Every once in a blue moon, someone comes along whose story is truly inspirational and former soldier Christian Nock’s is just that.
On Saturday afternoon - by sheer coincidence on the same weekend as the Shower of Perseids blazed across the night sky - Christian tabbed into Stonehaven on day 368 of his solo non-stop coastal walk right around the mainland of Great Britain, sleeping rough each night as he raises funds for Help for www.helpforheroes.org.uk.
Having started anti-clockwise at Blackpool on Augus 8, 2012, Christian hopes to complete his marathon walk within three years and is now into his 11th pair of hiking boots.
Stonehaven really pushed the boat out, with warden Wendy Sylvester at world-class Dunnottar Castle offering a free tour, and Aberdeenshire Lady Provost Jill Webster and councillors Wendy Agnew and Carl Nelson greeting him there.
As he reached the war memorial, well kent local bagpiper Ian ‘Skirlie’ McFadden stepped out of the stonework to pipe him downhill into Stonehaven for a welcome pint at the harbourside Ship Inn, followed by a free dook in the town’s fabulous heated Open Air Pool, a further refreshment at the Market Bar and then a haddock supper ‘on the house’ from Calum Richardson at the Bay, the UK’s top independent fish and chips outlet.
A wee impromptu ceilidh followed at the Caravan Club site, courtesy of wardens Richard and Maggie.
Two days later, Christian was once again off on his increasingly legendary travels and is now well north of Aberdeen, taking wonderful photos almost every step of the way.
He can be followed at www.facebook.com/christian.britain.3.
If you see him during his long hike, give him a wave and a cheer, and if you missed him at Stonehaven, please consider contributing online anyway at www.bmycharity.com/ChristianNock, where the total this extraordinary man has raised so far, stands at an extraordinary £100,000.