A doctor is nearing the end of a gruelling six-week journey across the Pyrenees for a young people’s charity.
Chris Markwick, of Meadow Road, Gravesend, embarked on his journey from Ebbsfleet at the end of May and is due home this week.
The 46-year-old travelled to Hendaye on the west coast of France where he picked up the GR10 trekking trail and began his hike to the Mediterranean coast.
Going solo, Chris is accompanied only by his 16kg pack, nicknamed ‘Beast’, and a solar powered radio for occasional morale boosting music.
During his trip he has come across bears, boars, bats, Pyrenean mountain dogs, stampeding cows, wild stallions and ticks. He fell 700m down a snow slope, broke a finger, crossed through icy rivers and climbed numerous mountains.
"I love the challenge of long-distance – it’s a real test of your physical and mental stamina. When you are outdoors and walking it is time to think and be mindful of the world around you." - Chris Markwick
The interpid traveller has also walked in rain, 30C degree sun, gale force winds, hail and snow.
In total the GP, who has worked at Highcliffe Medical Practice in Higham for 11 years, will have spent around 45 days camping, living on a high carbohydrate diet of oats and pasta cooked on a small wood-fired stove.
His route also took in the GR11 route in Spain and the infamous high route between the two, ending at Banyuls-sur-Mer on the east coast but after his 700m fall he did deviate and take in some of the GR78 trail through the foothills.
The big adventure is in support of Wild Night Out, a project encouraging people of all ages to plan their own adventures and get outside to raise money for Youth Adventure Trust.
The charity was set up in 1992, to give young people the hope, confidence and life skills to meet the challenges in their lives and build trust and motivation through adventure.
Chris said: “I’ve always loved being outside and walking in the fresh air. I love the challenge of long-distance – it’s a real test of your physical and mental stamina. When you are outdoors and walking it is time to think and be mindful of the world around you.
“Being a GP is a high pressure job and I always feel relaxed after a long walk.”
You can support Chris at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/PyreneesAdventure