630-mile coastal challenge is lifetime’s ambition for ex-RAF man
Updated 2:23pm Saturday 1st March 2014 in By Elizabeth Mackley
ROYAL Wootton Bassett man Mike Davis has always wanted to walk the South West Coastal Path after reading about it 20 years ago.
Now, the day after his 64th birthday, he is taking on the 630-mile challenge to raise money for the Help For Heroes and Wiltshire Air Ambulance charities.
He said: “It’s my mountain in life. I thought it was a good opportunity to raise money for Help for Heroes and Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
“I read a book about it about 20 years ago. It was only about 500 miles long then but since then it’s been extended.
“It just seemed to be a good time to do it now I am retired and have some more time.”
Mike will kick-off his route on April 1 in Minehead, Somerset, and will take around six to eight weeks to walk along the length of the path, eventually pitching up in Poole, Dorset.
He will carry all his own supplies on his back, including cooking equipment and a change of clothes to get him between the picturesque towns dotted along the coast.
The retired mechanical transport technician in the RAF decided to raise money for Help For Heroes to support members of the Armed Forces who were left disabled by war.
He said: “I’m a fourth generation military man and I’ve always supported the military charities.
“I’m also supporting Wiltshire Air Ambulance because a few years ago they airlifted my daughter to hospital after a riding accident, and she suggested that I try to raise money for them too.”
An avid walker with three dogs, Mike is used to long treks and feels fit enough to complete the challenge.
He said: “I won’t be taking my dogs with me but at the moment I do a lot of walking. I just hope the weather is kind. A lot of coastal erosion is happening so I’ve no doubt that there will be detours I have to take but it all just depends on the weather.
“Originally I was going to do it in the middle of March, but because of the bad weather I pushed it back and now I am leaving on April Fool’s Day. April Fool’s Day is the day after my birthday but there’s no particular reason for doing that.”
Mike hopes to raise at least £1,000 for each charity, and has applied for a street collector’s licence.
He said: “I’ll be disappointed if I don’t raise that much but everybody is asking for charitable donations these days. I’ll be pleased with anything that I get.”