Ex-marine completes second lap of Britain's coast

A former Royal Marine has completed his second lap of Britain's coastline after a hike of almost 12,500 miles (20,000km) lasting three years.

In autumn 2020, Paul Harris had been struggling with his mental health when he quit his job in Bournemouth and set off with just a bag and £300.

Last year, six weeks after completing his first circuit, he embarked on a "victory lap" to raise money for charity.

The 40-year-old, who has been walking between 25 and 40 miles a day, finished his journey in London shortly after 20:00 BST.

Posting on social media, he said it had been the "best and hardest journey of my life so far".

"I'm taking a minute as I've hurt myself hard to get this done and over the line," he said, adding that he would now be "grabbing a beer and a breath".

Speaking to BBC Radio Solent earlier , he said: "I had an hour and a half sleep last night.

"My feet are so swollen I can barely put my shoes on.

"Since I left Lulworth, it's been mostly concrete - everything's hurting."

Mr Harris believes he is the only person to have walked twice around Britain's coast - first clockwise, then anticlockwise.

The first lap took him 19 months and his latest circuit took a year.

He said: "I'll have walked 21,000km, which is a hard number to get in your head. It's like walking from London to Sydney."

Mr Harris served in Afghanistan during his four and a half years in the marines, before spending seven years in his "dream job" working as a kindergarten teacher in Thailand, but problems renewing his visa forced him to return to the UK.

He took up a job in a call centre but admits he "hated his life" - that was until a friend urged him to "write a book and walk the UK".

Three weeks later, he resigned from his job and set up an Instagram account - The Warrior Walker - to document his adventure.

He said: "I basically cried my way around the UK on the first lap because people were putting me up and it was just like therapy.

"The kindness of strangers has changed my life.

"I thought, I can't really pay it forward because I haven't got any money, so I thought I'd raise money for charity."

Mr Harris has so far raised about £10,000 for MIND, Great North Air Ambulance, Samaritans and Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres).

Asked if he had any advice for others, he said: "Just talk.

"I was a marine and I never used to do that - it's really unburdened me and made me feel a really good person."

He said, after completing his challenge, he planned to have "a big, big rest".

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