We’re all adjusting to our new lives in quarantine as we wait out the storm. But one individual has taken the term “self-isolating” to a whole new level. Meet Chris Lewis, the British ex-paratrooper who was walking the entire coastline of the United Kingdom and raising money for the Armed Forces charity, SSAFA.
Luckily for him, he wasn’t entirely alone. He brought his dog Jet with him for the entire journey, having covered over 12,000 miles together. They were sleeping rough in a tent on an island north of mainland Scotland when the restrictions came in, but were lucky in finding somewhere more substantial.
Due to the kindness of a local individual, he was given access to a boat that could take him to the uninhabited island of Hildasay. On the lonely island, there’s a hut formerly owned by a shepherd that has no running water, electricity, or heating! The owner was nice enough to give him access to the place for the duration of the lockdown.
Looking back at his decision to move to Hildasay, he said, “I thought it would be better if I wasn’t on the mainland – I didn’t want to be in the way.” Once restrictions have been lifted he has every intention to continue on his travels. Until then, it’s just him, Jet, and the 15 sheep also living on the island.
He’s certainly had an amazing opportunity to get in touch with nature, finding himself collecting driftwood, foraging for food, or fishing in the surrounding water. Thankfully, it’s exactly what he’d rather be doing anyway. And Jet’s well looked after, with Chris always ensuring he has at least three weeks’ worth of dog food.
The Happiest He’s Been
If you’re wondering how Chris is coping being so far from civilization, don’t worry that much. “I’ve mainly been in isolation for the past two years due to the nature of the places we’ve been walking,” he admits. Being all alone in a place of such natural beauty has worked out well: “It has really given me a chance to enjoy the island.”
Staying stationary for such an extended period has opened Chris’ mind to what he’s accomplishing in his charity walk. “I’m able to reflect on the walk so far, just realizing what this has done to help me personally and the amount of amazing people there are in the UK.” He’s already raised just shy of $125,000 and has 40,000 people following his unique journey on his Facebook page.
After all, Chris has been on the receiving end of the important work carried out by the SSAFA. “I came out of the forces and I was a single parent,” he revealed, adding “I suffered badly with anxiety and depression. At the time, I wasn’t speaking to anyone. SSAFA showed me there were people out there that were going to be there for me, their support was so personal.” His walk along the UK coastline is incredibly personal, and luckily self-isolating hasn’t dampened his spirits. “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”