September 22 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, February 9, 2013
A former soldier has passed through Exmouth on his attempt to walk around the entire coast of Great Britain - and sleep rough every night along the way.
Christian Nock, 38, is taking on the challenge to raise money for Help for Heroes, and to raise awareness of homelessness.
Having started in Blackpool on August 8 last year, Christian has walked around the coast of Wales, and all the way down to Land’s End.
He is now more than 1,800 miles into his 6,825 mile journey – which he says is a first.
Christian said: “I just decided to do something that’s never been done before. While a handful of people have walked the coast, they either used ferries [to cross rivers] or stayed in bed and breakfasts.”
Having spent eight years in the army’s Staffordshire Regiment – including four tours of Northern Ireland – Christian was running a hotel in Blackpool when he decided to sell all his possessions and take on his mammoth walk – which he says has been even harder than he expected.
“It is hard. I can think of about five times in particular, because I won’t quit and have nothing to go back to, where I wanted to be either blown over a cliff or run over by a lorry to put me out of my misery.
“I have been cold, wet and hungry, and I don’t always meet people, especially in remote places. In Pembrokeshire I walked for two days without seeing a soul or a shop.
“I wouldn’t recommend anyone trying it. It’s been very dangerous at times, with this weather – I’ve been on the side of cliffs at times in winds, and sleeping rough can be scary at times. You don’t really get a really good night’s sleep because you sleep with one eye open.”
Despite the hardship, Christian says the kindness of the people he has met along the way has been a revelation.
“It has just been amazing. When I had the hotel in Blackpool I just gave up on people, because I only saw people getting drunk and saw the worst, but now I’ve just met amazing people who’ve done everything from feeding me to buying me a beer.
“I’m intending to write a book about the experience, and it’s turning out more about how this walk has rekindled my faith in humanity. [There are] some amazing people out there.”
When he arrived in Exmouth, Christian was invited in for a beer by a woman who had been following his walk on Facebook.
Having declined the offer of a bed, he did accept a spot in the hallway outside her flat in The Strand to spend the night.
Christian initially hoped to raise £10,000 with his trek, but as it has gone on he has set his sights far higher.
“I’ve raised £6,000 already. Now I’m looking at raising £100,000 by the time I’ve finished, because in 13 months, more people are going to meet me or find out about me.”
Christian, who has received equipment donations from Berkshire Outdoor Leisure and Terra Nova, is updating people on his progress through his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/christian.britain.3, and is collecting donations for Help for Heroes online at www.bmycharity.com/ChristianNock.