Newcastle, United Kingdom—The 2021 “Peace Road” event concluded after eight days, with participants walking across the United Kingdom along the path of Hadrian’s Wall.
The wall, a famous landmark in the U.K., was built by Roman soldiers in the second century A.D. as a defense fortification across northern England near the border with Scotland.
From July 31 to August 7, more than 30 supporters of UPF and affiliated organizations carried the “Peace Road” banner from Bowness on the west coast to Wallsend on the east coast – a distance of 154 kilometers (more than 95 miles).
Although many of the participants were experienced long-distance walkers, the 300,000 steps of the path were still challenging.
The “Peace Road” participants weren’t the only ones walking the Wall, and they met many friendly and determined people walking across the country in both directions for a variety of reasons.
One particularly moving encounter was with a father, his son, and a friend. The father was totally blind and held onto a rope attached to his friend’s backpack. Meanwhile, the 9-year-old son walked proudly in front.
Among the “Peace Road” participants, the youngest was 15 and the eldest over 80. For all, it was an incredibly moving experience combining their utmost physical efforts with a deep spiritual purpose. As they walked, they often thought about the UPF founders, Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, who walked as refugees from North Korea to South Korea so many years ago.
The participants also imagined a time in the future when they would be able to walk from South Korea to North Korea, across the 38th parallel, to visit the founders’ hometowns of Anju and Cheonju.
Saturday, August 7, was the last day of walking, one week after leaving Bowness on the west coast, and the participants were happy to arrive in the city of Newcastle and be welcomed by the lord mayor, Habib Rahman.
Mayor Rahman is still in his 40s and, as a Muslim man in a city where there are not so many Muslims, has had to overcome many prejudices. He spoke encouragingly about the work of UPF and asked to be invited to future UPF programs. Then he walked with the participants through his own city for several kilometers, posing to take photographs at some of the bridges for which Newcastle is famous.
In the city of Carlisle near the start of the eight-day walk, the mayor, Pam Birks, also had joined the group, so the participants felt hopeful that this event was raising the public profile of UPF.