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Walk the line

Following the death of two loved ones, novelist and poet, Richard Skinner, set off on a fundraising pilgrimage along Scotland’s West Highland Way, to allow himself to heal and grieve
PHOTOGRAPHS: PREVIOUS PAGE, PAUL GREEVES/GETTY IMAGES; ISTOCK

During the holidays after my A-levels, I worked as an aeroplane cleaner at Gatwick. I found many things on planes that summer, but what would turn out to be the most significant was a small book called Of Walking In Ice by the German filmmaker, Werner Herzog. While in Munich during the winter of 1974, Herzog learned that Lotte Eisner, the famous German film critic and writer, was dying in Paris. ‘Es muss nicht sein [It must not be],’ he said. Taking out a map, he drew a line from Munich to Paris and made a pledge to walk the line in order to keep her alive. It took him 21 days to complete and the book is a record of his journey. (Interestingly, Eisner survived for another nine years after Herzog’s pilgrimage.)

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Psychologies January 2017 - How To Be Charming