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Renowned poet to embark on South West Coast Path walk at Minehead
A RENOWNED poet will embark on an incredible journey, which he hopes to complete without a penny in his pocket in Minehead.
Award-winning Simon Armitage will walk the northern section of the South West Coast Path to Land’s End in three weeks, giving nightly poetry readings at each leg to earn his keep.
He published the planned itinerary on his website some weeks ago, asking for somewhere to stay at each location in return for him sharing his work with an audience.
He has been welcomed with open arms in West Somerset, and The Combe Restaurant at Minehead’s West Somerset College will launch the walk with a dinner and evening reading on August 28.
Porlock Village Hall will then host Simon’s reading after day one of the walk on August 29, as part of Porlock Arts Festival.
Adrian Fleming, subject leader of hospitality, willbe setting off with Simon on the first leg of his journey from Minehead to Porlock Weir.
He said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Simon to The Combe. We are keen to host communityandcultural events in the restaurant as it provides our students with fantastic experiences, as well as enabling us to help facilitate great events for the local community.”
Simon is no stranger to this kind of challenge, having traversed the Pennine Way in 2010 and subsequently writing the non-fiction book Walking Home after making for the Yorkshire village of Marsden where he was born.
He said: “The idea is to be self-sufficient – for me to try and prove that I can live on my wits for three weeks.
“I thought doing the same in a far-flung part of the country and a part of the world where I don’t really know if people know my work, would create a kind of symmetry to the Pennine Way walk.
“I know very little about Somerset – I have been to Watchet with a friend who was born there, but that stretch of coastline is relatively unknown to me. I like that, though – it’s all about discovery.
“People have responded so well to my plans – it has been fantastic. Venues for my readings were booked very quickly.
“I know there is a thriving arts community along the path and I am hoping to tap into the literary tradition of Coleridge and others when I’m there.”
The professor of poetry at the University of Sheffield, who also writes for film, television and radio, was awarded the CBE for services to poetry in 2010.
He will write about his experiences of his latest journey in a follow-up non-fiction title, Walking Away.
Simon added: “I hope I will be writing some poems on the way. There is definitely a relationship between poetry and walking – particularly demonstrated in Coleridge and Wordsworth’s work.
“The rhythm of footsteps and language are connected and a little gentle exercise gets the heart stirring.”
To see Simon’s itinerary, visit www.simonarmitage.com
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