Coastal walk is pure poetry for modern troubadour
In a nod to the troubadours of old, award-winning writer Simon Armitage will stroll along the South West Coast Path, giving poetry readings in return for food and shelter for the night.
Without a penny in his pocket, the 49-year-old word-smith will walk from Minehead in Somerset to Land's End in Cornwall along the northern half of the famous hike.
En route, the Yorkshire-born former probation officer will give poetry recitals in village halls, churches, pubs, schools, galleries and living rooms in return for his board and lodgings.
Troubadours were most commonly found in France in the 11th-13th centuries, wandering around, proffering their musical or poetical talents in return for warmth and shelter. In his book Walking Home, due out on April 4, he describes travelling the Pennine Way as a modern troubadour in the wrong direction, from north to south, so that he could walk towards the Yorkshire village of Marsden where he was born.
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Simon, a Professor of Poetry at the University of Sheffield and who also writes for film, television and radio, said he was looking forward to his epic challenge.
He said: "This time, I want to see if I can pay my way with poetry alone away from my home ground, and getting further distant every day."
Simon plans to set off from Minehead just after the August Bank Holiday and hopes to reach Land's End on September 17. With a bit of luck by then he will have earned enough to pay his fare to the Isles of Scilly for a final reading.
He said: "Once again I'll be bartering my way from start to finish, giving readings and passing the hat around, inviting the audience to put in whatever they think I'm worth."
His experiences along the way will provide material for his follow-up book Walking Away.
To make the event a success, Simon will need places to stay with food on the table in return for a poetry reading.
Anyone who would like to get involved and help him out is asked to contact Simon at www.simonarmitage.com or by email him at firstname.lastname@example.org