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Taking a 4,000 mile walk around France

Terry CudbirdUPON retirement Terry Cudbird decided to take a 4,000 mile walk around France, asking his 60-year-old hips and knees to circle a country he had a long-held, deep affection for.

His book, titled Walking the Hexagon, An Escape Around France on Foot, tells of travels through the Pyrenees, Provence, the Jura, Brittany and everywhere in between.

Terry writes about the many characters he met, including a few drop-outs from the heady days of Paris in '68, but it was also a journey that gave him time to think about his own responsibilities and future now the world of work was behind him.

His love for reading maps, and for browsing the web for interesting places to visit, gave Terry a rough plan of a start point in the Pyrenees and then an anti-clockwise route around France.

Having already undertaken other long-distance walks, Terry still had a few doubts about just how he would handle the time alone, but he found it relaxing and being a walker saw him bump into some interesting characters, as well as be taken in by people he now considers good friends.

Walking the HexagonOn his walk Terry wore out two pairs of boots, and suffered from particularly painful blisters at one point, but every morning after a cup of coffee and a bite of a baguette he took to the road, despite sometimes not being able to see the surrounding countryside through the rain.

One of his favourite places on the walk was the Cévennes, in southern France, with its deep history, remains of old villages and beautiful views from the mountain tops.

And although Terry has occasionally had a bout of itchy feet, he has been able to reflect on the 4,000 miles he has travelled to write up the story of the walk as well as consider how he has changed as a person.

Listen to Terry Cudbird:

"It has broadened my mind meeting so many different people, and I am much happier speaking French," Terry said.

"One of the best things about the walk was the many people I met have now become good friends and invited me back to walk with them."


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