Nicosia, Cyprus 2015
As the year opened, I was serving as a Captain in the British Army, attached as a staff officer in Battlegroup Headquarters to the 2nd Battalion of The Mercian Regiment.
We were halfway through a six-month tour as part of the United Kingdom’s ongoing commitment to the United Nations’ peacekeeping operation (called UNFICYP) between Northern Cyprus (controlled by the Turks) and the Republic of Cyprus (the southern half of the island controlled by the Greeks). The primary task of the battlegroup was to monitor the famous ‘Green Line’ between the opposing sides, running right through the country’s capital, Nicosia – denoted by the dotted lines in the map above.
The history of this dispute is well documented so I won’t go into it here, and whilst certainly not the most-arduous tour (to say the least), we were all looking forward to flying home at the end of March that year.
Somewhere along the line, just after January, I somehow got it into my head (and I’m still not really sure how or why) that it would be ‘a bit of an adventure’ to walk back to the UK once the tour was finished.
A little bit of googling revealed that this was nearer to 3000 miles than not and would take some time to achieve.
Unperturbed, and quite unknowing as to what I was embarking myself upon, I set about making it happen.
At 0930hrs (ish) on 25th March 2015, after a very civilised breakfast, I stepped off from Ledra Palace Hotel on the western edge of old town Nicosia where we were stationed (marked in pink above).
I walked out the front gate, paused, turned left and took my first steps towards London.
This is the account of what happened over the following five months…
Who am I?
My name is Edward Lloyd Owen.
I am a self-employed, freelance photographer, writer, web designer and reservist Army officer. I also am a pogonophile; especially in a military context.
You can find out as much as you need to know on my LinkedIn profile and by following me on Twitter and Instagram (links below).