'It's been my lifelong ambition' - Yorkshire war veteran well underway on epic 7,500-mile coastal charity challenge

A Yorkshire Royal Navy veteran is well on his way to realising a lifelong dream after completing more than 450 miles of an epic 7,500-mile coastal walk around Great Britain for charity.

Sheffield-born Jim Morton, 60, had the dream of becoming the first person to walk around the coast of mainland Britain aged just seven, when his dad received a book of the road one Christmas.

Jim, who left the Royal Navy in 1981, is now on day 23 of the walk that will take him through England, Scotland and Wales - with him visiting every lighthouse along the way and climbing the highest mountain in each country - after setting off from his Penistone home on Monday April 12.

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Jim Morton, 60, is on day 23 (Tuesday, May 4), of a walk that will take him through England, Scotland and Wales - with him visiting every lighthouse along the way. Picture taken of Mr Morton after setting off from his Penistone home on Monday April 12. Photo credit: James Hardisty/JPIMedia

Thanks to early morning starts Mr Morton, who sets off at 7.30am on most days, has been averaging up to 22.5 miles a day.

The veteran, who alternates between three pairs of walking boots to avoid blisters, confirmed to The Yorkshire Post he had reached Whitehaven yesterday, (Monday May 3) in what had been the “toughest” day of the challenge so far as he contended with gale force winds and continuous rain.

Jim said: "I had many days of glorious sunshine when I set off and today there has been gale force winds and it hasn’t stopped raining since he set off.

“I’m absolutely drowned - I'm soaked to the skin I’ve got all my waterproof gear on - I can still feel myself wet through."

Jim Morton’s challenge will take him up to 15 months to complete, as he raises money for the Gurkha Welfare Trust - which provides financial, medical and development aid to Gurkha veterans, their families and communities. Photo credit: James Hardisty/JPIMedia

He added: “They’ll be plenty more days over the year when I get soaking wet."

The Sheffield-born veteran, whose wife Sue and two pet westies are travelling the route in a motorhome, added he hopes to reach Scotland by Friday.

"It has greatly helped that each night my wife's lovely hot meals are waiting for me when I get home on a night to the motorhome," Jim said.

Jim, who spent most of his Royal Navy service based in the West Indies, said he expects his challenge to take him up to 15 months to complete, as he raises money for the Gurkha Welfare Trust - which provides financial, medical and development aid to Gurkha veterans, their families and communities.

A rescue worker from USAID inspects the site of a building that collapsed in an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2015. Jim Morton is raising money for the Gurkha Welfare Trust to help build houses for those who were destroyed. Photo credit: AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha

Jim, who served on HMS Gurkha, said: "It's been my life-long ambition to walk around the coast and I thought while I'm doing it I might as well try and raise money.

"What's keeping me going is earning money for the Gurkha's... I've always had an affinity to the Gurkha's."

Jim added he was even more determined to raise money for the charity after the devastating Nepal earthquake in 2015 earthquake which killed nearly 9,000 people and injured nearly 22,000. So far the organisation has built 1,500 new homes with Jim hoping to "greatly add" to this number.

He said: "The earthquake in 2015 destroyed a lot of the Gurkha's homes - they didn't have much to start with so to lose their house along with all their possessions is heartbreaking.

Jim said his highlight so far had been climbing Scafell Pike, England's highest mountain at 3210 ft - the same as 978 metres, with his eldest son Scott on day 20.

"The more houses we can build the better."

So far Jim, who each day "travels light" with just his waterproofs, a packed lunch, water and his phone, has had only one day off on his epic walking challenge - day 19, where he had a "rest day" in Ravenglass, Cumbria.

He added his highlight so far had been climbing Scafell Pike, England's highest mountain at 3210 ft - the same as 978 metres, with his eldest son Scott on day 20.

As part of Jim's challenge he will also climb Ben Nevis - the highest mountain in Scotland and the British Isles with the summit 1,345 metres (4,413 ft) above sea level and Snowdon - the highest mountain in Wales, at an elevation of 1,085 metres above sea level.

Jim added: "Anybody can walk, it's having the mindset to carry on walking."

You can donate to Jim's charity challenge here. And to keep up with Jim’s progress search ‘I may be a while’ on Facebook and Instagram.

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