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Barnoldswick man and his dogs to take on 1,200 mile trek
3:30pm Sunday 15th April 2012 in News
A Barnoldswick man is set to trek 1,200 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats with two companions – his twin Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs.
Former soldier Martin Fletcher, of Coates Avenue, will do the walk to raise money for the Veterans’ Association UK (VAUK).
Martin, 41, had always wanted to do the famous walk and by taking his two dogs, three-year-old sisters Jess and Tara, he sees the feat as more of a challenge.
“I got these two purposely for this walk,” said Martin. “Their breed is known for endurance and agility. It’ll be a lot more challenging to do it with two dogs.”
Martin sets off on the walk on St George’s Day, April 23, and expects the 1,200-mile journey to take 67 days, which includes five days of rest.
They will walk an average of 20 miles a day and all three will be carrying their own gear. Martin will have 20kg of gear in his backpack and Jess and Tara will each carry 10kg of food and water in a carrier pack harness designed by Ruffwear.
Martin, an electrical engineer, has been training with the dogs since July, slowly building up to the trek by tackling local routes such as the Dales Way, West Craven Way and Ribble Way.
After setting off from Land’s End, Martin’s journey will take him across several popular walking routes across the country, including the South West Coast Path, Offa's Dyke Path near Chepstow and the Limestone Way in Staffordshire and Derbyshire.
He will then take the Pennine Way to Scotland, where he will follow the Roman road Dere Street and then walk St Cuthbert’s Way. He will join the West Highland Way at Drymen, north of Glasgow, and follow it north into Fort William.
From there, the route heads north into the mountains, which are largely wild and uninhabited. After stopping in Watten, the final leg of the walk will take him to John O’Groats.
Martin, who served in the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment from 1987 to 1993, wants to raise money for VAUK because of what soldiers go through during and after their military service.
“I know what’s been going on over the last the years for the soldiers that have been serving in Afghanistan,” said Martin.
“When I was in the Army, I trained for two years and then served three stints in Northern Ireland. These days, you come straight out of training and you’re off to war. It’s hard for these soldiers and many of them are forgotten after serving their country.”
To make a donation to Martin’s fundraising effort, contact the Pendle-based VAUK in the charity’s office at Sough Bridge Mill, Colne Road, Kelbrook, or ring them on (01282) 787479.