from France to UK was known as Vic’s Big Walk or VBW. In the whole project, from idea to culmination, I walked over 9,000 miles. I used the event to raise funds and awareness for pancreatic cancer, the dreadful illness from which my first wife died within a few short weeks from diagnosis.
My book about VBW is called “Vic’s Big Walk from SW France to North West England”. You can get the e-version from any e-book supplier – Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, et cetera. All proceeds go to Pancreatic Cancer research. We lived overseas in Cyprus and France for over 20 years but returned five years ago to live in the UK. Since then I have been giving public talks about Vic’s Big Walk. At these events I raise funds and awareness for pancreatic cancer research and sell many signed copies (I sold 9 yesterday) of my books (including Living in The Real Cyprus). Every penny raised goes to the charity. I have given well over a hundred of these talks.
I am a frequent visitor to the United States. My first visit was in 1957, to the Eastern Seaboard as a ship’s Radio Officer. I always make sure to be in the US at Presidential Election time as I have always been fascinated by American politics. In a few weeks time, we shall be making a brief visit to some walking friends in Atlanta before going on to spend two weeks with some long-term friends in Indiana. Already arranged is my 80th birthday on a small-ship “expedition” to Alaska, with daily activity visits ashore with boots and rucksack.
I have written many short stores and am currently compiling a book of these. Another project at an advanced stage is a book of memoirs from what most people regard as a very interesting and varied life.
The above is a guest post by Vic Heaney. To see Vic’s books, click here. All of Vic’s proceeds to go pancreatic cancer research, so please support him!