A LOCKDOWN dog walk has ended in a 1,400 mile virtual trek around Britain.

Richard Western, from Hurworth, in Darlington, started the challenge almost accidentally after starting to record his walks with eight-year-old cocker spaniel Hattie at the start of lockdown in March 2020.

His regular 4.2 mile circular walk soon started adding up, and after looking at a map realised he had walked as far as Edinburgh. Setting himself the challenge of getting to John O'Groats before Christmas, he then decided to keep going, taking his virtual walk along Scotland's coast, eventually getting to Penrith, before heading home again.

In total, he has completed 340 walks during the last 16 months, covering 1,445 miles.

The 76-year-old said: “It became quite a big challenge. It's been a bit of fun in lockdown but I was quite pleased to complete it."

Though the challenge, Mr Western, who is a member of Darlington Rotary, has raised more than £200 for the Cinnamon Trust, the National Charity for the elderly, the terminally ill and their pets.

Among other things, it helps older people to continue having the comfort of a pet when perhaps they may feel they may not have enough years to look after it.

The trust finds them a suitable pet and will help the owner look after it, and even provide such comforts as a dog walker if needed.

Mr Western added: “My wife, Sylvia, suggested it as a very appropriate and worthwhile cause, given how much pleasure Hattie gives us.”

People can still donate through the Darlington Rotary charity account 20-25-29, account number 30928828.

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