Poet Arrives In Scilly After Walking From Somerset Without Money

Simon Armitage with head teacher Linda Todd and English teacher Bev Knox

Simon Armitage with head teacher Linda Todd and English teacher Bev Knox

A poet who’s walked 260 miles from Somerset without any money, relying on the generosity of people he meets along the way, has ended his journey in Scilly.

Simon Armitage reached the islands yesterday after three weeks walking along the Southwest Coastal path.

He left Minehead on August 29th and has been paying his way with poetry, performing every night en route in village halls, churches and libraries in return for his board and lodgings.

Yesterday he was invited by English teacher Bev Knox to give a reading to years 9,10 and 11 pupils at the Five Islands School.

Simon says he’s delighted that the school offered to pay for his journey over on the Scillonian, which meant he could continue his trip through his poetry readings.

From Radio Scilly

Simon Armitage talks to Radio Scilly about his journey

He also appeared yesterday evening at the New Inn on Tresco.

Simon says the journey has been amazing and he’s been welcomed wherever he’s gone.

In some villages where there were only a couple of hundred inhabitants, up to seventy people turned up to see his performance.

He passes a sock around, asking for donations, at the end of each reading, although he says he sometimes puts his hand in with trepidation.

All sorts of objects have been put in, including bottles of local liqueurs and letters.

Walking along the coast has been a change from the normal hustle and bustle of life, he says.

And he’s impressed with Scilly, which he feels is particularly calm and kind, and reminds him of his childhood village of Marsden in Yorkshire, which was surrounded by moorland instead of the sea.

Simon says the landscape here is likely to inspire some new works of poetry, which could appear in the book he’s writing about his experiences, called “Walking Away.”

He’s says he’s not a “crusader for poetry” but hopes that at least a couple of the children he reads to might get a taste for it and be inspired to read more, and maybe even write in the future.

He’s hoping to complete his journey this morning with a low water walk from Tresco to Bryher and Samson.