Former St Albans man walks diagonally across England for travel book
- Credit: Archant
A writer from St Albans walked diagonally across England as research for his book gauging the state of the nation.
Nick Corble, who grew up in Sandpit Lane and lived in St Albans for the first 25 years of his life, walked from the north west coast of England to south Kent for his book Diagonal Walking: Slicing through the heart of England.
The direct route was 250 miles long, but Nick stuck to only footpaths, bridleways, towpaths and minor roads where possible, walking a zigzag route of over 400 miles in 39 days.
Along the way, he spoke to people he met to gauge their views on Brexit and the state of the country in 2019. Diagonal Walking, which was published this spring, describes what he saw and learned about England, the English and himself, with a chapter dedicated solely to Hertfordshire.
Speaking about his reasons for doing the walk, he said: "It was threefold. One was a personal challenge just to see whether I could do it, another was a challenge for the footpath system to see if it could do it, and there was also a challenge to reengage with England and find out what the state of the nation is. It was my 60th birthday coming up as well."
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Nick made a similar journey in 1999, travelling on a canal boat for his book Walking on Water and finding out in what sort of country his children would grow up.
He said: "I wanted to talk to people and find out what they were thinking. I reached out to try to get people to come with me on sections of the walk.
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"There were small, serendipitous moments where you just bump into people. People tend to be freer when walking. If you're out on a walk you tend to find that after the small talk people often open up.
"Probably the best moments were when I was on the top of a hillside just overlooking the countryside and thinking how lucky I am to be doing this."
Nick, who attended St Albans School and is still a keen Watford FC fan, wanted to turn his journey into travel writing for the 21st century by incorporating a blog, podcast and video and interacting with people throughout his walk on Facebook and Twitter.
Diagonal Walking is available to buy in bookshops and from Amazon.