A GERMAN student is on the verge of completing a mammoth trek across Europe to help raise awareness for climate change.

Johanna Maria Wurtz is a 22-year-old student from Leipzig, Germany, is currently working towards her agricultural degree at her hometown university.

During the summer, Wurtz began working at a stud farm as a university placement in the central Spanish town of Segovia, 90 kilometres north of Madrid.

Due to start at the James Hutton Institute in Dundee, Scotland, in October to begin a barley breeding placement, the adventurer decided to make the journey on foot, as research for her dissertation.

Wurtz would not make the journey alone however, as she would be accompanied by her trusty companion, Hechizo, a 14-year-old miniature Shetland Pony.

“The aim of the trip is to research different farming methods along the way, and to try to understand how climate change is affecting farmers across Europe,” said Wurtz to UK newspaper, The Courier.

“We left Segovia in June and made our way to the French border, it took roughly 40 days.

“My father met me across the border and we drove up to Calais, where we boarded the ferry to continue our journey in the UK.

“My plan was to make an agri-pilgrimage from Spain to Dundee, travelling from farm to farm and talking to people who work in agricultural circles. There’s been a huge difference between Spain and Scotland.”

La Via 2

Along the way, Wurtz and Hechizo stayed in farms, stables and ranches along the way, all the time gaining a better understanding of how farmers in different regions are adapting to the changing environment.

“When I first set off I had no contacts, and just started staying in back yards and with people who keep horses, then farms,” she added.

As her adventure began to gain popularity through her Instagram and Facebook pages, Wurtz set up La Via Campesina Foundation to help raise money for local farmers and farming communities in both Spain and the UK.

Wurtz is currently making her way across Fife towards a short detour to St Andrews before settling down to begin her studies.

“I’ll be staying at Longforgan for the placement, but it won’t feel like it’s over once I get there. It will be strange settling down though.” she said.

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