Why would a man retire from his job and take off on a unique 4,000-mile walk around France? What possessed him to wear out his sixty-year-old hips and knees when he could spend a comfortable retirement at home? In this fascinating book Terry Cudbird reveals the obsession which is long distance walking--the intoxicating freedom to go where you want, the escape from the complications and paraphernalia of everyday life, the unpredictable encounters. His itinerary covered the six sides of the French hexagon. In a year's walking he passed through the Pyrenees, the Languedoc, Provence, the Alps, the Jura, Alsace, Lorraine, Picardy, Normandy, Brittany and Aquitaine. En route he discovered the astonishing variety of France's regions; their culture, history, languages, architecture and food. He passed through cities and hamlets, idyllic mountains and bleak plains, the heat of Le Midi and the cold of Le Nord. The author relates the highs and lows of a sometimes gruelling trek: the dramatic changes in landscape, the unexpected acts of kindness but also the guard dogs, snorers in hikers' refuges, storms, man-eating insects, blisters, exhausted limbs, lack of water and a rucksack which was always too heavy. Most important, he met hundreds of French people, many with an unusual outlook on life and interesting stories to tell: hermits, hippies, pilgrims, monks and farmers to name but a few. He made some lasting friends. Terry Cudbird's journey is rich in incident and observation. It is also, in part, the story of an individual coming to terms with his parents' old age and growing dementia. Through walking he finds not only a source of endless new horizons but also the means of accepting the past and its loss. This book will be of interest to walkers, lovers of France and anyone who has ever dreamt of encountering real adventures not far from home.
As a writer my passion is for walking and for France. I studied French history at Uni and have been obsessed with the country ever since. At the moment the variety of France's heritage in all its different regions is what fascinates me. I have also done a lot of long distance walking in my life-New Zealand, Tibet, France and major trails in the UK. So when I retired from a commercial job it is not surprising that I set off to walk 4,000 miles around the circumference of France. The result is my first book Walking the Hexagon, an escape around France on foot.To find out more about what I am up to visit my web site www.walkingaroundfrance.com. You can also read or listen to interviews with me at http://www.thisfrenchlife.com/thisfrenchlife/2012/11/taking-a-4000-mile-walk-around-france.html;www.inntravel.co.uk/blog;Walk,the Magazine of the Rambler's Association, Winter Edition and the podcast at www.walkmag.co.uk/people; and at www.signal-blog.co.uk