Stuart set to scale the heights

A buildings engineer is planning to swap planes, trains and automobiles for aches, pains and no mobiles as he prepares to travel the entire length of the British Isles using only muscle power.

Stuart Walker is a graduate consultant at the Leeds office of AECOM. He 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.

The 23 year old believes it is the first time the feat has been attempted and is aiming to raise £10,000 for charity along the way.

Stuart, a member of the Pudsey Pacers Running Club, 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 charity at the same time?

“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 it gets difficult, but I’m determined to complete it.”

Stuart will set off in a sea kayak from Scilly at the end of June 2009. He will then spend four weeks paddling, running, cycling, swimming and finally rowing his way up to Shetland. And if that wasn’t challenge enough, he’ll be tackling the highest peak in England, Wales and Scotland on his way (Scafell Pike, Snowdon and Ben Nevis.)

The trip has caught the eye of renowned explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who said: “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 everyone to support the trip as much as possible.”

Stuart will be raising money for three charities – Avert Aids, Water for Kids and the NSPCC and is looking for sponsors to help him on his way. Woodvale, organisers of the famous Atlantic rowing race, have already offered to lend the Challenge an Atlantic rowing boat for the final leg up to Shetland and two foolhardy friends have offered to row with him!

Stuart added: “All of the charities 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. Having three really worthwhile charities to support will make the blisters bearable.”

Anyone interested in sponsoring Stuart’s charity effort can contact him at shelf@shelfbikes.co.uk.

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