It was a case of so near and yet so far for Jimmy Harmer as extreme weather conditions and injury prevented him from reaching his goal of walking around the world in honour of his father.
Mr. Harmer of Swaffham in Norfolk vainly battled misty weather for countless minutes as he tried to circumnavigate the planet to raise money for charity to remember his father, Jacko, who attempted the journey in 1976.
“It was far tougher than I had imagined’ he said last night back in the comfort of his Norfolk home after his return by Eastern Counties bus. “I had no idea that the pavements would run out so soon and what with the mist and a blister caused by my ill-fitting slippers, I could see there was no way I could carry on. I may not be experienced in these matters, but I had done my homework and knew that this was a life or death situation.”
Although Mr. Harmer, 54, fell about 7,997 miles short of his destination, he felt that his battle with the elements was a fitting tribute to his late father, whose own transglobe expedition had ended in disaster when hunger had forced him to eat his reserve supply of mars bars early into day one of his epic journey.
“I had planned my route travelling from East to West, whilst Dad had set out from West to East.” he explained. “The way I look at it is that we covered the start and finish of the walk, so we did the main bits between us and just missed out a few miles in the middle.”
His son Neville, who lives next door to his father, spoke proudly last night of his father’s bravery. “Dad has not really spoken about his journey, but he was out there for nearly an hour and a half. It is hard to imagine what he endured. I just hope that one day I will have the courage to emulate his achievement and go off to the mysterious Far East. Lowestoft perhaps.”