Take a hike!

Comic's long road to Edinburgh

Stand-up Mark Olver is to walk the 410 miles to the Edinburgh Fringe from his home in Bristol.

The comic will have to leave at the start of June in order to be in the Scottish capital for the start of August’s festival, taking everything he needs with him.

He has booked no hotels on the way – and intends to rely on the kindness of strangers to put him up en route. Each night of the six-week hike – after walking an average of about 15 miles during the day – Olver is also planning a stand-up gig, to raise money for hospices across the UK.

‘I’m doing it because I want to get out of my comfort zone,’ said the 32-year-old. ‘People in general don’t do enough to leave their comfort zone, because we’ve got everything we need at home. We can look at the world on Google Earth, but that’s not the same as experiencing it.

‘I’m a lazy comic who spends so much time sitting in cars, buying sandwiches from petrol stations. I’m rubbish at staying in B&Bs and tend to stay in more expensive hotels because it’s easier.

‘This is my way of seeing Britain and meeting real people, which you don’t get to do when you’re on the road. The prospect is petrifying.’

‘The idea came about during last year’s festival. I couldn’t think what I should do a show about, and was a little bit bored with just chatting. So I’m going to write this year’s show along the way, based on my experiences.

‘A long walk is always something I wanted to do, but I guess it would be easier to just sit down and write a show at my computer like every other comedian.’

He says he’ll be joined by fellow comics for some stretches of the 35-day walk – and possibly one very famous face: Noel Edmonds. Olver does studio audience warm-ups for Deal Or No Deal, which is filmed in Bristol, and said: ‘Noel keeps going on about wanting to do a leg with me.’

He’ll be appearing on local radio stations en route to try to find people willing to put him up, as well as organising the nightly gigs. Half the money he raises will go towards St Peter’s Hospice in Bristol, the rest to local hospices near the gigs.

He sets off on June 9, with a fundraising party at Jesters Comedy Club in Bristol the night before. His route will take him up through Monmouthshire and Herefordshire towards the Lake District, before heading east towards County Durham, then up the east coast to Edinburgh where he hopes to arrive on July 16 in good time to prepare his show, Ramble On.

For his full schedule, and to sponsor him on the walk, visit www.justgiving.com/markolver

Published: 7 May 2008

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