Having declared myself homeless and following seven months training, on 8th August 2012, I left Blackpool with the intention of raising money for Help for Heroes by walking all the way around the coast of mainland Britain. The route is documented to measure 6,824 miles – however my journey is being completed without using ferries, so the actual mileage achieved at the end of all this may well prove to be much more!
As my challenge is being undertaken in an anti-clockwise fashion, the Wales Coast Path was one of the first major paths I reached. Being the summer holiday season (yes, wet!), I was soon welcomed by the tourists and locals alike and on occasion was invited into homes, pubs and camp sites to share food and a pint or three! One area that I specifically felt a strong connection with is Newborough Forest, Newborough Beach and Llanddwyn Island on the Isle of Anglesey. This will be the special place that one day I will definitely be returning to and perhaps secretly wish it was really my back garden! I feel proud to have walked this new path in its infancy and to have met with nothing but kindness and generosity along its route. The people of Wales are truly some of Britain’s finest!
As an ex-infantryman myself, I have seen the difficulties soldiers face once returning to life as a civilian. Many struggle to reintegrate into normal family life, often due to a lack of counselling and support. This can lead to further problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, dependency on drink and drugs and thus divisions within families. Sadly, there are too many ex-servicemen who end up living on the streets as a result. My aim is not only to raise an obscene sum of money for Help for Heroes but to enhance public awareness of our homeless soldiers by sleeping as they would sleep. On completion of this mammoth trek I will, to the best of my knowledge, be the first man to have walked the whole of the coastline of Britain using no ferries and sleeping rough.
At the time of writing this, I am just over a quarter of the way through the walk and have tramped over 2000 miles, carrying my 30kg Bergen and my mascot Sebastian. Due to my crucial overnight survival, I need to reach Scotland in the early spring, and so have estimated this challenge could take as much as three years to finish. However, I do not forward plan more than a day or so in advance but will deal with, enjoy, experience, reflect upon and record via my blog what each day offers me. I have joked that it will either kill me or make me - you can follow my journey to its conclusion in Blackpool via Facebook (Christian around Britain).
- Feeling inspired but want a walk that’s more manageable? Click here for great walking routes along the Welsh coast. Choose your ideal region and then select whether you want a short (under 5 miles) or a long route (over 5 miles).