HIKER David Freestone is getting in training for a charity trek along the south west coastline by walking to his ‘local’ pub twice a week.

David is limbering up to walk 630 miles of the famous South West Coast Path from Minehead to Poole in March to raise money for Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW).

And to get himself match fit for the challenge he has been walking to his local pub – a 10 mile round trip  -  from his home in Somerset to the Alhampton Inn in Alhampton, two to three times a week.

“I’ve been training a lot,” he said. “The pub is 5 miles away and do great ales. I make sure to reward myself with a pint.”

Retired consultant David, a father-of-three and a grandfather, is no stranger to trekking having developed a love of walking after he retired.

This is not the first walking challenge David has undertaken.

Almost six years ago David took on The Camino Frances, an 880km trek from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France across the north of Spain to Finisterre via Santiago de Compostela. The walk is also widely known as ‘The Way.’ 

With 8kgs of possessions on his back, including 1kg of ukulele, he set off on his solo challenge, quickly meeting other like-minded souls along the route, staying in ‘albergues’ (hostels) along the way.

“Surprisingly, after only one week, walking and talking with many wonderful people from all over the world and with a boot full of blisters, I could answer the core of my question, 'why?,” said David.

“The answer was clear. To appreciate everything I have and how little I need.”

Since 'The Way', David has completed numerous other walks, including The Primitivo, The Portuguese Camino and The Portuguese Fishermen's Trail.

David went on to complete a number of Caminos over the next few years along with walking the Jurassic coast.

But his south west trek, which will also take in the whole of the Cornish Celtic Way, is his first for charity.

He will be camping in his tent along the route, which he expects will take around six weeks to complete.

“The children’s hospice is so embedded in the south west, that walking the coastal path just goes hand in hand,“ said David.

“I’ve had a wonderful life which I am exceptionally grateful for and CHSW helps young people make the most of their short and precious lives. It’s such a stark contrast and that’s why I wanted to fundraise for the charity on this walk.”

David has set up a Just Giving Page for anyone wanting to donate and has already raised more than £700.

Anyone wanting to donate can do so here.

CHSW area fundraiser Kylie Gallagher said: “We are delighted to have David taking on this incredible personal challenge on our behalf and are looking forward to welcoming him on a tour of Charlton Farm ahead of his walk to see first-hand the difference his fundraising will make to local families we support.”

To find out more about fundraising for CHSW please visit www.chsw.org.uk/getinvolved