Stuart Walker on the fells

Stuart Walker on the fells

A long-distance runner is preparing for the ultimate challenge: the length of the whole British Isles using only muscle power.

Adventure racer Stuart Walker will tackle the 2,250km (1,400-mile) route from the Isles of Scilly to the tip of Shetland by boat, bike and on foot, to raise cash for charity. The 23-year-old buildings engineer from Leeds believes it is the first time the feat has been attempted.

Stuart’s training includes fell running and sea kayaking practice for the venture, which he hopes to start at the end of June. He will spend four weeks paddling, running, swimming, cycling and rowing from the southern tip of the British Isles to their northern extremity.

On the way, he will climb the highest mountains in Wales, England and Scotland and has enlisted the support of renowned explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who said: “I wish Stuart all the best with his British Isles Challenge journey and fundraising efforts.

“It may not be an expedition to the ends of the earth, but the venture brings its own very real challenges, and will certainly test him to the limits. I would urge anyone to support the trip as much as possible.”

Three charities will benefit from the challenge, and Stuart is keen to attract sponsors for the venture. He said: “I’m keen on distance running, but always just do it for pleasure, so I thought why not give myself a real challenge and raise money for three great charities at the same time?

Practising for the sea-kayaking sections

Practising for the sea-kayaking sections

“I’m used to doing one- or two-day races, so four weeks will be pretty gruelling. It’ll be a huge challenge, and I’m sure there will be many times when I feel like quitting, but I’m determined to complete it and having three really worthwhile charities to support will make the blisters bearable.

“Avert Aids, Water for Kids and the NSPCC all make such a difference to so many lives, so I hope to reach if not exceed my target to help them continue their life changing work.”

The Pudsey Pacers member has set up justgiving websites for the three charities, details of which are on his blog.

Part of his training involves taking part in the 100km (62-mile) Fellsman event being run next month in the Yorkshire Dales.

His route for the British Isles challenge starts at Western Rocks, a few miles south-west of St Agnes in Scilly. He then travels via Land’s End, the Brecon Beacons, Snowdon, the Peak District, over Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis followed by a kayak journey up the Great Glen, up to John O’Groats then into a rowing boat for the crossing to Orkney then Shetland, finishing at Outstack, north of Shetland’s Unst ending back in a sea kayak for his last few miles.

Previously, Stuart has taken part in the Mongol Rally for charity, navigating a Jeep from London to Kazakhstan, and last year picked up most points in the Vasque Ultra-running championships.

Inventor James Dyson has donated a signed vacuum cleaner which will be auctioned for the challenge. Anyone interested in sponsoring Stuart’s charity effort can contact him at