Foreword by Ranulph Fiennes
I met Colin Skinner in 1984, when I was giving a talk in Dover about my Circumpolar Journey. What I didn't know was that I was in part responsible for setting him off on a 9,000 mile unsupported trek that has taken him from Scotland to Iceland, America, Canada and New Zealand. It was my tales of 'borrowing' ice-breakers and army telephone lines, and crossing vast fields of twisted ice that inspired Colin to think that anything was possible.
This book charts the beginning of a journey that has now taken Colin half way round the world. From the ancient burial grounds of Scotland to the frozen Rocky Mountains and the desert of Death Valley, Colin made his way by foot, with only a tent and a backpack for company. Collapsing with heat exhaustion at 104 degrees and walking at minus 30 Fahrenheit are two extremes of what he faced. Sleeping in woods with snakes, running out of food and water and avoiding being hit by trucks are all part of this tale's gripping ingredients.
An important aspect of the walk, though, was that it was not solely undertaken on some adventurous whim. The purpose of the trek was to raise funds and draw attention to the work of MacMillan Cancer Relief and hospices. In 6,000 miles, Colin met people suffering from cancer, AIDS and other serious illnesses: it was those people who were facing the hardest journey of all. Supporting hospices in helping people make the most of their lives, as they deal with life-threatening illness, is an underlying theme of this story.
This inspirational book, which takes you through vast cities, thousands of miles of plains, mountains and deserts, and through the lives and stories of brave people, shows what can happen when you just let go and do what you have to do. I urge you to read on and do what you can to help hospice.
Ranulph Fiennes (5th December 2006)