Emma Schroder Completes Coastline Walk of Britain

Emma Schroder, 30, has completed her walk around the coastline of Britain. The entire 6,100km route took her two years and three months.

She initially started in 2020, but a few days later, the UK plunged into its COVID lockdown, so she headed home and waited. In July, 2021, she restarted.

Setting off from Lulworth Cove in Dorset, southwest England, she walked clockwise around country. Her method of staying on track was simple: She always kept the sea on her left.

Emma in the first few weeks of her walk

Photo: @mylegshurt.co.uk


She immediately regretted her chosen starting point: a steep uphill that led her to some precarious cliffs. But her sense of humor allowed her to make light of difficulties. Moments later, a man walked past her and took the downhill section like a mountain goat, while dressed in a suit and bowler hat. Later, she saw another man sprinting up the cliff and her first thought was, “What a psychopath.” Then she realized that she herself was on the first day of a two-year hike.

Inevitably, the hike included low points. A few weeks in, she drank some suspect stream water, which made her very ill. She had to stop and nap every hour as she slowly made her way across a beach in “the manner of a particularly lethargic snail.”

Six times she burst into tears while walking, but later realized that she was just hungry. Another time, she tried to take a shortcut and ended up adding 11 extra kilometers to her day. She ended up in tears three more times when she got lost, and then chastised herself for somehow messing up her “keep the sea on your left” rule.

A landscape shot in Scotland showing highland cows.

Many beautiful landscapes en route. Photo: @mylegshurt.co.uk


A two-year walk also brought with it everything the British weather has to offer, from storms and seemingly endless rain to blistering summer heat. In 2022, there was so much rain that her constantly wet feet began to develop trenchfoot.

As a solo woman, she also had to consider her safety. At times, wild camping gave Schroder the willies, as her imagination ran wild. A sudden breeze sounded like someone touching her tent and any rustling outside became a potential axe-murderer. It pushed her out of her comfort zone and showed her courage and resilience that she didn’t know she had.

The aim of the walk was not to complete it as quickly as she possibly could. In fact, she admits she actually walked quite slowly.

“I have also now completed my Lands End to John O’Groats walk in record time — maybe the longest anybody’s ever taken to do such a walk,” she joked when she reached the northern tip of the UK.

Emma Schroder in her waterproofs

Schroder experienced every possible form of “Great British weather.” Photo: @mylegshurt.co.uk


She found a lot of joy in simple things — coastal landscapes, people on the beach, kind offers from strangers. Usually, she camped, so she welcomed the occasional bed.

Schroder carried everything she needed with her, resupplying along the way. Her backpack generally weighed around 15kg. Most of the walk was solo, although friends and family joined her for sections. At other points, she met others who were trekking the coastal pathways and walked with them. One particularly kindred spirit was Juls Stodel, who recently completed her own walk around every bothy in the UK.

When she finally finished on Oct. 8, she admitted, “It’s been the hardest but most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.” Yet she is already planning her next trip, and the possibilities seem endless.

Her jaunty website — cheekily entitled mylegshurt.co.uk — lists a few good-humored highlights from the trek:

highlights of the trek

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca McPhee is a freelance writer for ExplorersWeb.

Rebecca has been writing about open water sports, adventure travel, and marine science for three years. Prior to that, Rebecca worked as an Editorial Assistant at Taylor and Francis, and a Wildlife Officer for ORCA.

Based in the UK Rebecca is a science teacher and volunteers for a number of marine charities. She enjoys open water swimming, hiking, diving, and traveling.