To say that I have dreamed of walking the South West Coast Path (SWCP) for a long time would be the understatement of the year. When I first stepped onto the SWCP during a road trip through England and Wales around 10 years ago, I felt this fascination but walking more than a half mile was not possible at that time because I was extremely overweight and hiking was not something I could do.
But somehow the SWCP was always in my mind and something told me that I am the only person that hinders me to let this dream come true. So, in 2013 I decided that I was going to walk the whole Path in summer 2018. I started to pay for a half year sabbatical leave (here in Austria you get only 90 % of your salary for 4.5 years and then you can stay at home for 6 months and get the money you saved regularly) and I also started to lose weight. I read everything I could find about the SWCP, every book, every blog, every little post, joined social media groups and became a member of the SWCP Association. Slowly but surely, and after losing nearly 10 stone, I started to do long distance hikes in Austria, but never longer than a week. I also decided to do the walk for a good cause and under the motto ‘Treading new paths’ I collected money for teenagers in Austria who cannot live with their families anymore.
Finally everything was planned: the flight was booked and I pre-booked 60 accommodations, the gear was bought and a half year before the actual start, we were ready to go. Then tragedy struck without warning: my husband Peter suffered a stroke and all our plans got suddenly unsure. But now, we now both had a goal to reach.
On 1st July, my 42nd birthday, we set off to walk all 1,014 km of the South West Coast Path. I do not want to lie, it was tough. For me, because I still had some extra pounds to carry and for Peter, who was not fully recovered by then. But on 26th August we reached South Haven Point and we both were so happy, relieved and grateful for all the things that happened to us during our walk.
It was such an amazing adventure that I wrote a book about my journey on the SWCP. Although there are many English books about personal walks and experiences, it is the very first written in German and was published by Austrians oldest publishing agency, the ‘Leykam Buchverlag’. For me it is now a kind of commitment to let the German speaking part of world know more about the SWCP so I travel and do book presentations around the country and I created a Facebook Group for German speaking people. I want to give a BIG thank you to the South West Coast Path Association for all the help before, during and after my hike, I am very proud to be a member.