Shifnal teenager raises more than £30,000 with walk from Land's End to John O' Groats
An adventurous teenager from Shifnal has raised more than £30,000 for charity after walking from Land's End to John O'Groats on his own.
Tobias Branston, 19, set off from Cornwall in May and reached his destination in Scotland after 56 days, raising thousands for Severn Hospice and Heartburn Cancer UK.
He took on the gruelling challenge after two close friends lost fathers to cancer and said he was 'blown away' by the total amount raised.
"I set a target of £10,000 so to raise £30,000 feels slightly ridiculous – in a brilliant way," he said.
"What is amazing is that when we add Gift Aid, we will be up to near enough £40,000 and so I am totally blown away by the generosity and kindness.
"I thought £10,000 was a significant amount and we hit that before I even started walking!
"Since then, it's been incredible to see people donate and the most special part about it is that total strangers have donated.
"I'd be in a pub on the walk and someone would hand me a £5 because they'd had a friend who had died of cancer or someone who my grandma had been chatting to in a shop handed her a £10 note.
"On the walk, I'd go past someone walking their dog and they would see my charity t-shirts, get chatting to me and rummage around in their pocket for some loose change. That's been really lovely and has all contributed to the whole positive vibe around this experience."
Reflecting on the adventure, Tobias said: "It feels weird getting back into the habit of not waking up and setting off walking every day.
"It's nice to be back home and sleeping in my own bed but I loved it and to have reached my destination a month earlier than planned was just amazing.
"It has been an incredible experience and it's given me an appreciation for the UK and nature in general," he added. "It's encouraged me to consider more walking holidays.
"I might, for example, set off with friends for a weekend to somewhere like the Lake District now and spend a couple of days walking – although not for quite as far!"
The adventure saw the former St Andrews Primary School pupil, unaccompanied, take on a route of more than 1,000 miles on foot, walking up to 25 miles per day.
Tobias, who plans to join the Army after university, slept out in a bivvy bag rather than staying in bed and breakfasts, hostels or hotels in order to maximise the amount he raises.
"I was incredibly lucky with so many factors," he said. "There are so many things that could have gone wrong or that could have made it challenging.
"I had incredible weather and I didn't have any real injuries. My kit held up really well too and I also only encountered super, lovely and charming people.
"So it was brilliant. It's given me huge confidence and made me appreciate how many amazing spots the UK has got and how varied it is, both in terms of landscape and the people who live here."
You can still sponsor Tobias at giving.com/crowdfunding/tobiaswalks.