Zoë Bicât and Falco the mule set off yesterday to walk from Oxford to Loch Lomond, and we’re excited that they will be using Slow Ways where possible. Might you be able to help? If you live along their route and have time for a walk, perhaps you could walk one of their Slow Ways and report back whether it is mule-accessible.
Who are they?
Zoë is a woman of many skills: an injury rehabilitation therapy, teacher of Tai Chi Qigong, writer, editor, and nature-tracking walk leader for children. She writes songs and poems too, and is no doubt bringing all of these skills to this huge journey, several years in the planning. Falco is a more recent addition – they’ve been getting to know each other since 2019.
Why are they walking?
Zoë and Falco are walking from Zoe’s home to the hometown of Polly Higgins QC, the woman who created the Stop Ecocide campaign.
Polly’s vision was an amendment to the Rome Statute to include ecocide (killing the environment) alongside the four core international crimes, including war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. If it passed, this law would protect ecosystems anywhere in the world from large-scale damage or destruction. It would be a steer for business, industry and government funding away from what destroys the living world, and towards what restores and protects it.
The campaign is working with a growing global network of lawyers, diplomats, and across all sectors of civil society, towards making ecocide an international crime.
Zoë and Falco are raising funds and awareness for the Stop Ecocide campaign, giving talks at schools, and inviting people to be involved in creative and practical ways.
Where are they walking?
The walk goes from Oxford, Zoë’s hometown, to Loch Lomond where Polly Higgins QC grew up. They are planning to make use of the Pennine Bridleway for the middle section of the walk, and the Scotland section has already been checked. This still leaves long stretches on either side that are uncertain. They need your help in checking them out in advance!
How can I help with their route?
Have a look at the waylists below. If you are nearby and have time for a walk, you could try one of these routes, paying particular attention to these three factors:
- Are there any locked gates or stiles?
- Are there narrow passages (less than 1.50m wide. Zoë says that it’s ok if the narrowness is brief, eg getting through an opening, but not if it’s any further than a few metres)
- Does the route pass any schools or colleges (within 5 miles)
Once you have walked the route, please review it as usual but mention in your review that it is or is not mule-accessible. Zoë and her route-co-ordinating helpers will be able to see what you have written. You may want to do a full survey of the route – a guide to surveying is here.
If you are too far from their route, but intrigued by the project, there are other ways to get involved too. Check out Zoë’s website to find out how to donate, do your own walk to raise funds for ecocide law, or contribute to her collaborative textile artwork.
Good luck Zoë and Falco! We hope the road rises to meet you, stile-free and mule-width at all times.