Just keep on walking…

Just keep on walking….

It’s been a while since my last blog. Many reasons including the proverbial work commitments having to take priority for a while. Nonetheless I haven’t been idle.
The walking continues in earnest but preparation hasn’t been without its inevitable moments of doubt and excitement in equal measures. Learning curves and the hard truths that sometimes had to be faced.

It’s all in the preparation…

So while walking lot’s is certainly the order of the day there is more to it than that. Now while I had a vague idea of what I was letting myself in for having done my fair share of one day long hikes. I’ll admit there was a few moments when the realisation hit me that I’ll be doing that day after day for over 14 days. Much of it with almost 9kg of weight on my back. My trusted Rucksack for many years wasn’t big enough. An oversight on my part and one of a handful of oversights I have encountered.

Much research and advice has been sought and now I’m equipped with the right pack for the job add to that a few items of specialist clothing and other easily overlooked items by a novice. The exciting prospect of having to research and find a hiking stove for example wasn’t one I thought I’d be undertaking and the minutiae of detail needed on the weight of each item, how best it is packed and so on and so forth. There’s a wealth of knowledge and experience to be mined, read and watched on YouTube. Now, YouTube oh how that’s become a wonderful resource and source of inspiration. Including this guy Gabriel and his great video diaries. He’s just one of many inspirational people online sharing their experiences of hiking and travelling: check him out below.

 

And hey, it’s not meant to be easy, its a challenge after all. Right?

That said it’s all being conquered, figured out and I can assure you, I’ll be safe, warm and dry at night and able to eat. Lessons, have indeed been learned, digested and digested once more just to be safe!!

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It’s a journey man…!

And so without wanting to sound too cheesy it’s been a journey preparing for THE Journey. Yeh, I have had moments of doubt and the obligatory “What the hell am I doing?” moments. I’m guessing that’s normal and natural to have these doubts but I’m super excited to get going and that always overrides all that.
Other bonuses have been a massive noticeable improvement in my health and fitness over the last few months a healthy bit of weight loss can’t be of any harm either. 

So with just a few weeks away from starting now I’m definitely feeling healthy mix of anticipation and the urge get out there and cracking on.

We are hoping to also have a final date on June 3rd at a venue in Thornham. you’ll be alerted as soon as this happens.

In the meantime here’s a recap of the dates and where I will be plus I’ve even made a little visual to show the route on a map. Feel free to hum the Indian Jones theme while you watch it. 

Stage 1. Suffolk Coast/Sandlings Walk. Woodbridge to Southwold. May 22nd to May 26th. Approx 54 Miles.

Sunday May 21st Gig at The Angel. Woodbridge with Falling From Trees. Details HERE:

Day 1. Monday 22nd May. Woodbridge to Upper Hollesly Common (Rendelsham Forest)
Day 2. Tuesday 23rd May. Upper Hollesly to Snape.
Day 3. Wednesday May 24th. Snape to Thorpeness.                                                                      Day 4. Thursday May 25th. Thorpness to Dunwich.
Day 5. Friday May 26th. Dunwich to Southwold.

Friday May 26th Gig The MO. Sheringham Museum. Sheringham. with Broken Maps and Yve Mary B. Details HERE:

Stage 2. Norfolk Coast Path. Norfolk. Hopton On Sea to Hunstanton. Approx 84 Miles.

Day 6. Monday 29rd May. Hopton-on-sea to California Sands (approx. 13 miles)  
Day 7. Tuesday 30th May. California Sands to Happisburgh (approx 13 miles)
Day 8. Wednesday 31st May. Happisburgh to Beeston Regis (approx. 15 miles)
Day 9. Thursday 1st. June. Beeston Regis to Stiffkey (approx. 15 miles)

Gig Wells Next The Sea at The Albatros with Anto Morra. Detail HERE:

Day 10. Friday 2nd June. Stiffkey to Burnham Deepdale staying at the campsite there (approx. 15 miles)

Gig Burnham Deepdale Backpackers and Camping. Burnham Deepdale. With Sam Coe. Details HERE.

Day 11.Saturday 3rd June. Burnham Deepdale to Hunstanton (approx. 12 miles) to complete the 84 miles. Gig TBC very soon in Thornham. 

And most importantly the reason I’m doing this. To raise money for three great charities. Please sponsor/make a donation at my Justgiving page by clicking HERE: 

Matt.

Just keep walking… and more adventures in music.

Just keep walking…and more adventures in music.

So as you have most likely gathered if you follow my music or blog. I’ve been keeping busy with gigs, my most popular blog to date and yes walking. A large amount of walking. Now don’t get me wrong I’m far from complaining.
I love walking and have been ramping up the distance’s I’m getting in. It’s odd to say that anything under 7 or 8 miles feels like not enough and I’m doing that now a few times a week.

I’ve found a couple of great walks right on my doorstep that take in the River Yare and the Wherrymans Way (a 36 miles route taking you on foot from the city centre to Great Yarmouth) that winds it way Yarmouth bound towards the North Sea. It also takes in the world famous Norfolk Broads. A national park even Bowie found worthy of giving a mention.
It’s an interesting landscape that surrounds the river’s banks. Much of it land drained by net works of drainage ditches and water pumps. Many of which take the form of now defunct wind pumps powered by towering windmill’s. The ghosts of which can be seen now boldly on the horizon line minus the all important sails and in some cases roofs.

One such trek took me to a small village Hardley and it’s staithe. A circular walk of approximately 8 miles. It took in woodland, quiet country lanes and low lying marshland and the aforementioned river always dominant.
Towards the end of the route a large and looming building of cathedral like proportions dominates the landscape on the other side of the water flanking the banks with cylindrical towers and tall chimneys. It’s the British Sugar Factory at Cantley. Likelihood is if you enjoy your tea sugared it’s probably from here. In the sunlight though this time it gleamed like a silver version of the emerald sight that greeted Dorothy in the wizard of Oz. Ok maybe that’s just my imagination but you get what I mean. An austere but at times arresting sight on such a green and pleasant landscape.

Above me I am greeted by a lone Marsh Harrier taking advantage of the warmer air circling higher and higher into the atmosphere.

Further to my right a silhouette of a rare but fully clad and fully sailed windmill stood against the hazy blue spring sky. To my surprise, as I closed in on this other grand building along the roadbeds and river banks. This I shortly find out is Hardley Mill. A fully restored wind pump you can get inside and see just how it functions and has clearly been lovingly restored.


It really is a beautiful area with big skies and you can almost feel the history. Imagine the Wherries as they made their way back and forth between the city and the coast the trade and supplies way before roads and lorries were so relied upon.

 

Music wise I haven’t been lazy. Firstly there’s a booking I’m excited to announce at Epic Studios here in Norwich on November 23rd I’ll be playing a show with not only one of my all time favourite songwriters but someone I’m happy to call a friend. Ian Prowse. Ian hails from Liverpool. Ellesmere Port to be precise and was frontman and principal songwriter with early 90’s band Pele he’s now solo artist and frontman of the equally brilliant Amsterdam.
He’s famous amongst other things like being dubbed the Scouse Springsteen for penning the song “Does this train stop on Merseyside?” A song that John Peel said never failed to make him cry.
Tickets are already on sale for this a solo show from Ian. Get tickets here:

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It’s part of Ian’s 25 Years of Fireworks. Pele’s debut album tour.

 

Something else that’s finally taken shape is the ‘Fan Clip’ video for my track “Let’s Jump Ship”.

Last year I asked people to film a clip of themselves sing or dancing or indeed as you’ll see anything we could put together as a video. They didn’t disappoint. Its an eclectic mix pf phone clips, camcorder footage and in some cases even more sophisticated clips and not to mention the costumes and crazy, beautifully mad ideas.
There’s even a couple of cameos from Erica Nockalls violinist on the track and The Wonder Stuff violinist to comedian Mark Watson larking about on a phone clip! Don’t let me keep you see yourself. I’m blown away and hope you enjoy it too.

And if this wasn’t enough there’s still much planning and preparation to be yet done for The Endless Coastline Charity Tour. I’ve even been checking the accommodation for Stage 1 is all ready. One man and a tent, no swearing and up in just 9 minutes. Success!

 

Musical adventure’s in North Norfolk. Deepdale Hygge Festival.

So while all this preparation carries on for The Endless Coastline Tour. There’s still time to play a gig or two.

This weekend I had the pleasure of playing at Deepdale Backpackers and Camping in North Norfolk. Right by the coast in Burnham Deepdale.
A venue you may think as odd for a gig maybe. Well let me tell you in no uncertain terms don’t be fooled.
Jason and Chris who run Deepdale are really a dynamic and energetic duo. Along with a fantastic team they’re trying many different things at the site including live music festivals. With an intimate  and welcoming feel the live music this time was all set up in the barn outside the hostel courtyard where there was a big fire pit and freshly cooked street food available. Add to this the Spring Deepdale Fair packed with local crafts and perfect spring weather it couldn’t have been more perfect a day.

This event was dubbed the ‘Deepdale Hygge’. A Hygge is a Danish/Norwegian word meaning ‘Coziness and togetherness and personal wholeness’ I’ll let wikipedia explain it better here: Anyway the event managed to produce this warm welcoming atmosphere perfectly.

The music was held over two evenings the Friday evening included story telling and a set from Sam Coe & The Long Shadows. Sam sang on a duet on my first album Grounded and is a wonderful modern country singer songwriter and her band are great. She’s just released her first EP have a listen here.

All the music was home grown from East Anglia and really goes to show just how fervent and creative the area is.

Saturday was the main day of full music. Falling From Trees are a fantastic melodic, acoustic act who I’ve gigged with loads of times and I love them. Becca, Leo and Adam are siblings and have that unique way of singing harmonies only siblings have, now joined by the effervescent force of energy Joey on Bass they really are worth catching live if you can. Give them a listen here:

They were followed by Nobodaddy, and if you wonder where the unusual name comes from check out the poem by William Blake. ‘To Nobodaddy’.

Adam and Mike are seasoned and fine songwriters. Adam has a deft way of performing, using the minimum of effort to put across the emotion of each song perfectly. I’m always a little in awe when I see them perform. listen to them here:

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I was next up. The temperature was starting to drop a little by then but the beautiful days sun was starting to sink in a clear North Norfolk sky was casting a beautiful light through the barn entrance and the smell of burning wood and the hubbub from the busy courtyard. Making for great atmosphere in the barn. It was great to also briefly catch up with Gin and Mark from Margins. They are supporting me on my walk and provide all you need, should you choose to walk the North Norfolk Coast path that passes right by Deepdale.

I was followed by Marina Florence. Marina and I last met in a folk club/acoustic songwriter night held in a social club on the edge of a football field in the heart of Northamptonshire not the most likely place for a gig. There seems to be a theme here. Marina has won awards for her songwriting including on BBC Radio 2 and very soon into her set its very clear why. Lyrics with humour, heart and soul mixed with a relaxed performing style its hard not to be drawn in. Find out more about Marina here:

The Georgia Shackleton Trio were next up. Georgia is fine Fiddle player and singer joined by Aaren Bennett and Nic Zuppardi on the guitar and mandolin. They were a perfect mix of stomping folk and narrative story telling and incredible musicianship. I’d not seen Georgia before and was blown away. Listen to more here:

I had to head home after Georgia’s set but those who stayed were going to be in for a rocking treat from Little Red Kings. I’ve shared the stage with these guys a couple of times and they never disappoint.

Thanks to Jason and Chris for having me. I look forward to returning on June 2nd on the penultimate day of my charity walk and gig tour.

Theres a music festival in September too. check here for details.

Matt x

The Endless Coastline Tour 2017. Charity walk and gig tour. Dates and Route.

The Endless Coastline Tour 2017. Charity walk and gig tour.

Finally I can share you with you all the route dates and times of the walk and the gigs.

There may be one or two extra gig dates but we are waiting on confirmation for these. I’ll update these as they are confirmed.

Stage 1. Suffolk Coast/Sandlings Walk. Woodbridge to Southwold. May 22nd to May 26th. Approx 54 Miles.

Sunday May 21st Gig at The Angel. Woodbridge with Falling From Trees. Details HERE:

Day 1. Monday 22nd May. Woodbridge to Upper Hollesly Common (Rendelsham Forest)
Day 2. Tuesday 23rd May. Upper Hollesly to Snape.
Day 3. Wednesday May 24th. Snape to Thorpeness.

Gig Aldeburgh. TBC

Day 4. Thursday May 25th. Thorpness to Dunwich.
Day 5. Friday May 26th. Dunwich to Southwold.

Friday May 26th Gig at The MO. Sheringham Museum. Sheringham. with Broken Maps and Yve Mary B. Details HERE:

If you fancy catching Matt at any stage of the walk to walk for a while or just to cheer him on his way! The route can be found online HERE.

 

Stage 2. Norfolk Coast Path. Norfolk. Hopton On Sea to Hunstanton. Approx 84 Miles.

Day 6. Monday 29rd May. Hopton-on-sea to California Sands (approx. 13 miles)
Day 7. Tuesday 30th May. California Sands to Happisburgh (approx 13 miles)
Day 8. Wednesday 31st May. Happisburgh to Beeston Regis (approx. 15 miles)
Day 9. Thursday 1st. June. Beeston Regis to Stiffkey (approx. 15 miles)

Gig Wells Next The Sea at The Albatros with Anto Morra. Details HERE:

Day 10. Friday 2nd June. Stiffkey to Burnham Deepdale staying at the campsite there (approx. 15 miles)

Gig Burnham Deepdale Backpackers and Camping. Burnham Deepdale with support from TBC.

Day 11.Saturday 3rd June. Burnham Deepdale to Hunstanton (approx. 12 miles) to complete the 84 miles. Gig TBC

If you fancy catching Matt at any part of stage 2 of the walk to walk for a while or just to cheer him along on the route can be found online HERE.

 

Support the charities and Matt and make a donation here.

 

 

The Endless Coastline Charity walk & gig Tour update. Who I’m fundraising for and who’s been helping!

I thought it was about time I added a further update about my charity walk and whats been happening.

The support has been incredible with the generosity and warmth towards the whole idea really humbling. I wanted to say a thanks and tell you a little about the charities and those who have gone above and beyond so far to support me.

The three charities I’ll be supporting are…

The RNLI.

We all know the RNLI and the incredible work they do not only protecting the vast amount of coastal traffic and going out whatever conditions to save lives but also protecting us while we enjoy the beach and its waters across the country. I’m a keen Bodyboarder and the RNLI guards are who’ll i’ll be relying on should I come into difficulty while Surfing.

Its easy to take for granted that this ‘Emergency Service’ is wholly charity funded.

I’ll be walking past several lifeboat stations as I trek along the coastline it just made perfect sense they should be an organisation I wanted to support.

You can read more about the work the RNLI do hear: https://rnli.org/what-we-do

Nelsons Journey.

I’d had some contact with this wonderful charity when there was a close family bereavement connected to my step sons. They were amazing in how they helped them deal with something we as adults find hard enough to deal with.

I’ll let them tell you about themselves, they do it far better than I ever could take a look at what they do here: http://www.nelsonsjourney.org.uk

 

Change of scene for children.

I met Pauline who tirelessly runs change of scene at a small North Norfolk Festival she puts on to help raise funds last year. Seeing what she does and how passionate she clearly is about her charity the kids and the animals I wanted to make a contribution.

You can see what Pauline does in depth here: http://cosforanimalsandchildren.vpweb.co.uk

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As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog I’ve also been blown away by the support I’ve received not only in the money already raised but other support in the huge task of organising and logistics of the walk.

I want to say a huge thank you and let you know a little about the people who’ve got involved so far…

Margins and Glamping Holidays.

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I was contacted by Gin and Mark who run Margins with an enthusiastic offer of help after a friend of theirs heard me on the Radio talking about my plan to do the walk. Its a new venture for them and after a chat and meet up it was clear we shared the same sense of adventure and I was really pleased they ‘got’ what I’m trying to achieve with this walk.

They instantly offered to support my North Norfolk stretch of the tour by kindly providing me with accommodation along the way. Not only this but sorting the sites I’ll be stopping at and their continued advice and help is amazing. thanks guys!

Find out more about Margins and maybe challenge yourself to taking on the beautiful North Norfolk Coastal path yourself. You’ll be in great hands with these folks.

Head here to see what they’re all about. http://walkandglamp.co.uk

Deepdale Backpackers & Camping.

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I also wanted to give a mention to Deepdale Camping & Backpackers in North Norfolk village Burnham Deepdale.

Chris Haycock in particular is someone I’ve know for many years now, when we met through (as so often is the case with me) through music. His passion for music is clear to anyone who meets him. He always gave my music huge support booking many time for the well know Clippesby Music Festivals and Beer Festivals. Thanks Chris!

Jason and Chris run this amazing forward thinking and positive campsite and walkers hostel. What makes them a little different? Jason and Chris run some amazing events at the site and one thing they’re really keen on is live music and supporting the wealth of East Anglian homegrown original music we have to offer.

Actually I’ll be playing at The Deepdale Hygge on March 25th the weekend event/festival running the weekend of the24th/25th Find out who’s playing the Hygge and what else is on offer here:
https://www.deepdalebackpackers.co.uk/hygge/

I’m hoping when I pass by and stop at Deepdale I’ll be playing a set there too.

Cicerone Press.

As you can imagine sorting out the logistics and the route for this endeavour has been an adventure for me having never tried to do anything quite like this!

Many an email was sent out asking for help. Cicerone Press publish many detailed walking guides so I thought it would be a good plan to contact them. They kindly donated the guide books for both the Norfolk and Suffolk coastal paths.
This made life significantly easier and I really must say thanks to Hannah for this kind donation.

Take a look here: http://www.cicerone.co.uk

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In the meantime I’ve been stepping out and getting the miles in. This week my favourite was a seven mile circular walk that took in the Ted Ellis Nature reserve and a section of The Wherrymans Way and River Yare on the edges of the Norfolk Broads. It was an overcast day but nonetheless a beautiful place to walk. The map for this walk can be found here.

Try the walk yourself if you fancy it there’s shorter walks too in the area all the information is here.

Over and out for now. Matt

Don’t forget you can sponsor Matt here at Just Giving.

 

 

One foot in front of the other.

One foot in front of the other.

So yet again this morning I struck out on a walk getting in the miles in readiness for my hundred mile charity coastline trek.
I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts and a describe why I love walking and a bit about my walk and what I encounter.

We live in a world of super fast broadband, twenty four hour news, Facebook, Twitter, Mobile technology and numerous TV and digital platforms and media to distract us. We travel in our little metal boxes removed just enough from the outside world that the sights and sounds are slightly diluted and our senses dulled. It becomes all too easy to forget the simplest of pleasures that lie just outside our front door. That childlike sense of wonder we all can recall of something so simple.

As I step outside the nearby thrum and crack of a Woodpecker echoes through the trees over the road. This reminds me of just the childlike wonder I’m talking about, another woodpecker taps a reply to the first, just outside my home a battle for territory ensues.

This is why I love walking so much, be it on my own or joined by furry companion Barney our terrier cross. No glass and metal between me and the air to numb my senses. A distinct scent drifts by in the breeze an earthy mixture of wet grass, trees and and a nearby spring bonfire.

The world seems different, slower, peaceful almost. The early morning rumble and whir of the work bound traffic just audible over the breeze from the main road a mile or so away even somehow seems serene. The world slows down. I imagine this is how our forefathers felt before the world and the inevitable march of technology sped things up to where we are now.

I set off from home. Home being set in a small village just six miles south east of Norwich but far enough it’s suitably rural, and lucky for me crisscrossed with quiet country lanes, footpaths and bridle paths. Norfolk may have a reputation for being a flat barren landscape but this just isn’t so. In particular here, although the arable fields do offset a large cinematic amount of sky, at a turn I find myself surrounded by woodland and drop into a shallow valley. This particular area is flanked by chalk hills, the spoils of soil and earth dumped here by the most southern reaching fingers of glaciers millennia ago.

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The other thing travelling by foot you become more aware of is the places and sights you simply miss when whizzing by in your car. I pass a medieval barn I’d never noticed before, its gable end wall being restored with tall slits in the brick. I’m not sure why those slits are there. I like to imagine they were to fire arrows from in some kind of medieval skirmish between farmers and landowners, although I suspect this isn’t the case. Just a little further down the road I pass a small hamlet of cottages, one has a small allotment in the front garden and a pile of poles and other objects neatly stacked along the fence. I assume ready for some secondary re-cycling, maybe to construct structures for this years crop of runner beans.

I turn right down another small lane dropping down toward a small coppice of silver birch and deciduous trees as we drop down towards the River Chet sat in the lowest part of the valley. Skylarks hover overhead singing gleefully with a flutelike trill. Gulls circle overhead cackling away managing not to collide with one another and they seem somehow in the wrong place and reminds me it will be a sound I’ll become accustomed too when I’m on my coastal excursion.

Crossing the small river rushing under the small bridge I climb back up the shallow incline and turn down a small lane that becomes a small wood with a permissible byway where snowdrops nestle among the wooded ground cover clamouring the remotest glimpse of sunlight.
Soon the path opens up to a track crossing a marshy lowland meadows; I’m cutting past some farm buildings and old equipment that looks like they have had better days. It’s eerily quiet as I cross the empty farm courtyard with no one in sight just the dark dank aroma of manure.
I make my way down a short cinder path before again finding myself on a narrow lane crossing the small River Chet once more.
I start to climb up back out of the valley flanked by woodland, meadow and farmland on one side and a steep slope of woodland on the other. I quickly reach the top and pass the local Church that sits on top of the hill striking distance of being home once more.

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The six miles have passed in just shy of two hours. The sun is now breaking through the thin mackerel cloud cover and blue sky greets me as I arrive back home.

This is why I love walking.

You can support me and my Endless Coastline walk and gig tour adventure by making a donation here: www.justgiving.com/teams/theendlesscoastlinetour2017

New album and charity walk/tour The Endless Coastline Tour 2017

Hello!

It’s been a while since my last blog post but I promise you I haven’t haven’t been idle.

Firstly my new album ‘The Endless Shipwreck’ is out now. It’s a record I’m really proud of and I had the pleasurenof working with legendary producer/mix engineer Mark Freegard. He’s produced many albums by acts such as Del Amitri and Justin Currie, Manic Street Preachers, Breeders, Marillion, Kris Drever and many more.

You can buy a copy (Download or CD) and hear some of the songs here: Bandcamp

There’s also a video diary you can see here: VIDEO DIARY  You can see clips off all the wonderful musicians who were involved with me including brass band the Vibe City Street Brass.

Also very much worth a mention is the amazing artwork by local artist and printer Vicki Johnson. Check her work out. I think you’ll agree it’s fantastic.

She also helped me screen print the T Shirts and Tote bags at Print To The People‘s studios here in Norwich also available from my band camp in the merch section.

Please if you haven’t already, go and give the record a listen.

colour album cover MED RES

We launched the gig at local venue The Sewell Barn theatre on January 28th to a fantastic audience. Also playing were my mates Falling From Trees and Yve Mary B.

The Endless Coastline Tour 2017.

I’m happy to announce I’m going to be doing something exciting and I hope, quite unique. And I’m hoping you’ll think so too!

I’ll be walking the Suffolk and Norfolk Coast Paths from May 21st through to June 4th 2017. Just over a hundred miles of the East Anglian coastline from Suffolk to North Norfolk. While walking this epic journey I am also planning to play a series of gigs along the hundred or so miles route.

I’m planning to raise money for the RNLI, Nelsons Journey and great North Norfolk charity A Change Of Scene For Children. Find out more about each by clicking on the names.

You can choose which charity you’d like to donate to or we’d love it if you gave a little to each.

Having just released my maritime themed new album “The Endless Shipwreck” I wanted to combine my passion for music alongside my passion for walking and the coastline and support charity while doing so.

The plan is to complete the walk and play a series of gigs along the route starting in Woodbridge Suffolk on May 21st with a gig at The Angel pub and ending in Hunstanton on the North Norfolk Coast. Over a hundred miles on foot.

I’ll be keeping you up to date through email and I’ll be sending on news of a blog and how to follow my progress next week.

You can support me on the walk and donate to one of or all three of the charities here:

Just Giving Page for The Endless Coastline Tour 2017