SSAFA beneficiary and fundraiser Chris Lewis to feature on BBC's 'Our Lives: The Long Walk Home'

14 September 2021

BBC Wales documentary The Long Walk Home, part of the Our Lives series, follows ex-paratrooper Chris Lewis on his adventure of self-discovery, survival and renewed confidence as he walks around the entire UK coastline.

In August 2017, Chris set off from Llangennith beach in Gower, on this incredible journey. Four years and 13,000 miles on, the programme joins him south of Aberdeen, in the small village of Gourdon. But with Scotland back in lockdown, Chris is unable to continue his journey, so keeps active by building a woodland shelter to live in until he can safely move on.

With the long trip ahead, Chris realised early into his trek that he would appreciate some company. He found himself in the right place at the right time when he adopted a dog, Jet, from a family who were unable to keep her anymore. Jet wasn’t the only companion that Chris would find on his adventure though. By pure twist of fate, he found love with a fellow traveller in Scotland, Kate. They met after her foreign travel plans had been scuppered by Covid.

Chris reveals his past issues with depression and the inspiration for taking on this huge challenge. As a single dad, his daughter’s move to college left him feeling alone and without anything to focus on. However, a moment of clarity came whilst surfing, when he caught the biggest wave he’d ever ridden. In that moment, he made the life-altering decision.

Over the course of the four years, Chris has learned to live off the land, but has also been overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers as they have provided shelter, warm clothing and food for him to keep going. He has already raised over £200,000 for SSAFA, the charity that supported him when he found himself homeless following his military service.

As he moves south through Edinburgh, Chris reflects on his travels so far: “Every country in the UK is absolutely beautiful but it just happened to be here in Scotland where I found myself. I came here a little broken and I’m going to leave here not just unbroken, but with a dog and my girlfriend. What I’ve really learned from this journey is that home can be in many different places and exist in many different forms.

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