Marathon Walker Takes On Britain and Ireland Coastline For RNLI

Over the years I’ve met a number of ambitious characters who pass through Ardglass, but none so determined as 22-year old Alex Ellis-Roswell from Kent.

Alex is a man on a mission. He is walking round the coastline of Britain and Ireland – an appromiately 9500 miles journey on foot – fundraising for the RNLI. To date he has raised a whopping £8000 and there is a long way to go yet.

[caption id="attachment_57827" align="alignleft" width="390"]Alex Ellis-Rosswell from Medway on Kent on his way on foot around the coast of Ireland and Great Britain fundraising for the RNLI. Alex Ellis-Roswell from Medway on Kent on his way on foot around the coast of Ireland and Great Britain fundraising for the RNLI.[/caption]

Speaking to Down News over a breakfast in Doyle’s restaurant in Ardglass at the North Dock, Alex said: “So far I’ve completed 3500 miles. It’s been quite an experience so far. I decided to take this fundraising venture on after my father passed away as he was always associated closely with the sea.

“I got a send off on the 3rd April 2014 from my home in Medway and have been walking since then continuously. So far I’ve covered the Welsh coast, around the South and South-West around Cornwall, up through Liverpool and Lancashire to Cumbria and I’ve done the Isle of Mann.

“It was in the Isle of Mann in Port St Mary that someome said to me, why don’t you include Ireland north and south, and I made a tough decision… to include this on my intinary.

“Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have 41 RNLI Lifeboat stations around the coast who, like the British and Manx stations, rely 100% on donations from the public and on volunteers. When I started walking, things were different and it was never a thought to make this walk longer.

“So I’ve decided when I got to Stranraer I would get get the ferry across to Belfast. From there I’ll be walking clockwise around the whole thing. Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. I’ll get back to Stranraer sometime around Spring next year and start walking North again up the West coast of Scotland.

“Right now it feels like this could be one of the most stupid things I’ve ever decided to do and it’s a bit scary.

“I’m going to run out of money before I finish Ireland. It’s going to be another 2500 miles of walking on top of the 7000 I’d already planned to do round Britain.

“But it also feels like the right time, and the right thing to do. And I think you’ve got to regret the things you do, rather than the things you don’t do.


“I gave up my business in direct marketing and took this venture on. This is a huge challenge and require tremendous commitment and determination. It’s not for the faint hearted.

“It’s my aim to complete the Irish coastline by next April and then take on Scotland in the better months before the winter. That will be a real challenge. I’m trying to avoid the severe winter weather in Scotland. Then I’ll finish my journey with a walk down the east coast of Scotland and England through London and home to Kent… for a long  feet massage!

[caption id="attachment_57828" align="alignright" width="270"]Alex Ellis-Rosswell from Kent passing by the harbour in Ardglass on his way around the coast of Ireland to fundraise for the RNLI. Alex Ellis-Roswell from Kent passing by the harbour in Ardglass on his way around the coast of Ireland to fundraise for the RNLI.[/caption]

“So far I’ve found people very supportive. I have a budget of £5 per day to live on and I get by incredibly. I have a tent sponsored by Vango which is brilliant.”

Over the next few days Alex will be walking on from Ardglass along the Ulster Way and coastline to Newry and over the County Lough for the next leg in his odyssey around Ireland.

Looking back at his experiences so far, Alex said: “I’ve woken up on Church doorsteps covered in ice twice, been chased by bulls three times, been checked by the police a number of times, and fallen into a river twice. It’s a journey not without its incidents.

“But everywhere I go I am heartened by the generosity of people who buy me a meal or put me up for the night occasionally. In Ardglass I met John Burns who gave me a bed for the night and I’m really grateful for that, and he passed on some contacts in Newcastle for the next leg of my journey. I came to Ardglass through Chapeletown and enjoyed a meal at Curran’s Bar. I had walked over from Portavogie having coming there from Belfast.

“I’m amazed at the great effort made by the RNLI volunteers around the coast of Britain and Ireland in keeping people safe at sea. They do make a huge difference and certainly save lives – that is the reason I’m supporting this charity. They are a very dedicated group of people and deserve all the support they can get.”

Alex uses the GPS tracker on his mobile phone to post on social media and you can follow his journey as he foots it around the coast of Ireland.

Check out: Facebook Alex Ellis-Roswell

Alex added: “I do stick to the road as much as possible but I do have occasional danders across beaches and hills – wherever the coastal path and road takes me. It could take me another two years to complete my travels but I’m not in any hurry. I enjoy what I’m doing. It’s for a brilliant cause and I hope that people here support my efforts.”

Gavin Doyle, owner of Doyle’s Restaurant in Ardglass said: “We were delighted to see Alex this morning.  We had a great chat with him. He is a real character and is very determined to complete his mission. I dare say he will. We wish him all the very best and hope he enjoys his travels through County Down.”

You can make a donation to the RNLI through Alex’s Facebook page.

Support Alex and support the RNLI !