A great-granddad determined to get his name in the Guinness Book of World Records waited 14 YEARS to become the oldest person to walk from Lands’ End to John O’Groats.
Keen walker Anthony Allsop began his epic journey just after his 75th birthday.
The retired wall and floor tiler finished the epic walk in 56 days and said he was “thrilled” to have achieved the world record.
Mr Allsop, who left his wife Beryl, 74, at home while he journeyed across the country, said: “I checked the previous record holder and knew it was a 74-year-old who had done it over a decade before.
“I originally completed this trek in the reverse order in 1993 and I thought I’ll wait a bit and see if I can have a go at breaking the record.”
And break the record he did but only on a second attempt after revising his initial plans.
He said: “I started out on my first go in June last year – just me and a heavy rucksack with all my things.
“After a few days I quickly realised that I wasn’t going to make it. The bag was too heavy and I needed another way to transport my things.
“I turned back and started a new journey a month later but this time with a van which I could leave the majority of my things in.
“I would park the van and then walk about 20 miles at the beginning of each day. Then at about 3-4pm, I would take public transport back to the van and then drive it to where I had walked to, rest and repeat the next day.
“Some days I wouldn’t get back to the day’s finishing spot until 8pm which made it very tiring.
“I had ten rest days throughout the journey, normally on a Sunday and a couple together when I had a swollen ankle and needed to wait for it to get better.”
Fortunately for Mr Allsop, who is a dad-of-four, granddad of 12 and great-granddad of 10, he was never completely alone on his journey with Darwin the bear by his side.
Mr Allsop said: “My wife bought me Darwin as a lucky mascot and I spent a lot of time talking to him. I still have him, he made it all the way back with me.
“There was no drama with Darwin on my second attempt but he wasn’t so lucky when we started the first attempt without the van.
“We were walking across a field and following a footpath when we started to be followed by a herd of cows.
“We got to a barbed wire fence and I had to scramble underneath it. I threw my bag and Darwin over the fence and he landed in a big mud pile so he needed a good wash after that.
“But fortunately nothing happened to us on the main walk.”
Mr Allsop described how he lived on “chips, Mars bars and Guinness” for two months and saw some wonderful scenery on his travels.
He said: “Every day was a highlight for me.”
Mr Allsop has been a keen walker for many years and his lifelong hobby has started to rub off on the younger members of his family.
Mr Allsop said: “My eldest great-grandson is 13 and he said he was doing a coast to coast walk through school but he needed someone to do it with so we did it together.
“I introduced him to Guinness on the trip but don’t tell his mother.”
Mr Allsop made it back to his wife and home at the beginning of September but the journey back in his van was the most traumatic aspect of his months of travelling.
He said: “I was driving back home from the finishing point and it was pouring down with rain – absolutely torrential – when suddenly my wipers stopped working and I couldn’t see a thing.
“That was the most dramatic thing that happened throughout the whole trip. Obviously there were low points, I got shin splints and blisters but the only way to cure it is to walk through the pain and get your feet to toughen up.”