A thousand miles in a dress from The Dukes

David Chadderton

The Dukes deputy wardrobe supervisor, Katie Duxbury, is just completing a thousand-mile walk in a costume dress, partly inspired when she was working on Oliver Twist for The Dukes' outdoor show in 2015, both for charity and for science.

She explained, "I wondered how a long dress worn down through wear and tear would look, in contrast to the breaking down of costumes that we do for the theatre with cheese graters, polish and paint. This is why it will be nice to finish at The Dukes, bringing the project home to where it all started."

Katie has worn the dress on 1,000 miles of treks across country, up hills and along beaches, her biggest challenge being Scafell Pike. She climbed the Old Man of Conniston and Esk Pike, but, she said, not all climbs were successful: "walking in the dress was always meant to be more challenging than in modern hiking gear but there were two occasions where we had to make the sensible but disappointing decision to turn back before the summit (Pen-Y-Ghent in Yorkshire and Glyder Fach in Snowdonia) as the wind was threatening to blow me away like a kite."

She was ejected from Edinburgh Castle during festival season, accused of advertising a show, but went on to climb Arthur's Seat.

The walk has raised almost £2,000 for the United Nations Refugee Agency, but further donations are still welcome via the Just Giving web site. A film featuring several of the walks is being produced by local filmmaker Jon Randall.

After 1,000 miles, Katie said of her companion, "the dress is now a lot shorter than it was to begin with. Much of the shortening has been due to the dress being trodden on or parts snagging and tearing on rocks. Now what remains is a dress that is just about the right length for walking in."