THE tragic death of her husband prompted a woman to embark on the longest walk of her life across Europe.
Hermione Ainley, 64, from Crick, started her journey in La Gomera, the second smallest of the seven islands Canary Islands on March 20. The date was a significant one for her as it would have been her late husband’s birthday.
Hermione and husband Richard used to own Edward’s Restaurant in Crick but set up a holiday let business in La Gomera in the 1990s. Richard died at the age of 59 from prostate cancer in 2004.
It was the fulfilment of a lifetime of dreaming for Hermione as she had always wanted to walk from the island back home to Crick.
She said: “I’d always had a niggle that I wanted to do it and I thought it was a case of now or never.
“It was a silly idea that I’d always wanted to do.
“Richard was never really keen. It was now or never before I got too old to do it. I wanted to show that I was still capable of doing something.”
Her journey saw her go across several different countries.
She started her walk across La Gomera before catching the boat to Tenerife and on to mainland Spain.
From there she walked through Spain when she then caught a boat to Portsmouth.
Having arrived in the UK, the carer then walked up the country towards Weedon and completed the last leg of her journey down the Grand Union Canal towards Crick where she was greeted by her family and friends at her front door in Lauds Road.
She met people along the way and stayed wherever she could, including dormitories with bunkbeds for three euroes a night in Spain.
While her journey saw her do some sights in Spain, it was closer to home which provided her favourite moments of her trip.
She said: “I saw so many nice part of England when I was walking home that I thought I should explore this country next.
“On the way I got pulled over by the police in Devon walking along the A43 at night. I got lost and they very kindly drove me to the nearest pub.”
Hermione, who completed the 1,200-mile walk in just under three months, said: “It was fun.
“Everyone said to me it would be a life-changing walk but I felt exactly the same when I got back.
“It took a few weeks for my feet to stop hurting. I was more tired and creaky than I thought I would be but I’m getting back to normal now.”