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Charity walker who has clocked up 3,000 miles set to arrive in West Norfolk next month

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Charity walker Beth Wickes is heading into south Lincolnshire after clocking up almost 3,000 miles around the English coastline.

Beth (51) left her home in the West Midlands 17 months ago when she started her solo fundraising walk in aid of Lowland Search and Rescue, the RLNI and Mountain Rescue.

Since leaving Tower Lifeboat Station, Victoria Embankment, London, on October 3, 2018, she has walked the country clockwise, taking in the south coast, Isle of Wight, Wales and Anglesey, before cutting across the John Muir Way – a coast-to-coast route across the bottom of Scotland – and continuing down the eastern edge of England.

Beth at Lizard Point (30113284)
Beth at Lizard Point (30113284)

Bad weather and a desire to explore more of England took her inland for a while but she’s back on track and ready for the final 500-miles of her ambitious adventure.

Having picked up the coastal trail at the Humber estuary, Beth has already covered a large part of the Lincolnshire coast and expects to begin her leg through West Norfolk during March.

Beth was inspired to set out on her journey after a number of life events including two bereavements and a dyslexia diagnosis while completing a degree as a mature student.

“The deciding factor for me was wondering whether I might regret not doing the walk when I’m on my death-bed and my answer was yes,” says Beth, who previously worked as a cartographer and photogrammetric surveyor at Ordnance Survey.

“I love walking and I wanted to explore Britain and I didn’t have a reason why I shouldn’t or couldn’t do it other than procrastination.”

So far Beth has raised around £3,500 but is keen to up that total in the coming days, although she admits undertaking the walk solo without any support crew is taking its toll.

“I’m doing this full-time, solo and unsupported; I have no partner or support team in the background helping me with the huge amount of admin work involved in a project like this or with logistical issues of getting to and from accommodation,” said Beth, who walks up to 12 miles per day while carrying a 15Kg rucksack.

“The only support I’ve had is from the kindness of strangers offering me their spare rooms, food, clothes washing facilities and transport for me and my rucksack.

“People often ask how my feet are but actually it’s the mental load that’s more taxing than the physical – the walking part is the easy bit.

“But it’s been a real experience. I’ve just got the rest of Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex to go and despite everything I’ve had some wonderful support from people.”

You can follow Beth’s adventures and make a donation via her website bethfootfoward.co.uk

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