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Aussie walks the coast of Britain to raise cancer-fighting cash

Josh Hicks stops in Peterhead during his coastal walk for charity.
Josh Hicks stops in Peterhead during his coastal walk for charity.

An Australian farmer is trekking the coast of Britain to raise money to fight cancer after he was inspired by a friend who was left wheelchair-bound by the disease.

Josh Hicks, who is originally from Mount Compass near Adelaide, began his journey at Lands End earlier this year and, walking clockwise, has now reached Aberdeenshire.

Averaging around 25 miles of walking each day, dairy farmer Mr Hicks has described Scotland as the most beautiful leg of his journey to date.

He said: “The area around Applecross was undoubtedly the most beautiful, that stretch of coast where the mountains meet the sea.

“I am on my way to Peterhead and I will push past that and then aim for Cruden Bay. I am running out of pounds so I may have to stop and take on some work.

“I am going to try a bit of couch surfing in Aberdeen.

“At this stage, I am finding it ridiculously easy. I had a tough time of it during the first couple of months, but my body is getting accustomed to it.”

Mr Hicks set himself an initial target of raising £5,000 in the UK and a further $10,000 in Australia. And to date, he has passed the halfway mark in both fundraising drives and is confident of improving on that total in the weeks ahead.

Upon completing his journey, the 25-year-old will split the cash between two charities: Children with Cancer UK and The Canteen Australia.

He added: “I decided to do the walk and was looking for the charity. I contacted my friend who had a bout of testicular cancer. He survived, but surgery left him in a wheelchair. He is in remission now.

“But he witnessed a lot of kids come through [the illness] during his time in hospital. That’s why he recommended these charities.”

In total, his epic journey encompasses around 6,000 miles of walking and Mr Hicks has largely relied on Google Maps to keep him on track.

Initially, he suffered with blisters and knee problems, but he has transcended these early travails, and is now at full fitness.

Mr Hicks lived in Britain for around a year before embarking on his mammoth adventure in June. He previously plied his trade on a farm in Cornwall and is clearly at ease with the great outdoors.

As the prelude to setting off down the Buchan Coast towards Aberdeen – in the hope of catching a sight of the humpback whale which has been spotted at the mouth of the river Ythan near Newburgh – Mr Hicks admitted the longest journey he had ever made on foot previously was just three days long.

But he has risen to the challenge and is marching on with a steely determination to raise as much as he possibly can.

If you want to sponsor Mr Hicks, please visit: www.facebook.com/shesafairhike/

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