A PAIR of walking boots ended a journey of more than 600 miles from Worcester when they finally set foot in the surf in Southwick on Saturday afternoon.
The boots once belonged to Trevor Antill, the creator of an historic walking route called the Monarch’s Way, travelled by King Charles II during his escape from the battle of Worcester in 1651.
Carried by Minders of the Monarch’s Way, including Trevor’s widow, Margaret, the boots, alongside Trevor’s ashes, arrived at their destination at around 4.30pm.
The route officially ended at the east breakwater, where youngsters spending the afternoon fishing in the sunshine were surprised to see men in 17th century dress suddenly appear.
Several foot soldiers from the historic re-enactment group, Sir William Wallers Lifeguard of Horse, posed for photographs with onlookers, before heading down to the beach below.
General manager of the Monarch’s Way Association, John Tennant, said the last leg of the journey, from Brighton’s Palace Pier, had been a great success.
“We have had a really fantastic day,” he said.
“We have had a good turnout, probably about 50 in total.”
John explained how every time Trevor used to come to a seashore while out walking, he would always put his boots into the water.
And that’s exactly what the Minders did when they reached the end of the 64th leg of the journey, setting Trevor’s boots down in the lapping waves, before handing them over to be taken to France by boat.
Adur councillor Julie Searle was one of those who accompanied the boots to the end of the route.
“It’s absolutely fantastic they are keeping history alive,” she said.
“It’s all part of the history of our area, which is so important.
“It’s something a lot of people don’t know about and this raises the profile of it and makes people realise what a rich tapestry we live in. I’m gobsmacked by it.”
The long-distance walk of 615 miles along footpaths and bridleways, closely follows the route taken by King Charles II and enables walkers to visit many historic sites and buildings along the way.
The route passes through two world-heritage sites, one national park and six areas of outstanding natural beauty.
The walk is way-marked and is shown on the latest editions of the Ordnance Survey’s Landranger and Explorer maps.
The route is described in detail in three books by Trevor Antill.
For six weeks following the Civil-War battle of Worcester in 1651, pursued by the Parliamentary forces of Oliver Cromwell, King Charles II travelled first north towards Wales, then south through the Cotswolds and the Mendips to the South Coast, and finally along the South Downs to Shoreham where he made his escape to France.
A yacht race called the Royal Escape commemorates Charles’ flight from England and sets off every year from Brighton.
This year’s race begins tomorrow.
The race over 67 nautical miles ends in Fécamp on the Normandy coast.