My first target, the start.

My first target, the start.


Depression has been a big influence in my life and through years of struggling to deal with it alone, then with help, things dramatically changed.

On the 4th of April 2010 i left the place i loved and walked away from all that i saw was getting me down, all the people i thought i was letting down, the society i'd always struggled to fit into and the place i felt tied to.

I'd been trying to take my own life but never could make that one final commitment, so i looked at my life and knew i needed to get away and surround myself with the few things i knew would stop me going mad.

Exercise, fresh air, the great British countryside and all the fascinating features of nature. flowers, insects, birds, etc...

With those and the desire to live, i set out on what would turn out to be a life changing experience.

I left with little possessions, a sleeping bag, few clothes, knife and my camera, this would be an epic journey of self discovery and i'd photograph as much as i could.

In life we need little more than food and shelter.
Food i'd need to find or earn, the shelter i'd make or find in the form of old barns, etc..

I soon learnt that some people were inspired by my method of dealing with my own depression, they found ways in which i could help them and earn a meal or a hot drink. Some days i'd not eat properly, but my desire to succeed and so seek out these kind hearted people kept me going.

I was on the North Somerset coast in the UK and was to walk the south west coast path, a 630mile coastal route around the south west corner of England, Britain's longest national trail.

For over one hundred days i travelled around the coast, meeting many amazing, kind, thoughtful people along the way.
I got back in touch with nature on a level few will ever experience.

This is my story, my journey to share with you.

Please read the 'notes for readers' to the right.


2: Leaving everything behind.

It’s Saturday the 3th of April 2010, I’d been sleeping rough in car for I think 3 days, just sleeping and lying there thinking ill thoughts. All of those days I had this routine, I’d lazed drifting in and out of sleep till gone midday, I’d dwell on things, then walk out into the hills for several hours, always ending up at the same place, only by way of a different route, standing or sitting there I can’t remember. I’d look upwards through the branches of an old tree and stare at the rope swinging there. Through glazed eyes I could only see the rope I was waiting for me, again...For days the weather had been wet ,with hail storms, and heavy showers, the tree I do remember was slippery, but I always could climb well. I’d done this several times now and knew where to place my feet and hands. Last year I’d chose this place, this tree this way and put the rope up there to use, then I couldn’t, I had better strength, reasons to live and had talked myself out of placing the rope around my neck, now was different I had no reason to live as I had failed and let everyone in my life down, I had a pointless existence and everything would be better off without me. Clearly however I did have strength, I had failed in jumping on three occasions and this day I knew I couldn’t go back, I may slip and break something, I may jump and not die, I wanting to live, I had to live but how?
I had to get away, away from this place, that tree and worse of all I had to get away from all the reasons I had to live for, I couldn’t have them see my suffering anymore, they couldn’t help, nobody could, if I stay I’ll go mad, be sectioned, who’s would want to see that, see their, friend, son, father like that?
I’d do it my way, seek therapy in the things that never stressed me. With nature, close to it, being it.
I’d wanted to walk the South West coast path in its entirety before, 630 miles of varied coastline, every bit different, a diversity of plants and wildlife and quite a challenge too.
I knew it would take a long time, but did I have a time limit, did I need to be somewhere else at a certain time? Well technically I did, but if I did turn up there I feared for the consequences.
I have three beautiful children and had been having them every other weekend since the separation. I couldn’t legally drive, I had no money to buy them food, no gas to keep them warm, a home where mice would wander around eating the crumbs and mess from my neglect and I was a mess, muddied, dirty clothes, underwear stained in stale urine. What sort of father am I, what sort of influence could I be, nothing good would result of me being there, their mother for all her faults at least provides them with what they need, they’d be better off with her...
So it was decided, i would leave and go without telling anyone. I heard the words so many times, “it’ll be alright”, “you’re just having a rough time at the moment, it happens to everyone.” You can get help.”
I’d heard these and more so many times, but I needed to do this my way, for me. I’d do this the hard way, to get me stronger and to challenge myself. If I’d spoken to someone, I feared they would convince me to stay and I’d be back in the loop of self hatred and misery or go back once more to the tree...
Scattered in my car was a varied selection of gear mostly cycling kit.
In my head I knew what I NEED and what I wanted to take:
A Berghaus wind stopper coat.                                                                                 Small fold up coat.                                                                                                    Socks.                                                                                                                            Underwear I only had 3 pairs.                                                                                              Shorts.                                                                                                                               T-shirts.                                                                                                                        Base layer.                                                                                                                                               Thick jumper.                                                                                                                Buff.                                                                                                                                        Sleeping bag.                                                                                                                                         Blanket.                                                                                                                                    Gerber multitool.                                                                                                                Toothbrush.                                                                                                                  Headtorch and torch.                                                                                                             And of course, my camera, spare batteries and charger. I was going on an adventure, I’d see beautiful things and I know photography always make me happy, it would be part of my therapy.
So, I loaded everything into the big yellow bag and rolled up the top to seal it and then strapped that to a small rucksack. Another hail storm had just passed over, I was set, no reason to hesitate, no looking back, I needed to get to the coast by the most direct route, I was in the middle of a range of hills about eleven miles end to end and the coast about a further mile on.
At I think close to 2pm I got out of my car put the rucksack on my back and locked the car, the mobile phone I owned was turned off, then placed in a pocket to dispose of later. The coast was northwards, so cutting out well known paths as I didn’t want to be seen I cut across a pathless piece of land, crossed a road into deep cover and dropped down towards an area known as Ladies fountain, and followed dear tracks, hidden in the hills. I knew the rangers as I did the many other users of the hills, I’d been riding push bikes up there a lot over the last six years and was fairly well known. I didn’t really want to be seen I just needed to be gone.

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