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Helen K

Copyright Garth Publications

In 1986, at the age of 37, I set out to walk around the whole of Britain's coastline. I finished exactly 11 months later, having walked almost 5,000 miles; then I wrote a book about it. “Midges, Maps & Muesli” has been in print almost continuously ever since, and is still very popular. So how did this all come about?

Why Walk Round Britain?

I had wanted to walk round the coast of Britain for years. It was an idea I'd had since my teens, but I never had the time and money to turn it into reality. However, finding myself between jobs and not sure what to do next, I decided to go for it.

The Walk Itself

I started at Brighton, the nearest point on the coast to my home in Croydon, in March 1986, in heavy snow. I then walked clockwise, usually covering anything from 10 – 20 miles per day. I was not a superfit athlete when I started, just an ordinary leisure walker. But I paced myself, only walking as far as I felt I could, and having regular days off. Anyway, I wasn't trying to break any records, just see something of my native land and meet its people. I perceived myself as something of a wandering minstrel or a long distance ambler rather than a record breaker.

Helen K

At a campsite

From time to time friends came and joined me on the trail for a few hours or a day, but this happened less and less as I got further away from home.

There was a fair amount of interest from the media, and I appeared in a number of local papers; then there was a feature on my walk in The Times just before Christmas 1986

I stayed in different places – youth hostels, B & Bs, and sometimes my tiny 'hooped bivi' tent. And more and more often, as I became known, people would write and offer to put me up when I reached their bit of coastline. Overall I enjoyed the walk; if I hadn't I would have stopped. But as you would expect, I had my share of bad weather, blisters, and exhausting days that I didn't want to repeat. And I always kept going.

Finally, at the end of January 1987, I arrived back at the Palace Pier in Brighton, this time to a huge welcome and lots of journalists and photographers.

Helen K

My Certificate 

Soon afterwards I found out that I was to appear in “The Guinness Book of Records” for “The Longest Continuous Walk by a Woman”.

Writing the Book

I started writing the book soon afterwards, and I finished it fairly quickly. “Midges, Maps & Muesli” was initially accepted by Victor Gollancz Ltd, but then they changed their minds. I found another publisher, but they went out of business. Tiring of the whole business of getting published, I left the manuscript for a while, planning to publish it myself if I could ever afford to – self- publishing books was quite expensive in the days before Print on Demand.

In 1998, after a rewrite, my book finally saw the light of day. I sold a couple of hundred almost instantly to friends plus people I'd net on the walk, who had been waiting for it. The remainder went over the next few years. I ran out of books, and shelved the project; anyway, my life had taken other pathways.

Then in 2007, at the request of friends, I had it reprinted. By this time, long distance walking had become mainstream and very popular, which was not the case in the 1980s. The book sold well, and when I could, I also brought it out as Kindle ebook...which sold even better. By now it was of almost historical interest – how did one complete an adventure like this like in the days before mobile phones, emails, and other ways of communicating easily?

“Midges, Maps & Muesli” is available on Amazon at £7.99 for the print book, and £3.99 for the Kindle ebook version. I also have a limited number of signed copies available postage free and at no extra charge; email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details. And you can find out more about this and my other books - “Midges” was only the first of quite a few– at http://www.helenkrasner.com

Meet The Author...
Helen Krasner
Who Am I?

Helen Krasner was born in Croydon; then lived in Edinburgh, California, and North Wales, before moving to the Derbyshire Peak District around ten years ago. She has had a somewhat chequered career, working among other things as an occupational psychologist, meditation teacher, and market research consultant/report writer. When she was in her 40s she took flying lessons; then became a helicopter instructor for nine years. For the last few years she has earned her living as a writer, and has published several books and numerous articles on aviation and other subjects. In 2010 she met David Thomas, who now lives with her, along with Helen's three cats and the eponymous Cookie. “Travels with Cookie” was her brainchild, since she felt David had a story which needed to be told.

Helen's other books include “Midges Maps & Muesli”, an account of a record-breaking 5,000 mile walk around the coast of Britain, which she undertook in the 1980s. She has also written several books on helicopter flying, books on travel and cats, plus a short ebook describing her experiences after a bilateral TKR (having both knees replaced). All these books can be found on Amazon, some in both printed and ebook formats. Signed copies are occasionally available from Helen; email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.

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