Jim’s 7,500-mile walk for the Gurkhas brings him to Oban

Jim Morton - walking the coast

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Jim Morton arrived in Oban on Monday – 91 days after setting out on a 7,500 mile walk around the coast of mainland Britain which is expected to take 400 days.

The ex-Royal Navy man arrived on the Corran Esplanade with 1,820 miles behind him, having started back in April in his bid to raise £50,000 for the Gurkha Welfare Trust.

Since the age of seven, it has been Jim’s ambition to walk the coast of Britain after receiving a book about British lighthouses during Christmas 1967.

And as a teenage rating, his first ship was HMS Gurkha where he worked alongside members of the elite Nepalese fighting force.

Another major motivator to help the Gurkhas was the earthquake in Nepal in April 2015 which claimed more than 9,000 lives and injured nearly 22,000 people leaving many homeless.

Jim, aged 61, explained that his fundraising will go towards paying for new housing.

He said: ‘The ambition to walk around the coast of mainland Britain has never left me. I’ve always wanted to do it, so I decided to do it now and I’m quite pleased with the progress.

‘It’s just slow going on the coast of Argyll and Bute where everyone seems to take great pleasure in saying to me that Argyll and Bute has a longer coastline than France!’

Of the Gurkhas, he said: ‘Britain first came across them when they were fighting against them in India in 1814. They were such good fighters we decided to recruit them and for 200 years and more they have fought for us in every war. They are good lads, good fighters and very loyal. When they have served their time with us, they just want to go home and make a better life for their families in Nepal.’

Come the end of his marathon, he hopes to have ticked off the three highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales. A trek up Ben Nevis this weekend awaits as well as walking around any islands joined by a bridge or accessible at low tide.

Just to start the event, the grandad of three, with a fourth on the way, had to walk three and half days over the Pennines from his landlocked home in Penistone, South Yorkshire, before he reached the coast.

He is supported on the journey by wife Susan who is following behind in a motorhome with the couple’s pair of West Highland Terriers.

Susan collects him at the end of every day, updates his social media followers, books on to campsites and keeps him fuelled up.

As Jim said: ‘She works just as many hours as I do, in fact I think I’ve got the easy bit just walking.’

Jim paid special thanks to the Oban Caravan and Camping Park, and several local cafes offering him a free brew and a bite to eat on his travels.

The easiest way to donate is to go on to Facebook and search ‘I may be gone a while’, which is his dedicated page.

It contains a link to his Just Giving Page which can be found at  www.justgiving.com/fundraising/richard-morton11