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Last Updated: Monday, 26 January, 2004, 16:47 GMT
Naked rambler to fight on
Stephen Gough
Mr Gough has developed his opinions since leaving the Marines
The so-called naked rambler has hailed his nude hike across Britain as a success and promised to continue his crusade.

Stephen Gough, 44, was fully clothed on Monday and travelling back to his Hampshire home.

He told BBC News Online his 900 mile trek from Land's End to John O'Groats - in protest against society's attitude towards the human body - had put him in touch with similar interest groups.

"The campaign continues," he said. "I will also be doing stuff with other people and I'm involved in various things highlighting the ridiculousness of it all."

The father-of-two admitted his seven-month walk had not always gone to plan but believed he had achieved many of his original aims.

I don't feel ashamed I am proud of what I've done, good people are put in prison, just look at Gandhi
Stephen Gough

"I'd always wanted to do the walk and I had the idea that people would join me. That didn't happen and I got arrested all the time which put people off," he said.

"I don't think anyone was damaged by what I've done and hopefully I've opened people's minds to the fact that a person can be naked in this country and not cause problems."

Despite two court appearances still hanging over him, following arrests in Inverness and Southampton, Mr Gough said his journey had been worth it.

He said: "I expected to be arrested and I'm not really bothered about having a criminal record because I know what it's for.

"I don't feel ashamed - I am proud of what I've done, good people are put in prison, just look at Gandhi."

The former Royal Marine plotted the route in advance, trying to avoid heavily populated areas wherever possible.

But he found himself forced into towns and cities including Edinburgh, Brixton, in London, and Newquay, in Cornwall, to cross strategic bridges.

Stephen Gough
We are all unique. If we haven't got the freedom to be who we are it is damaging to us and to society
Stephen Gough

"I was surprised at how relaxed people were towards me," he said. "When they come across a naked man they can see me for what I am and that I am being quite normal and open, not assertive.

"One guy was out looking for me for two days and when he finally caught up with me he had homemade soup and cake."

Mr Gough prepared his body to experience extremes of temperature by getting a sun tan before he set off in June. Once the colder nights set in he simply sped up.

"As long as I kept going I was OK, and I walked fast mainly to keep warm. I didn't have problems with the cold, if I did I stopped and sheltered," he said.

"I did get blisters quite a lot early on and they became infected so I had to clean them every night," he said.

His own funds for the campaign ran out but he was helped by supporters from across the country who sent donations during his many spells in prison.

Mr Gough said apart from more recognition in his home town he does not expect his life to change and plans to join a naturist group's naked march in London this summer.

"We are all unique. If we haven't got the freedom to be who we are it is damaging to us and to society," he said.

"Throughout the ages people have been fighting for freedom I am just doing the same."





LINKS TO MORE HAMPSHIRE/DORSET STORIES


 

WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Scotland's Craig Anderson
"The real hitch was when he reached the Highlands"


Stephen Gough
"I feel I've not done any harm to anybody else"



SEE ALSO:
Naked rambler completes his trek
22 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Another jail term for naked walker
07 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Naked rambler back behind bars
01 Dec 03  |  Scotland
Naked rambler arrested again
29 Nov 03  |  Scotland
Naked rambler's court ban
07 Nov 03  |  Scotland
'Naked rambler' back in jail
30 Oct 03  |  Hampshire/Dorset



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