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Epic walker embarks on coastal trek via Gravesend

PUBLISHED: 10:03 24 February 2011

Andreas Gschwari who is walking the UK coastline, an epic 4,600 miles, in aid of the charity Trees for Life

Andreas Gschwari who is walking the UK coastline, an epic 4,600 miles, in aid of the charity Trees for Life

Archant

STRIDER Andreas Gschwari arrived in north Kent as part of an epic 4,600-mile walk around the entire British coastline in a year.

The 34-year-old IT designer embarked on the gruelling challenge bid to raise £10,000 for conservation charity Trees for Life which works to restore the Caledonian Forest in the Scottish Highlands.

After setting off from Brighton on Sunday, February 6, he is walking the entire main island of the UK and several outlying islands. If all goes to plan, he is due to return to Brighton in February 2012.

Mr Gschwari — who is originally from Austria but who has lived in Britain for 10 years — briefly posed for pictures on Gravesham riverfront near the pier before travelling on to Dartford and Erith.

He said: “I want to raise as much money as possible for Trees for Life and to highlight the importance of conservation and tackling climate change, while enjoying a challenging, but fun journey through some of the most beautiful countryside in the world.

“It is an excellent charity that works tirelessly to restore the Caledonian Forest. It has achieved remarkable results, planting over 900,000 trees so far. Habitats have been created and wildlife has returned to previously barren areas.

“This work has had a profound impact on the Highlands and is tremendously important. Restoring natural woodland creates habitats, boosts biodiversity and provides a natural carbon sink that helps to combat climate change.”

Having grown up in the heart of the Austrian Alps, he now works in Guildford, Surrey, but says his joy of hiking in mountains for as long as he can remember inspired his latest venture.

Mr Gschwari added: “The idea for the walk just popped into my head. Bringing together my love for the outdoors and this magnificent country with promoting conservation and raising money for Trees for Life’s brilliant work is a perfect combination. And I’ll be able to drastically reduce my carbon footprint for a year.”

During the journey, he will be mainly camping to keep costs down, with some stops at friends’ houses, youth and backpacker hostels and occasional B&Bs.

Alan Watson Featherstone, executive director of Trees for Life, said: “Andreas is providing a superb example of commitment and inspired action through the challenge he has set himself. His coastal walk has the potential to be a life-changing event and will generate important funding and publicity for our work of restoring the Caledonian Forest.”

Visit www.walking-for-trees.org.uk to track his progress.

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