Hiker is walking a 5,000-year timeline of Britain

A DEDICATED hiker is travelling through time - creating the country's longest ever historical trail.

Jane at Oykel Bridge. Picture: Supplied

Jane Batchelor, 37, is tracing Britain’s past from the Stone Age through to modern-day London on a 2,500-mile hike.

The route, which started in Shetland and is now in Edinburgh, is following the country’s past in chronological order, taking in major events, historical figures and spectacular monuments.

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While there have been many documented walks of the nation’s history, this is the first long-distance hike to follow the timeline of Britain in a linear order.

Jane on St Kilda. Picture: Supplied

Jane’s route started in the Shetland Islands in May, where she visited Stone Age sites including burial chambers and Neolithic houses.

She has since covered nearly 650 miles solo on foot.

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Jane said: “It’s been fantastic walking through Scotland and the islands. Not only is there so much Neolithic history, it’s strikingly scenic and wild.”

Jane at the Iron Age Fort, Bar Hill, East Dunbartonshire. Picture: Supplied

Currently below Edinburgh, and soon to make her way to the Borders, she has progressed through several thousand years from the Stone Age to the Iron Age.

She added: “People don’t realise how much historical importance there is in the islands and Highlands. The are entire areas where you’re just tripping over 5,000-year-old tombs and settlements. It’s truly incredible.

“Sitting with extremely patient archaeologists and devising a rough route is fantastic, but then to see burial cairns and rock art with not another soul in sight is just magical.”

Explaining her reasons for going on such an adventure, Jane said: “I’d travelled abroad for a long time, my post-grad trip of four months turning into years.

Wild camp near Kilmartin. Picture: Supplied

“So I wanted to see Britain, and really see it. I also wanted to do something different, which ruled out walking the coast of the country. And as this has never been done I had a pretty amazing trip.

“It hasn’t been without its difficulties, though. I developed plantar fasciitis in the Outer Hebrides.

“That put me out of action for 10 days. Then my knees started to hurt just before Glasgow. I rested up there and then saw a physio when I got to Edinburgh.

“So now, on top of hiking, I have about an hour of physio exercises that I have to try and do in and out of the tent! It’ll keep the cows amused, anyway, to watch me.”

Jane on St Kilda. Picture: Supplied

From Shetland, she headed to Orkney - Westray, Papa Westray and Mainland.

She added: “The five-tiered barbed wire fences and fields of cows meant was mainly road walking which I am not a fan of.

“So I left after seeing the main Neolithic sites and headed to the Highlands. Heavy rain and flash floods, plus lots of bog, were par for the course. I went from Thurso to Ullapool taking in some roads, a few empty trails and hitting the Cape Wrath trail at Achfary.

“Then it was over to Ullapool - the Cape Wrath trail - the Outer Hebrides where I went to Uig, saw the Callanish Standing Stones, limped like a pirate with the foot to a beach, had 50mph winds, jumped a bus back to Stornaway and whiled away my time in cafes.

“Once the foot seemed OK, I hit the Heabridean Way, and with the help of archaeologist Kevin Murphey, planned my own off-shoot trip to see Neolithic sites.

Jane at the Iron Age Fort, Bar Hill, East Dunbartonshire. Picture: Supplied

“From Castlebay, Outer Hebs, it was over to Oban, then Lismore for Bronze Age burial cairns, then a long but picturesque route over the hills and along Loch Awe to Kilmartin, then down to Tarbert and on 2 national trails into the forests and hills of the lower Highlands to Glasgow.

“From there I headed east to Edinburgh. Right now I’m on my way to more Iron Age forts south of Edinburgh, but have to return to the city to collect a buggy contraption that I’m getting cobbled together for my bag (to save the knees). It’ll be a DIY job, putting a mixture of what I could find and afford, so we’ll have to see how it goes.”

Jane has devised the route herself, moving south as she moves towards 2018, with London being her end point.

She added: “As every adventurer knows, my journey isn’t set in stone, so to speak, it can change depending on weather and also historical information that I would like to add, or remove from my trail as I go.

“The fact that I’m not a historian makes this even more challenging and exciting, as I’m researching and talking to archaeologists, historians and locals as I go.

“The walk is teaching me so much about our incredible county; from how intelligent our ancestors were to respecting the inclement weather.”

Jane said. “I chose to walk because seeing places only accessible on foot gives a whole different dimension to a journey.”

Jane, originally from Merseyside, has been hiking since she was six years old and has walked in the Andes, the Himalayas, the Southern Alps and completed several long-distance routes in Britain.

She has thanked her sponsors - Osprey Packs, Cotswold Outdoor and Adapt Outdoors, who have provided Jane with several pieces of kit.

Wild camp near Kilmartin. Picture: Supplied