I love walking. It’s fun. Most of us, with the exception of The Proclaimers, do not walk nearly enough. I know it is the land of the free and of Forrest Gump but many car loving Americans – and Brits – average less than 4,500 steps a day: some three-toed sloths walk more this. Walking is a boon for body, mind and soul.

The world and its people are a never ending source of wonder so, you never know, I might write another book. Actually, 16,300 miles, make that two books, maybe even three. You’ve been warned, literati, run for the hills!

The need to lose weight. Since hitting 50 a shape like ET’s head has started protruding from my midriff. Go home ET and take all the excess cider and donuts with you.

I am starting to make weird middle-aged noises. Even small exertions like sitting up in bed can result in a groan like a speared bison. This must stop.

The yearning to fully embrace the great outdoors, swallow bugs in the wind, be alive to all the earth’s subtle pulses. Whatever the weather I hope to KOKO (keep on keeping on!), to sleep under the stars, swim in rivers and lakes, sing Bruce Springsteen songs at the moon, and, when out of earshot, the odd Abba one…We all need to listen to nature’s call more – and a bit of Bruce’s yodelling.

Of course, the walk is in many ways daft – a preposterous, Quixotic notion for a man of my years, but it is also magical, and I am deeply lucky to be making it. Many people would hate to plod over a 100 miles a week across unfamiliar landscapes never knowing where they are going to roost. But, there are those who would love to do it too. I need to be true to all those who dream of such a pilgrimage, but, for whatever reason, haven’t had the chance.

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