Contributed by Susan
Description: A Wonderful Pedestrian Englishman Who Gained a Reputation for His Long and Fast WalksDate: August 22 1900
Newspaper published in: Biloxi, MS
A Wonderful Pedestrian Englishman Who Gained a Reputation for His Long and Fast Walks
Probably the greatest English pedestrian that ever lived was Captain BARKLEY. Born in 1779 of a fine old Quaker family in Kincardineshire, he astonished the natives when only 17 years of age by walking a fair tow-and-heel match of six miles an hour. Not content with being the champion of the countryside, he came to London and startled the athletic world by walking 70 miles in 14 hours during excessively hot weather.
His first great feat, however, was in 1800 when he undertook for a bet of 5,000 guineas to walk 90 miles in 21-1/2 successive hours. The ground chosen was one-mile track on the high road between York and Hull, and thousands of people from all parts of the country came to see him as he sped along "dressed in a flannel shirt, flannel trousers, lamb's wool stockings, an thick-soled leather boots." The sporting Yorkshire crowd went almost crazy with enthusiasm when the young gentleman finished with seven minutes of the appointed time. But apart from the regular competitions, his powers were extraordinary and many of the most fabulous stories of this mortal with seven-league boots are well authenticated. All weathers were the same to him and the roads good or indifferent mattered little. On one occasion in the depth of winter, he crossed the Grampians, and accomplished a hundred miles' walk in 17 hours, exclusive of stoppage.
In the autumn of 1808, BARKLEY was on a visit to Colonel FARQUHARSON in Aberdeenshire, and performed one of his great feats. Starting at five in the morning, he scoured 30 miles of hills after grouse, and returned in the afternoon. In the evening he set off for his house, 60 miles distant, which he reached in 11 hours without a stoppage. In the afternoon he proceeded to the country town, 16 miles distant, danced at a ball during the night, and returned home at seven o'clock in the morning. But not to sleep, for
he immediately set off to spend the day partridge shooting on the moors. It was calculated that the least distance he could have covered was a hundred and fifty miles, and that without having been in bed for two nights and nearly three days. BARKLEY was the first man who ever succeeded in walking a thousand miles in a thousand consecutive hours which he accomplished in 1809. The time actually occupied in covering the distance was 396 hours, or an average of 81 miles per 24 hours.
His style of walking was to bend the body forward and throw the weight on the knees. His step was short, and he raised his foot only about two inches from the ground. In addition to being a walker, he was a great runner, once won a wager to lift 12 hundredweight by a rope, and could life a man weighing 18 stone clear on to a table. He was well educated, wrote a book called "An Agricultural Tour Through the United States and Canada," and might be considered an expert in matters agricultural. His death took place on August 1, 1844, when he was 65 years of age, and the last male representative of his race. [From The London Standard].