A man known as the Naked Rambler has been released from prison – and immediately vowed to keep walking in the nude in his “fight for freedom”.
Stephen Gough, 53, left HMP Saughton in Edinburgh completely naked with his rucksack on his back and his belongings in carrier bags.
The rambler has spent most of the last six years imprisoned in solitary confinement for being nude in public places but said he will continue to stroll naked whenever he wants.
He set off through the Pentland Hills Regional Park, Edinburgh, yesterday and said when he got to a town it would be “pot luck” whether he would be arrested again.
Gough, a former marine from Eastleigh in Hampshire, said: “I have no route or location in mind but my plans are to head south basically, I’m going to head towards Peebles today. I expect to do around 15 miles a day.
“I have no idea if I’ll be arrested again. I’ll just have to wait and see what happens. I’ll be fine in the woods but when I get to a town there could be trouble.
“When I’m not walking and it’s cold I do wear my clothes to keep warm.
“But I’m going to sort out my clothes from the carrier bags and put them in my rucksack and get on my way naked. Hopefully the weather will stay warm.”
Gough was seen walking unclothed near a children’s play park in Dunfermline, Fife, on July 20 and was sentenced to five months in jail at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court last month -where he appeared naked in the dock.
He also said he would not co-operate with social workers tasked with assessing his mental health.
Sheriff James Williamson said Gough had behaved with arrogance and self-indulgence after repeatedly being convicted of breach of the peace following complaints about his nakedness.
But the rambler yesterday insisted that it was his right to walk naked and said the threat of prison would not deter him from being unclothed in public places.
He said: “I’ve been in prison so many times during my life – over 20 times I think for various things.
“They treated me just the same as always this time round, like any other prison. I was in solitary confinement again.
“But I do this because I want to. I don’t know why the police and authorities have such a problem with it. I’m not hurting anybody.
“I want my freedom. But that’s the way it works for people who fight for their freedom, they get locked up for it. But I will continue to fight for freedom.
“There are a lot of totalitarian countries out there that people criticise but in some ways we aren’t much different.”