Starsky & Hutch - 21st Century Environmental Explorers

April 13, 2023  •  1 Comment

Storm Noah was surging through that night as I sat in dim candlelight listening to the rain lashing against the windows and the wind skirled around the house. It was strangely peaceful. I felt safe, warm and secure.

Whilst idly roaming through my phone apps a post on a Facebook community page I follow immediately caught my eye. A travelling visitor who had taken shelter for the night in the local football ground stand, was getting grief for some local unworthy youths. Teenagers with nothing better to do than throw planks of wood at his tent as he cowered in the dark with his best friend Starsky, a rescue dog he picked up in 2017 whilst travelling though Portugal and is now his travelling companion.

His post was a cry for help to the community.

Starsky and Hutch mobileStarsky and Hutch mobileMartins own photo he used on his Facebook page

“I have walked 34.000km across 21countries and cycled 35.000km across 16 to highlight what we are doing to our environment. 757 schools I have given talks in. I have come to your town on the way to Wales.
Now camping out in the stand at the football ground because of the heavy rain so far the kids have thrown at us a large traffic cone and 2 planks of wood. - Martin Hutchinson and Starsky in Google for more information”

I read many well meaning posts from others who were also reading his post saying how the community wasn’t a bad place and sorry he was having issues. But then I thought about it some more. Was he safe?

So at 10:30pm on a stormy, very wet and windy night, I donned my cagoule and headed out to find him.

Emotions were running high as to what I might do if said teenagers were still there. My anger was building. My muscles stiffing. Ready for anything.

When I arrived at the stadium it was silent and pitch dark. As I entered and crossed the flat rows of wooden seating I thought I could make out a dark shape on the opposite side of the players tunnel midway. Stepping carefully over the tunnel gap (and a six or seven foot drop), I found what looked like a tent but it was still hard to make out.

“Martin are you there?” I think I called.

“yes” came the reply.

“Are you OK?”

I got to the tent opening and sitting back inside was our intrepid traveller unsure of my approach. The dog lay still and so I shone my phone camera torche inside the tent and there he was crouched inside. I snapped a quick photo, then pointing the light back on me, introduced myself.

_20230412_215519_20230412_215519Martin in his tent with bycicle and his dog Starky on the night I located him

Satisfied that he and his companion were OK I exchanged my contact number and Facebook profile and said to let me know in the morning how he had got on. I had offered to bring him home with me but he didn’t want to get all his gear soaked and was for the time being anyway, dry and settled.

With that in mind I set back into the dismal night of wind and rain. By the time I arrived home, I was soaking wet but relieved that I had not left a stranger to the whims of our local welcoming party.

Ignorance is everywhere today. Had they bothered to ask who he was, he could have told them his amazing story and offered them something more than the banal attitude they held. Something about overcoming adversity, finding strength in oneself and the courage to live a life unfettered by convention. Surely that would have peaked their interest? But no, planks of wood, a traffic cone and some hurled abuse was all they had to offer.

Next morning I got a call. Martin had survived the night. A local woman had brought him porridge and hot coffee and he was already online thanking the community for their good wishes. I invited him for coffee and he arrived later that morning in his amazing bicycle that carries Starsky and him under partial cover as they pedaled through the tarmac universe of Europe and now Britain together.

It was late morning when he arrived so I asked if he was hungry. We didn’t have much in the house to offer but I rustled up an omelette with cheese and pastrami, some toast and coffee which he seemed to enjoy as he cleared his plate and began to tell me more about himself and his canine companion.

20230412_MG_4167- Starsky-and-Hutch_5D20230412_MG_4167- Starsky-and-Hutch_5DEnjoying a warm meal for lunch

20230412_MG_4161- Starsky-and-Hutch_5D20230412_MG_4161- Starsky-and-Hutch_5DMartin with Starsky by his side. 20230412_MG_4172- Starsky-and-Hutch_5D20230412_MG_4172- Starsky-and-Hutch_5DStarsky the rescue dog Martin acquired in Portugal in 2015 and has accomanied him ever since. 20230412_MG_4171- Starsky-and-Hutch_5D20230412_MG_4171- Starsky-and-Hutch_5D 20230412_MG_4175- Starsky-and-Hutch_5D20230412_MG_4175- Starsky-and-Hutch_5DOn a World Environment Tour 2008-2030

I had messaged my local pub (St Ronan's Hotel) to see if he could use their beer garden to camp the following night which Derek had readily agreed to, but by morning the local camp site had offered him a stay in one of their pods. So that was that and I said to let me know when he got settled and I’d pop back down to see him and take a few more photos. The idea being to see if the local press might print up something about him as he passed through our locality.

I received a call later in the afternoon and drove down to the campsite where he was staying, ‘Tweedside Caravan Park’ where the owners had gifted him a two-man pod free of charge for the night. It’s an act of generosity like this that differentiates between the worthy and the unworthy souls that inhabit our world today. Everywhere it seems we see the stark division between those who protect and save lives and those who destroy and persecute, just because they can. 20230412_MG_4188- Starsky-and-Hutch_5D20230412_MG_4188- Starsky-and-Hutch_5DTweedside Caravan Park

20230412_MG_4184- Starsky-and-Hutch_5D20230412_MG_4184- Starsky-and-Hutch_5DOne of the pods where Starsky & Hutch spent the night out of the rain.

20230412_MG_4180- Starsky-and-Hutch_5D20230412_MG_4180- Starsky-and-Hutch_5D

I got the chance to talk with Martin more deeply for a couple of hours and what you see on the road with all the baggage is in stark contrast to the simplicity of thought and the personal freedom just to be.

At 62, Martin has been travelling and exploring the world for over forty years since his late teens, the past 17 walking and more recently cycling. He has surveyed the world not through the selective lenses of glossy brochures or carefully edited marketing, but by objective reality and direct experience. Fate had a different path in store for him and so he never married his first love and though proficient in maths, never completed his academic career, eventually acquiring skill as a carpenter which has held him in good stead throughout his life and travels.

His family genealogy connects him locally to Wales on his father side and to Manchester where he was raised, but interestingly, also to Indian Royalty through his mother’s line. He has seen the loss of close family to illness and mental health issues; been chased and attacked by armed gangs in south America; worked as a carpenter craftsman on yacht refits for the wealthy in yards from Australia to Hong Kong, and even amassed enough money in time to own two yachts of his own both of which he had to leave behind to attend to a variety of family bereavements and events back home.

Martin also worked on the initial stages of the building of a new three-mast clipper-style wooden ship, The Tenacious, a project run by The Jubilee Sailing Trust based in Southhampton, to be built in part by and have inclusion for disabled people. Funding for it began in 1993 and she was completed in 2000, so we should definitely add sailing to cycling and walking as his preferred modes of transport.                              (see

To end this piece all I can say is Martin is very happy, enjoys the simple life and yet it would be wrong to see him as a mis-fit, climate activist or tree-hugger. He is engaging, communicative, intelligent and passionate about raising awareness of the damage we are doing to our planet, whether it be the simple act of litter dropping on our roadside verges (Scotland has a worse record than India per head of population!!) and coastline beaches, or tackling more complex issues concerning corporate irresponsibility. Any publicity he receives is only to help him carry on with his Life Mission to report what environmental issues he finds and keep him motivated.

So keep following your star Martin, whether in this life or the next, to wherever it leads you. It’s been my pleasure to have crossed your path as we sojourn through life.

20230412_MG_4173- Starsky-and-Hutch_5D20230412_MG_4173- Starsky-and-Hutch_5D

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