BY: Michelle Liew
A woman from Britain has completed a staggering 5,000-mile (approximately 8046.72 km) walk from Ukraine to Wales.
Ursula Martin returned to Llanidloes, Powys, earlier this month three years after setting off from the Kiev, Ukraine.
According to Ursula, the lengthy trek was to raise awareness of ovarian cancer, which she was diagnosed with 10 years ago. When she was diagnosed, she was due to walk back to the UK after kayaking at River Danube, which runs from Germany to Romania.
“I ended up in Bulgaria about to walk back to Britain, and I got ovarian cancer. I wasn’t ready to go back and do the big tough journeys, so I did a 3,500 mile walk in Wales which was very much a ‘symptoms of ovarian cancer awareness raising journey’,” said Ursula according to BBC.
“Then I had this sense of ‘where was I, what was I doing?’, and I was about to walk across Europe – I just wanted to finish what I started.”
Ursula then started her journey from Ukraine, which she calls “Europe plus one” as it was at the edge of the continent. However, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and she encountered problems with accommodation.
“The immediate thing was ‘wherever you are you need to go home and stay there’, and when you haven’t got a home and you’re in a foreign country that was such a shock.”
She then sought help from friends and family for places to stay.
“I wound up in a friend’s sister’s holiday home in the south of France for that first big lockdown last March, for about 90 days.
“Then I just walked where I could then stop again if the country I was in had another lockdown, so it was just this cat and mouse game of walking where I should then stopping.
“It never felt like I should go home because I’d just be facing the pandemic in a different place. I’m really glad I did it.
“I was on lockdown for about six months of the last year, I would have finished about last December I think if it hadn’t been for the pandemic.
“The actual entry to Wales just felt really familiar and normal, it’s been so great seeing everyone, but it just feels really normal… like when you see good friends and go straight back into the swing of things.
“I couldn’t sleep well last night because of the adrenaline, and my feet were hurting because I walked quite hard yesterday.
“When I woke up this morning, I had this flash of ‘where am I walking today, where do I have to get to?’. It’s going to happen for a few days before I remember I don’t have to walk I think, that there’s no journey to continue.”
Going through seven or eight pair of boots along her journey, Ursula never gave up in her cause, truly inspiring everyone.
In January, Ursula will be doing a “mini-challenge” from John O’Groats to Land’s End as a commemoration of the 10-year anniversary of her ovarian cancer.