Ex-marine and ‘Naked Rambler’ Steve Gough is at it again, this time with his girlfriend, Melanie, and an anonymous librarian. Seems that tramping round the countryside starkers makes him feel good about himself, although his companions have their own and as yet undisclosed motives for strolling in the buff.
He first attempted the mammoth walk from John’s End to John O’Groats in 2003, but his plans were scuppered because, not surprisingly, he kept getting arrested.
There was a good interview with him tonight on Radio Five Live’s Drive show and Gough’s great line when he accused veteran presenter, Peter Allen, of being ‘bodyist’ after he suggested that some bodies look more attractive covered than uncovered.
It reminded me of a family holiday we had in Fuerteventura (there’s a handy zoomable map here) where there are quite few nudist beaches. We visited one in the south of the island and you can see Peter Allen’s point — they seem to be mainly populated by nut-brown, overweight Germans. Not a pretty sight.
But it was trip to the north of the island that reminds of the naked rambler. We had gone to see the sand dunes and the camels, but ended up on the beach just south of the town of Carralejo. There were nudists there too, but they generally kept to the bunkers that someone had earlier built out of stones. (Quite impressive structures some of them were too.)
This had nothing to do with modesty, but with self-preservation — the wind is really fierce in that part of the island and without the bunkers, you’d end up getting your bits sand-blasted every time you stood up.
Anyway, we got on with the usual things that families do on the beach — building sandcastles, leaping in and out of the (cold) sea, collecting shells, sobbing when refused another ice cream (that was me) or another beer (that was me too.)
I was sitting sulking on my beach towel when I spotted a figure in the distance striding purposefully along the shoreline. As he drew nearer, I could make out a six foot middle-aged bloke with a beard wearing nothing but a beanie hat, sandals (with socks) and a small rucksack.
He marched past us and showed no signs of stopping to change before entering Corralejo. I dare say there were a few folk put off their chorizos that afternoon.