As scouts we all love the outside and can’t resist an adventure. How many of us have had that conversation of “I’d like to walk the coast”, which bit? “All of it!” Not many of us then? Didn’t think so. Meet Chris Howard otherwise known as Chris the Coast Walker.
Chris is no stranger to adventures having rowed the Atlantic, Cycled across Europe and walked Northern India, to name but a few, however this latest adventure came when none us could adventure – Lockdown 2020.
“I’ve always been an adventurer and at that time I could do little else.” At the end of July 2020 Chris left his wife and family and headed off on his epic adventure. It would take 450 days of consecutive walking, with a break of almost four months due to the Welsh lockdown, seeing Chris finally officially home in March of this year.
His walk wasn’t just to get out and have an adventure. Chris used his journey to share his passion for the environment as well as raise money for Children in Need. The early months of travelling, with Covid-19 restrictions still in place meant the walk was often isolated, as restrictions lifted there were more opportunities to see and interact with people.
In the four month break, between Christmas 2020 and April 2021, Chris reached out and made more contacts with scout and youth groups. Sharing his experience and passion for our coast and environment with online talks.
“The whole experience has become less about the places, our coast is stunning and there is so much to see, but it was the people. As restrictions lifted and people heard about the walk they started meeting me on the beach, offering me food, places to stay or even a night In a hotel with a meal”. Scout Groups, youth clubs, schools and individuals would meet Chris and either spend time litter picking or walking with him for part of the day.
Chris’ adventures started in Scouts. “I am where I am now because of Scouts. The impact you as volunteers on young people is incredible and you need to know how important you are. Never underestimate the experience you are giving and the impact you have on the young people you interact with”.
To date Chris has raised £42,500 for Children in Need but his “greatest achievement to date” is the The Conservation Award. Its Occasional Badge supported by Devon Scouts. You can find out more about the badge here.
Chris is here at Reunion 2022 to share his experience as the Guest Speaker. You can hear Chris on the Training Ground this afternoon (Saturday) around 15:00 following the Youth Commissioners Handover.
If you want to find our more about Chris, his adventures and his talks check out his website: https://thecoastwalker.com/