Geoff enjoys his coast-to-coast adventure

Basingstoke Gazette: Geoff Wride (second from left) with three walkers from Cumbria who accompanied him on the final stages of his marathon march Geoff Wride (second from left) with three walkers from Cumbria who accompanied him on the final stages of his marathon march

A Wellow pensioner has completed a 200-mile coast to coast walk in aid of a hospice which treated his wife.

Geoffrey Wride followed the Wainwright path, an unofficial walking route, which runs the width of England, from St Bees in the west to Robin Hood’s Bay in the east.

The 74-year-old completed the trek in 13 days, enjoying a mixture of weather and scenery en route and raising £2,300 for the Countess Mountbatten Hospice in West End, where his wife, Gloria, spent her final days.

In addition to some nights under canvas, Geoffrey slept in a variety of accommodation along the way, ranging from youth hostels and B&Bs to a derelict caravan.

The retired financial adviser said the highspots were camping 50m from the shores of Ullswater in the Lake District and Black Sail, a glacial valley, which is home to the highest youth hostel in the country.

Walkers traditionally dip their boots in the Irish Sea at the start of this walk and this added some distance to Geoffrey’s journey as the tide was out when he arrived at St Bees and he had to walk out about half a mile to the water’s edge.

He also picked up a stone on the beach at St Bees, which he intended to throw into the North Sea at the end of his walk, but when the time came he couldn’t bear to part with the pebble and kept it as a souvenir.

“It was a very fulfilling experience,” said Geoffrey, who praised the generosity of the people he met on the way.

“People were pressing money into my hands when they found out why I was doing the walk. Yorkshire people are particularly generous and friendly.”

On two days, Geoffrey did not encounter another human being, but on the last few days of his long march, he fell in with three fellow Wainwright walkers, from Cumbria, who accompanied him to the finish.

The walk has whetted Geoffrey’s appetite for long-distance foot travel and he is now planning a 600-mile stroll along the South West Coast Path, from Minehead, in Somerset, to Poole.

He also has his eye on the El Camino de Santiago, the pilgrims’ way to the shrine of St James in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela.

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