Western Front shows we cannot take peace for granted

Fiona Jenkins lays a bouquet on the grave of her aunt’s grandfather, who died near Ypres, aged 42

My wife Fiona and I have long nursed a dream of an epic hike along the length of the old Western Front and this year, a century on from the end of the First World War, we went for it.

Both 64 and retired and living in Dordogne and Yorkshire, we had no idea if it was possible when we set off from Nieuwpoort-Bad on the Belgian coast to walk to the Swiss border.

There is no waymarked Western Front walking path, or guidebook, we carried everything on our backs... and Fiona is waiting for a hip replacement.

Her orthopaedic surgeon had advised her to keep walking, for the exercise, but she had not dared say just how far she was intending to walk. Partly because we did not know how far she would be able to go.

Now, we know exactly how far. Six weeks to the hour after we set off, we passed the 1,000km mark and arrived at Kilometre Zero: the Swiss frontier.


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