On November 30, it is St Andrew’s Day, national day of Scotland, an opportunity for Scots around the world to mark the nation’s day. This month, to coincide with the special occasion, RH History Uncovered looks back 56 years to 1962 when two fearless Crawley teenagers embarked on a walk from the town to the Scottish capital, Edinburgh.
Back in August 1962, two intrepid teenagers put on their walking shoes on and set about walking from West Sussex to the East of Scotland. The month that saw Jamaica celebrate its independence from the UK, the arrest of Nelson Mandela which would lead to his 27 years imprisonment, and John Lennon marry his first wife Cynthia would also see Jeff Herbert, 16, and Philip Cranford, 14, take the high road.
The pair’s walking route took in the towns and cities of Oxford, Coventry, Derby and Huddersfield before concluding north of the border in Edinburgh. Jeff explains that when the boys reached Huddersfield and were met by the West Yorkshire rain they asked the owner of a small shop if they had a suggestion of where they could stay for the night. He offered the boys his daughter’s wendy house in his back garden.
Speaking 56 years after the adventure of a lifetime, Jeff Herbert, now 72, and who lives in Southgate West, says of the long and arduous cross-country walk: “By foot, the ways of getting to Edinburgh will have changed over the past 50-odd years. It was great meeting so many interesting people. The days when no motorways existed and fewer cars on the road, you couldn’t walk in the same footsteps.”
After reaching the Scottish capital by foot, local man and inventor Major Collison who lived in Ifield paid for the boys to return home by plane and they flew from Scotland, returning to London Heathrow.
Jeff and Philip both remember with great fondness their walk and contrast the year of their epic adventure, 1962 to today in 2018, the great social changes and technological advances, Jeff says: “Both Philip and my children found it hard to comprehend that we would undertake such an adventure, but such an adventure did us both the power of good and something we can look back on with pride.”
By Jacob White