A 22-year-old man walking the entire British and Irish coastlines for charity is determined to continue his three-year trek despite damage to his knee.
Currently on the south coast of Ireland, Alex Ellis-Roswell believes carrying a 20kg rucksack over the Dorset Hills has caused arthritis in one knee and ligament damage in the other.
Physiotherapists in both Ireland and England advised him to quit his charity trek but he is determined to defy the “sometimes numbing” pain.
“I may find a better way to transport the bag though,” he concedes.
Grieving for his late father, Alex ended his live-in relationship, sold his marketing business “for half nothing” and, with €3,500, hit the road in August 2014.
“My head was in turmoil,” said Alex. “I needed a plan.”
Leaving Minnis Bay in Kent, the plan was to visit every lifeboat station in Britain and Ireland while fundraising for the RNLI.
So far, he has completed 4,800km of a planned 14,500km target and raised over £9,600.
Travelling clockwise, he has visited 130 stations along England’s south coast, Wales, the Isle of Man, south west Scotland, and Ireland.
He is currently heading towards our west coast before returning to Britain to continue his pursuit.
He has never taken a lift, “unless dropped back to a pick-up point”.
Admitting to previously never pitching a tent before setting off on the trek, Alex believes “it is preferable to seek forgiveness than permission” when bedding down for the night and has woken up in multifarious locations.
Last winter, he became locked into a Cornwall church for 12 hours with no phone coverage.
And in a Drogheda graveyard recently, he slept through a nearby drinking session.
In Wales, he was “summoned” to meet Princess Anne as they both visited Porthcawl lifeboat station simultaneously.
The royal was “very encouraging” but did not make a donation.
In Scotland, he inadvertently encountered a field of 50 bulls on a stud farm. “They would charge, one at a time, closer and closer,” he recalls.
As he edged, terrified, back to safety, he “opened an umbrella to make myself bigger and shouted a lot”.
On a budget of £5 a day, he expects his resources will expire by Christmas but he hopes to find casual work to survive.
His Facebook page is AlexEllisRoswell. Meanwhile, donations to the RNLI can be made at www.bt.com/longwalkround
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