The event will launch the College’s celebrations of its 700th anniversary next year, and will involve the Rector hiking for a maximum of 11 days.
Cairncross is hoping that completing the journey will raise £10,000 for the College’s Richard Sandbrook Scholarship, which allows students to work on environmental projects during the Summer Vac.
She commented: “I chose to raise money for the Richard Sandbrook internship because it’s about encouraging our students to learn to use their skills for the benefit of the environment. Richard was a fine environmentalist, but used intelligence, numeracy, and rigour to fight battles, not just emotion.”
A whole year of celebrations is planned to commemorate the College’s anniversary. However, the Rector stated that she thought it was important that the hike was the first event undertaken as “walking from Devon is what Exeter’s students did for hundreds of years, especially the poor ones, and so it seemed a good symbolic way to begin.”
The route will begin at Exeter Cathedral in Devon and finish at Exeter College, both projects of 14th-century founder Walter de Stapleton. Cairncross’ trek will take her through West Country sites such as Yetminster and Devizes, as well as Oxfordshire’s own Milton Hill.
Her endeavour has been advertised to Exeter students and staff, with Cairncross stating that several alumni had told her that they planned to join her for part of the walk.
She plans to begin her hike on July 25th, and to arrive at Exeter by no later than Sunday 11th August.
Cairncross stressed that she would not be going into her upcoming experience unprepared. She has been training by walking from Tackley to Oxford along the local canal, a “beautiful” route which she said she’d recommend “to anybody trying to recover from Finals.”
Cairncross took up the position of Rector in 2004, having previously served as the Management Editor of The Economist.