A CHARITABLE pensioner stopped off in the North-East half-way through his walk from London to Loch Ness.

In a bid to raise funds for nine charities, 69-year-old John Dodd is walking almost 700 miles along A-roads to reach Scotland.

He has dubbed his solo walk the 2014 Special Walk – Visiting Nessie and it is one of four annual charity walks he undertakes each year.

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Previous years have seen him set out on treks in honour of celebrities such as Christopher Lee and June Whitfield.

His Christopher Lee 90th Birthday Celebration Walk raised more than £900 for charity and a kilted Mr Dodd is hoping to beat that with his walk to Scotland.

During his stop-off in Darlington, he said: “I am sadly not married and have no members of my family left so this is a way of filling in time.

“The worst part of it is travelling in some dangerous places, especially along A-roads but the best part is getting to meet so many nice people who can be really generous.

“I’ve had supermarkets giving me food and drink and some accommodations have knocked money off for me or made donations.”

Mr Dodd set off on Saturday, May 24 and hopes to reach his destination by the end of June.

He will be accepting donations along the way and says the best way to support his efforts would be to make a direct contribution to his chosen charities, which include Prostrate Cancer UK, the Sue Ryder Hospice and the Scotland Charity Air Ambulance.