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Fundraiser set to complete Wales Coast Path leg of 5,000 mile walk around coast of GB in aid of homelessness

CLAIRE Allen, a Charity Communications professional from Bristol, is set to reach the next milestone of her challenging 5,000-mile walk around the coast of Great Britain this week (5th May) as she completes the Wales Coast Path.

After setting out on 8th August 2023 and reaching her halfway point at Land’s End in February, Claire is about to complete the Wales Coast Path where she will celebrate walking a total of 3,000 miles so far.

In light of recent research showing at least 309,000 homeless people in England alone, a 14% percent rise over the past year, Claire is hoping to raise an incredible £25,000 for two homelessness charities, Only A Pavement Away and Shelter. She has currently raised almost £14,500 between the two charities.

Carrying her belongings with her, Claire has battled intense weather conditions, an infected tick bite and a hungry fox ripping open her tent. Finding somewhere to sleep every night has been challenging too, especially during the winter months. As well as camping, she’s relied on the kindness of strangers for a bed and a meal – including B&Bs and hotels who’ve generously offered her a free stay.

Talking about the highlights of walking the Wales Coast Path, Claire said: “The Wales Coast Path is a highlight in and of itself. It’s got everything – majestic cliff tops, woodlands, rolling fields, rivers, wild flowers and hundreds of lambs!

“I’ve hit Wales at exactly the right time and there are lambs born every day. I never get bored of watching them bounce around their field.”

  • Other highlights include:
  • The cakes – Welsh cakes and Bara Brith have become a daily staple.
  • The people! Friendly, welcoming, generous.
  • The language. I love hearing people speak Welsh – it’s a beautiful language and widely spoken, especially in mid and North Wales.
  • Snowdonia – it’s been incredible to have spent time right on the edge of Snowdonia (Eryri) national park and walk with the mountains as a backdrop.
  • The castles! There are dozens of them – in varying states of repair. It’s unusual to find a town without a castle and they each represent a slice of history.”

Claire said: “For me, spending a year away from home, staying somewhere different every night, is a choice. But there are thousands of people who have no option but to sleep on the streets or stay somewhere unsafe or insecure.”

“Homelessness is a crisis that none of us can ignore. It’s visible in every town and city. Along the way, I’ve met people that are homeless and rough sleeping and none of them have chosen that life. Losing your home could be down to something as commonplace as a marriage break up, becoming unemployed, or falling out with your family.

“I’ve never been homeless, and I hope I never will be. But having no fixed abode opens your eyes to the importance of access to basic facilities – drinking water, public toilets, warm spaces to sit. I’ve spent a lot of time in public libraries, railway station waiting rooms because they’re warm, dry and free.”

As she approaches the end of the Wales Coast Path, Claire is very grateful for the support she has received from friends, families and strangers she’s met along the way. From offering her a bed for the night to walking with her on stretches of her gruelling journey, she has been inspired and empowered by so many people!

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Claire wants to give a particular shout out to some of the amazing people in Wales who have given her a bed for the night or supported in another vital way:

  • Carl and Anja at the Snowdon Lodge hostel
  • John at YHA Borth, Yvonne at the Royal Hotel in Barmouth
  • Gareth at Bodalwyn Guest House in Aberystwyth
  • Ken at International Backpackers Hostel in Llansteffan
  • Paul at the Old School Hostel in Trefin. 
  • Helen and Richard at Ffyonnwenn B and B in Aberporth who fed me dinner as well as giving me bed for the night. 
  • Julie at Oyster cabs in Swansea who donated her fare to Claire’s JustGiving page

Claire said: “After nearly nine months and about 5,000 km, I’m excited to be completing the next leg of my walk – the Wales Coast Path.

“I’ve met dozens of incredible people, received help from the most unexpected places, weathered storms, experienced the natural beauty of the Wales Coast Path and raised almost £14,500 for charity!

“As I head to Liverpool and then into Lancashire on the next leg of my walk, I will miss the friendly faces and stunning sights of Wales but look forward to the next stage of my journey. I’m hoping to raise 75% of my £25,000 target by the time I reach the Scottish border in Carlisle.”

To follow Claire’s progress, visit her Instagram page and to donate to either Shelter or Only a Pavement Away, visit Claire’s JustGiving page.