A COUPLE who walked the length of the country have published a book on their feat and are already undertaking an even longer expedition.

Helen Shaw and Bob Shelmerdine, who live near Slaidburn, trekked from Land’s End to John o’Groats over seven stages and 81 days between March 2013 and October 2014.

Their book on the experience, ‘Land’s End to John o’Groats’, is picture-led, with striking images by Miss Shaw, a photographer and writer.

She also supplies notes on the pair’s thoughts and experiences as they wind their way from Cornwall to Caithness, taking in Barley, Crawshawbooth and Padiham, her home town. The route also takes in Mr Shelmerdine’s native area in Cheshire.

It was an unforgettable experience for both, although Miss Shaw does not shy away from chronicling the pain that comes with walking more than 1,000 miles.

She writes: “We wanted to make a salute to our country and to honour its scenery, people, places and history. It is an epic voyage.

“The hardships, blisters and tiredness are instantly forgotten. There wasn’t a worst bit. It was all fascinating.”

Now about 560 miles into their second expedition, by a different route, the pair, both 59, have no doubts about how they were blown away by the experience.

Miss Shaw said: “It told me how empty Britain is. We walked through miles and miles and miles of the most stunning scenery and saw nobody. Britain has so many places where you can find peace, silence and beauty.

“As for me, it taught me that if I set my mind on something, I can achieve it.”

Mr Shelmerdine said: “It taught me that Britain has a huge history and ‘head down, keep going’.”

The couple knew immediately that they wanted to do another similar walk and their current journey will be even longer.

Mr Shelmerdine said: “We were going to go north to south but we were pining for the South West again, so broadly we are going to go up the east coast of England and west coast of Scotland.

“The first walk was about 1,200 miles but this one will probably be nearer 2,000.”

The book is published by Merlin Unwin and costs £14.99.