by Round-Britain walker and Lincolnshire Freemason, Chris Jones

When I started to walk the entire coast of mainland Britain on New Year’s Day 2023, I had no idea of the wave of enthusiasm and support that would be generated during my journey – though I suppose I could have worked it out, judging from the unexpectedly large number of people who turned out to send me off from Skegness.

The plan had been a simple one: keep sight or sound of the coast on my right and keep walking until I get back to Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast, more than 7,500 miles and probably at least 18 months later.

I wanted to raise money for the MCF, the Freemasons’ charity. Not to put too fine a point on it, the counselling service they offered me saved my life at a time when I thought ending it was a viable option. I needed to say thank you; to raise awareness of the counselling service; and to raise some money to make sure the work could continue. Many more people feel the need to take that last unavoidable step into oblivion at their own hand, and if I could do anything to prevent that from happening, I reasoned, I had to do it.

So how much should I try to raise? In the end I thought I’d shoot for the moon and aim for £100,000.

On 1 September 2023, I crossed from Scotland back into England, which seemed the perfect time to evaluate the story so far, from 1 January to 31 August. It’s a story of numbers, some of which surprised even me – but the headline figures represent only around a quarter of the distance walked, I’m a quarter of the way to that £100,000 moon shot. And the generosity of the people I’ve met has suddenly made landing it entirely possible.

• Total miles walked: 1,945
• Total steps taken: 4,598,627
• Total raised so far: More than £25,000 (including Gift Aid)
• Lodge meetings attended: 23
• Lodge buildings visited: 67
• Pints consumed: 590 (or 73.75 gallons, an average of 26.3 miles walked per gallon)
• Time in Scotland: 151 days
• Steps in Scotland: 3,484,282
• Words written on my blog: 82,500
• Pairs of boots worn out: 1
• Accidents with French motorhome drivers: 1
• Injuries needing medical intervention: 1
• Wedding anniversaries spent in Carlisle: 1
• People who’ve helped me and friends I’ve made: Too many to count, but thank you all.

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“It was a real pleasure to meet the Provincial Communications Officer for Cumbria, Neil Dixon who welcomed me over the border and back into England. I’d been in the Province of Cumbria for only 15 minutes when the DepPGM William Morley pulled up with a big cheque to donate to my MCF fund. Absolutely incredible; what a welcome back to England.” – Chris

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