Army veteran walking UK coastline after his mental health struggles has found happiness
A paratrooper who was left homeless after leaving the military has revealed how the girlfriend he met while trekking remote Scottish islands has given birth to their first child.
Former British paratrooper Chris Lewis, 42, found himself ‘struggling’ with money after leaving the army in 2004, and was left living on the streets before seeking help from military charity SSAFA.
In August 2017, single dad Chris set off from Beach Hill car park in Swansea, with £10 in his pocket, to walk the entire coastline in the UK, in a bid to raise funds for the charity that helped rebuild his life.
The former paratrooper met his long term partner Kate Barron while on the road in 2020, and the two immediately connected.
They appeared on This Morning today to introduce Holly and Phil to their nine-month-old son Magnus, saying they were looking forward to finishing off Chris’ expedition around the UK together.
Former British paratrooper Chris Lewis, who was left homeless after leaving the military has revealed how the girlfriend he met while trekking remote Scottish islands has given birth to their first child
Chris, who served with the 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment, decided to embark on the fundraising mission with ‘a tenner and two days’ worth of rations’, and has relied on his military skills and the goodwill of the public to survive.
When he set out on his journey almost six years ago, he said he ‘promised to himself that he would come back and cross that line feeling happy.’
‘I haven’t even crossed the line yet and I can promise you that I am happy,’ he told ITV’s This Morning.
Chris said things had been quite lonely during his walk – that is before he found Jet, a stray dog he adopted in Irvine, Scotland.
When the first lockdown hit in March 2020, two years into Chris’ journey, he ended up camping out on an uninhabited island in Shetland, where he had an ‘amazing’ time with his beloved pet.
Chris spent three months living in a former shepherd’s hut on Hildasay before continuing his expedition in June.
However at the same time, Kate explained that she decided to solo travel and wild camp around Scotland, and came across Chris camping on a secluded beach.
On the last day of her trip, she said: ‘I walked out to the bottom of a cliff and I just see him there’.
They appeared on This Morning today to introduce Holly and Phil (pictured left) to their nine-month-old son Magnus
Now almost at the end of his staggeringly long walk, Chris said it hasn’t been without its challenges
‘Immediately I just thought, I was just drawn to him and I thought I have to go and speak to him.’
Chris joked that he had been ‘fighting a shark’ at the time, with Kate responding ‘that’s his narrative!’ before admitting the quilt-wearing man had been ‘Thor-like’.
They spoke for a few minutes, before Kate left. She immediately regretted walking off and returned forty minutes later, and asked if she could camp next to him.
The pair stayed in touch, and six weeks later had their first date in a bothy on the Black Isle.
They went on to continue Chris’s journey as a pair, and then a family when they welcomed their son Magnus last year.
Now Chris, his partner, their baby son and dog Jet, will cross the finish line of his mammoth journey in Swansea together.
Almost at the end of his staggering walk, Chris said it hasn’t been without its challenges, revealing that without any money he had to scavenge for food and even rummage in bins.
Adventurous couple, Chris and his then-girlfriend Kate Barron, met while both exploring Scotland. Pictured in December 2020
He also broke his ankle, had to pull out one of his own teeth, and went without food for several days as he was stranded on an island with boats unable to cross during lockdown.
But he said, the support of people he met along the way and who sponsored him helped him though. ‘It was more difficult at the beginning because nobody knew what I was doing.
‘Over time the generosity of people has been brilliant, it is what has got me to really rebuild that confidence in myself.’
The intrepid hiker said he is looking forward to going to a sauna when he eventually finish the years’ long journey, which they hope to do soon.