An artist has reached the end of a “life-changing” journey after walking more than 1,550 miles from the north-east to Italy in just 110 days.
Anthony Schrag trekked from Huntly to Venice over three months, in a project spearheaded by the town’s Deveron Arts Group, described as a “modern-day pilgrimage”.
On Thursday, the 39-year-old, who was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in the Middle East, arrived at the prestigious Venice Biennale festival – an international art exhibition which takes place every two years, marking the end of his adventure.
After spending such a long period of time travelling on his own, the performance art specialist described finishing the trip as “surreal”.
He said: “I’ve been in a different bed every night, been in different places every day – it doesn’t feel real that it’s finished.
“But I’m still here in a different place, away from home, so it hasn’t sunk in.
“It’s been rather life-changing in how it has made me think about myself, and about other people – I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard, I had to walk over the Alps after all.”
And Mr Schrag says walking from the UK through France, Italy and Switzerland helped him encounter many different cultures that he would not have experienced had he travelled by car, train or plane.
He added: “When you are on foot you find yourself outside of the big cities, and in little villages and towns where you meet people who haven’t left their own community for 50 years.”
And while most people would be inclined to put their feet up for a few days after such a gruelling hike, Mr Schrag will fly back to Edinburgh today to begin teaching in Glasgow School of Art on Monday.
He said: “I’ve lost about four kilos (9lbs), I’m already not a big guy so that’s quite dangerous, I’ll need to put the weight back on.
“My feet are battered and bruised but thankfully I didn’t get too many blisters – I’m sure my feet will be glad of a change of shoes, I might burn the ones I’ve been wearing just for public safety.”