Ex soldier takes on 18-month coast path trek

His journey to become the first man to walk the whole coast path sleeping rough every night has seen him spend days in isolation and sleep in caves with seals.

IT took 1,300 miles, 105 days and six pairs of boots, but an ex soldier on a mission to walk the entire British Coast Path passed through North Devon this week.

Christian Nock is hoping to become the first person to ever walk the whole 6,825 mile distance and sleep rough every night.

While some may shudder at braving the cold winds and rain every night with just a tarpaulin, the 38-year-old from Lichfield, Staffordshire, describes himself as ‘the freest man in the world.’

“People think I am a lunatic, but I wanted to do something crazy and I love roughing it,” said Christian.

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He set off from Blackpool with his 30lb rucksack at 8am on August 8, the 8th of the 8th, and will travel anticlockwise around the country to avoid being in the north during the winter weather.

The former army infantryman is hoping to not only reach the finish line in 18 months, but to raise �10,000 for Help for Heroes while doing it.

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Christian said: “I was in the army for eight years and I know many people who have had limb blown off, suffered post traumatic stress disorder or died in Afghanistan.

“It wasn’t until I started doing this that I also realised how tough many of the homeless people I have met are; some of them are even ex military themselves.

“I’ve met some fantastic people who have been so supportive of what I am doing – people have told me I’m an inspiration but I just see myself as a guy doing something a bit crazy.”

Christian has spent a lot of his journey in isolation, and has slept in some unusual places, including disabled toilets, under bridges, and even in a cave with a seal.

He is travelling with his mascot Sebastian, whom he likens to Wilson, the battered football Tom Hanks befriends in the film Castaway.

“He carries his home on his back just like I am doing, so really he is the perfect mascot,” said Christian.

Braving torrential rainfall, gales and icy temperatures, Christian arrived at Woolacombe last Monday and has walked through Ilfracombe, Braunton, Barnstaple, Bideford and Westward Ho! along the way.

The explorer is keeping a day-to-day account of his journey on Facebook and is also planning to write a book documenting his experiences.

As for what’s next, he may be looking forward to a good night’s sleep in a warm bed come next summer, but it won’t be for long.

“My dream is to live in the wild in a forest in the west coast of Canada, there’s just something amazing about sleeping in the outdoors,” he said.

“You wake up in the morning with a big smile even if it’s pouring it down, I just love it.”

You can follow Christian’s journey by adding ‘Christian Around Britain’ on Facebook, or visit http://www.bmycharity.com/ChristianNock to donate.

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