A European network, reaching as far as the Pacific.
Footprints that are still fresh
In most of the places marked by Stevenson’s passage, his footprints are still fresh today – brough to life in the imagination, perhaps, by his stories of hidden treasure and piratical raids, or simply kept alive in the memory of the villages and towns along his path. In one, a remembered donkey; in another, the first meeting with Fanny, with whom he would share his life; elsewhere, an encounter in a canoe, or the spot where part of a book was written. From these diverse memories, various local initiatives have developed, at first in isolation from one another. Some of these initiatives have grown into sizeable activities, such as, for instance, hiking and travelling with donkeys in the Cévennes in southern France, while others have sought to bring to life the stories of pirates and treasure in Bristol, or set out to retrace canoe trips from Belgium through northern France. An organisation in the north of Scotland takes disadvantaged young people out hiking to rebuild their self-confidence.
Over time, contacts have developed between all these groups and associations. In 2013 they decided to create a joint network association, based on these shared values:
- Openness towards others, celebrating local distinctiveness, supporting minorities, bringing together the peoples of Europe and building tolerance.
- Protecting and developing the cultural, natural, local and European heritage of the localities though which Robert Louis Stevenson passed, and thereby playing a part in the economic and social development of these areas.
- Sharing experience and good practice
- Encouraging cultural tourism as a motive force in the sustainable development of these areas
- Drawing strength from the mustually reinforcing cultural, environmental and economic dimensions of the activities
It has been by sharing experience, mounting joint projects and launching initiatives together that the network has grown in both size and effectiveness over time.
The European network association currently consists of 15 member organisations, with further expansion to include partners in the Loire region and in Switzerland, and exchanges also being developed with the USA and Oceania. The association’s registered office is at Fontainebleau (France). The members of its governing board are as follows :
President : Michel LEGROS
Vice-president Belgium : Marc LEGEIN
Vice-president UK : Ian GARDINER
Vice-president France: Christian BROCHIER
Treasurer : Ian FULLER
Secretary : Elisabeth JUBE