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Former Reuters man in Madrid walks to the Rock

Brian Mooney, a member of the Common Council of London and former Chief Correspondent for Reuters in Madrid, arrived in Gibraltar on Wednesday having walked from the Spanish capital.

The last time Mr Mooney was on the Rock was in 1984 to bring the news of Spain opening the frontier gates to the rest of the world.

His journey of 740 kilometres took 25 days with an average of 30 kilometres walked each day.

The most arduous parts of his trek were the sierras Morena and Grazalema.

Describing the moment, he exited the sierra and saw the Rock of Gibraltar in the distance he said he felt “enormous excitement” and the sight of the monolith was “rewarding”.

Mr Mooney’s passion for walking comes from two sources, one the “anarchist” in him because he can walk where he wants, for as long as he wants and it is not a regulated activity. The other because he “becomes part of the landscape again” he can see the vista unfold in front of him where he can “hear birds and enjoy flowers”. This gives him “inner tranquillity”.

During his journey, he noticed how much Spain has changed over the years. He said the drivers and the roads were better but many towns seemed as if they had “ground to a halt” and were affected by the economic downturn.

In direct contrast to that, he noted that neighbouring Spanish town La Línea had “a sense of transformation” since the mid 80’s when he saw the town as “rundown and sad”.

Mr Mooney is no stranger to walking long distances and in May 2014 he walked from London to Madrid via Santander, a journey of 1742 kilometres.

However, it was his walk from North Essex in the UK via London - so he can walk from St Paul’s Cathedral to St Peter’s Basilica- and back that inspired him to complete his Spanish trek and “logically” he said that took him from Madrid to Gibraltar.

His journey to Rome and back spurred Mr Mooney to write two books on the experience, called ‘A long way for Pizza’ and ‘The Wrong Way for a Pizza’.

Mr Mooney is also the chairman of the Confraternity of Pilgrims to Rome.


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