four Polish men have walked 500 miles to Edinburgh, just for fun – only to get their tent stolen when they arrived.
The friends, all 23, decided to take the long-distance trip to give them a cheap holiday after working in Chelmsford, Essex for several months. Despite the setback, which left them sleeping rough for two days, they have decided that they love Edinburgh so much they are going to make it home.
Walker Alan Golebiowski arrived in Chelmsford from Puławy in Eastern Poland in April 2010, and worked in a laundry.
His friends arrived in May this year and they decided to round off their summer with the walking trip.
He said the journey itself, which took 39 days, had been straightforward: “It was really good, really fun, but really hard as well. We slept in a tent, we were looking for spots in every place.
“We stayed mostly in parks, because the police said to us it was the safest place to stay.
“We were walking not on the main streets, but through the villages, in the mountains. We liked it, We didn’t have any big problems, but we had problems like getting water from somewhere and the weather was really bad for us, and when we had the tent in the mountains it was windy.
“We had backpacks and it was really heavy because we took too much stuff.”
The trek was so tough that three of the seven taking part dropped out halfway through.
The remaining walkers were thrilled to arrive in Edinburgh in time to enjoy the festival atmosphere, and found a rather unusual place to stay: “We arrived and we put the tent in the Meadows.
“We stayed two, maybe three, days and we met some Canadian people who put their tent next to us.
“One day we left the tent and just took our backpacks and went to Tesco and after one and a half hours we went back and everything was gone.
He said they reported the theft to the police, but nothing was found.
Mr Golebiowski added: “Now we know that it’s illegal to camp there, but we didn’t have any problems.”
After sleeping rough in the Capital for two nights, they met a Polish man who offered to help them find accommodation.
Currently staying just off Leith Walk, Mr Golebiowski is now working as a street sweeper and his friends are also looking for work and hope to say in the city.
He said: “It’s a very beautiful city, when we came to Edinburgh we decided to stay because it’s really impressive.”