Chris Jones is a Freemason from Lincolnshire who has started an epic journey – a 7,500 mile walk around the British coastline to raise an incredible £100,000 for the MCF. The walk will take up to 18 months, but what is even more inspiring is Chris’ reason for taking on this challenge.

For many years, Chris struggled with his mental wellbeing. However, after seeking our assistance to access mental health support in 2020, he wants to spread the word and inspire other people facing poor mental health to reach out for help.

We asked Chris to tell us a bit more about his routine while on this challenge and how it’s going so far.

My alarm goes off at…

One of the advantages of this loosely planned adventure is that I haven’t set my alarm once and I can’t imagine a scenario where I will have to set it for the next few months! If I’m waking up in my tent then the first thing I hear is the sound of the sea or the birds; if I’ve been in a B&B for the night then I am generally not in a rush to wake up and check out. Waking up naturally has been the norm!

I start my day by…

When it’s cold, the biggest challenge is to get out of my cosy warm sleeping bag! The first task is to drag my clothes into my sleeping bag to warm them up, before I quickly get dressed. Then I pack up as quickly as possible to get moving and warm my body up. I am mostly wild camping, so I try to be up and away at first light, leaving no trace of my being there.

When I wake up in a B&B or hotel, I usually skip breakfast because I tend to have a large meal the night before. Instead I quickly pack up my belongings, take a shower to freshen up, and refill my water bottle before heading out to start my day.

How do I spend my days…

I get ready and start walking with no particular destination in mind, I tend to walk between eight and 16 miles each day but this will start to change as my physical fitness improves and the days become longer. I meet the most interesting and generous people and I am constantly being asked what I am doing and why, which gives me the opportunity to explain about the MCF, about Freemasonry, and about mental health. Most people haven’t heard about the MCF and what it does, and they often have misconceived ideas about Freemasonry, but they are always willing to learn more about both.

The hardest part of this challenge is…

Walking every day, feeling cold and tired is hard. It’s also hard waking up each day and not overthinking the future, just focusing on the plan for the day ahead. Not knowing where I will end up that night or where I will be sleeping is hard. Giving up everyday comforts, such as central heating and a hot shower whenever I want, and the security of a home and cosy bed is hard. However, probably the hardest this is being alone for most of the time. While I’ve met some amazing people, those moments are fleeting as I move on quickly. I miss my wife, my children, and my grandchildren and of course my Westie, Ted.

The best part of this challenge is…

There are many reasons I have set myself this challenge, and ultimately, as I address each of them, they will all be the best parts. After the problems I have had with my own poor mental health, I felt the need to hit the reset button, and this challenge is the perfect opportunity to do so. Along the way, I plan to learn more about mental health by talking with people I meet, with the ultimate goal of writing a book about my experience and insights. I hope this will help me and others who may be struggling to understand this complex issue.

In addition to my mental health, I need to take a break from the pressures and responsibilities I have had for the past 20 years. Undoubtedly, these are some of the causes of my poor mental health. I am trying to reset my mind to only think about the now and only have my own survival to consider. This is a work in progress, and in a year I’d like to answer this question again. I’m sure there will be a long list of best parts that come out of this journey.

To date I have walked 680 miles in 66 days by taking a whopping 1,849,211 steps. On this journey I’ve discovered that far more people than one might imagine suffer with mental health problems, and suicide is equally far more common; touching the lives of too many families. In its way, that validates my decision to take on this ‘On the Edge’ challenge.

Chris Jones
My most memorable moment was…

This is a very difficult question. Every day I meet some amazing people, I see incredible scenery and visit some fantastic Masonic Centres. If I had to choose, my visit to St. Paul Lodge No. 3242 in Jarrow completely blew my mind. The Province booked me into a hotel, and I was picked up and taken to the Lodge. The building was exquisite; the Installation Ceremony was mind-blowing and the ritual was like nothing I’d ever seen before. The love and harmony at the Festive Board were overwhelming.

A strange part of this challenge is…

I stopped working in December 2022 before I left Skegness on New Year’s Day. Every minute of every day, no matter how challenging my circumstances, I am not at work, and I am not responsible for anyone but myself. I have no pressures or commitments, and I’m fighting with myself not to create any. It’s a very strange place to be, as I have worked since I left school in 1985. Not going to work every day is quite unnatural.



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