An Eltham man is swapping lockdown boredom for a two-month, 1,215 mile walk across the entirety of the UK, raising funds for a children’s charity.
John Allen, 47, left his home on July 27, and will travel all the way form Land’s End in Cornwall, to John O’Groats in northern Scotland, all while walking and wild camping.
Father of two, John said he had been struggling to find work during the Covid-19 lockdown, and could feel himself spiralling from not having a purpose.
So he’s set himself a challenge, to walk from one side of the UK to the other, a total of 1,215 miles, all for charity.
John said: “The NSPCC is a cause I’ve got a lot of belief in as an adopted child. As a former police officer I’ve worked on a lot of child cruelty cases. I really support the way the NSPCC and Childline look at early intervention rather than just dealing with the aftermath of abuse.
“I wanted to challenge myself, so what better challenge than over 1,200 miles in two months?”
John’s route will begin in Cornwall, taking him along the Welsh border, inland past Hebden Bridge and up past Scotland’s Fort William and Loch Linnhe.
The Eltham dad added: “I’ll be wild camping most of the way but might treat myself to the occasional campsite, youth hostel, or B&B.
“I love being outdoors and the solitude of walking, it gives you a bit of head space. At the moment I live on the outskirts of London and you can always hear traffic. I find the silence of nature very calming.”
Here he is pictured at the start of his mammoth journey.
A rising tide of contacts to the NSPCC helpline over the last three months has reinforced how children have been the hidden victims of the coronavirus crisis.
More than 22,000 adults contacted the NSPCC helpline in April, May and June, with parental behaviour, neglect and physical and emotional abuse the biggest worries.
NSPCC supporter fundraising manager for London, Sarah Lambley, said: “Tackling the entire length of Great Britain is no easy feat and takes a huge amount of preparation and determination to fulfil this challenge.
“As with all of our supporters, we strongly value John’s efforts and achievements in his fundraising and it goes a long way in our fight for every childhood.
“We would like to thank John and wish him good luck in his challenge. We will be following his progress intently!”
John said: “The NSPCC’s slogan ‘every childhood is worth fighting for’ really summarises how I feel. It’s my ethos and my drive for doing this.”
To donate to John’s fundraiser, visit his Go Fund Me page where he is on his way to his initial target of £1,000.