Coast 17

Walking the coast of Britain

Ken Scott ARPS, a local photographer, planned a 5000 mile walk in 2017 around the mainland coast of Britain over the period from February to October. His presentation of photos, audio visuals and narrative was inspiring on a number of levels. It was primarily a walk. There was not time to make his photographs to his exacting standards but his selections from his 6,000 images were nonetheless impressive. He was inspired by John Merrill's 7,000 mile walk around the coastline and shared the same spirit of adventure.

For his walk he set a number of principles including to take the public right of way closest to the sea, to camp whenever possible, balance walking and sleeping, always to be mindful, to cross rivers by the lowest bridging point he could find and to have a trusty support team. He recognised that it was not going to be easy and resolved if anything went wrong to have fun anyway. Little did he know as he set off from Shoreham on 10 February 2017 how prophetic this would prove to be. Shoreham to Sandbanks was the first leg and an initial obstacle was the Medmerry Nature Reserve west of Pagham which had been changed causing an 8 mile stretch to become a 50 mile detour. The isolation of the solo walk, he contrasted with the bustle at Durdle Door at the weekend. The Lulworth ranges coastline, impressed him with its grandeur. In the third week after experiencing storms Doris and Euan disaster struck as he approached Plymouth and after a trip to hospital was advised to rest for 3 weeks with the first of a recurring shin splints injury. After a rest and reassessment Ken decided to forgo the South West Coast Path as he had walked it before and resumed in Somerset in order to keep to the schedule. This took him to some iconic sites such as the cliffs from Watchet to Hinkley Point, the lighthouse at Burnham on Sea and the M5 crossing of the River Avon as well as inland to the Clifton Suspension bridge all providing photographic opportunities. Two further episodes of damage to his legs occurred in Wales, so with the timetable slipping he abandoned the Scotland leg, making do with a road trip along the west coast by campervan and crossing to Berwick upon Tweed for the southward march. East Anglia was covered by bike to reach London's iconic Tower Bridge, where John Merrill's trip began and ended. Ken modified his principles a little and he was on the home stretch returning to Shoreham accompanied by his family in mid-October after 107 days walking and covering 3,000 miles and raising £5000 for Parkinson's and RNLI.

In addition to the photos from the route Ken showed audio visuals titled Abstraction with abstract images taken en route, the Scotland road trip and, his favourite, images of Horizons, sea, dawns and sunsets of great variety. His final AV was Every kind of people, illustrating the people he met on the way, some his friends, most complete strangers, a few inspiring even to him and all with happy smiling faces. Further collections covering bridges, piers, sculptures, towns and industry further filled his presentation. He had some favourite locations such as Cafe Mor on a Pembrokeshire beach, but also came up against the lack of humanity in the amount of plastic waste that littered many beaches and others sites. This was a real testimony to human endeavour and the spirit of adventure.

Submitted by Norman Kirby on