The gift of walking
WRITER Paddy Leigh Fermor’s coming-of-age walk across Europe in the 1930s has inspired a devoted reader to reprise it. Katy Macmillan-scott (below), who works in Arts PR, will be only the second woman to attempt the 600-mile route from Rotterdam to Istanbul. She’s raising funds for Bowel Cancer UK and its Never Too Young campaign after her friend Harriet Clarke died from the disease, aged only 32.
‘The last thing we did together was to go to a talk on polar explorers and we laughed about how the panel talked dismissively about “lady adventurers”,’ explains Katy. ‘When I read Robert Macfarlane’s essay The Gifts of Reading [about Leigh Fermor and the cathartic power of walking], a plan crystallised to go on an adventure Harriet would have loved.’
Leigh Fermor, described in an obituary as ‘a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Green’, was 18 when he set off, recording the journey in a trilogy starting with A Time of Gifts. Katy’s journey will take place in stints, starting with the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. To donate, visit www. adventuresforharriet.co.uk KG