Former British Army man Christian Lewis is on a mission; to walk the entire coastline of the United Kingdom while raising money (and awareness) for a charity that helped him through some of the toughest times in his life. Inspired equally by a love of travel and a desire to challenge himself, Chris has spent the past year on the move, hiking hills, valleys, beaches, roads and routes with a tent on his back.
The idea to undertake such an ambitious project came to Chris when his daughter left home to go to college, and as a single parent, he was left with time to think and re-evaluate some things in his life. With a love for all things outdoors, from surfing to coasteering, Chris decided to harness his time and effort for a good cause, specifically, to raise £100,000 (US$128,344) for SSAFA, a British charity that provides welfare and support for those serving in the Armed Forces, veterans and Armed Forces families.
“I served with the 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment, and have had some challenging times since returning to civilian life. SSAFA have really helped me keep my head above water throughout that entire time. I have experienced first-hand what they do and I honestly don’t know where I would be without their help and support, so I thought it would be a great idea to do something rather epic to give something back to them,” Chris said.
Starting out from Swansea on 1 August 2017, Chris is now on the outer islands of Scotland, with about a year and a half left to walk of the approximately 14,000-kilometre route. He is also closing in on half of his fundraising target, having already secured over £45,000 (US$57,755) in donations.
Beginning the journey with little personal funds, Chris has been reliant on the generosity of the public for things like food, water, accommodation and equipment. Throughout his time, Chris said that he has experience overwhelming positivity and kindness. “The reaction from folk all over the country has been unbelievable, only today I had a fry up given to me in my tent. People are incredible and selfless, it’s a joy to be part of it. I want to spread nothing but positivity on my travels and let people be involved in my journey.”
More information, as well as details on how to donate to Chris’ walk, is available at his official website.