Surrey cyclist's 5,000-mile challenge inspired by barefoot walk

image copyrightJosh Garman
image captionJosh Garman will be towing his self-made camper around the British coastline

A man is taking on a 5,000-mile (8,000km) cycle challenge after being inspired by a father's barefoot walk.

Josh Garman, 22, from Milford near Guildford, is planning on cycling the coast of Great Britain starting in Berwick-upon-Tweed.

He will be pulling a self-made camper weighing about eight stone (50kg) which he will be sleeping in throughout.

Mr Garman said he was inspired by Maj Chris Brannigan's 700-mile (1,126km) walk in aid of his daughter's charity.

The Hope for Hasti charity is named after Maj Brannigan's eight-year-old daughter who has the rare genetic condition Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS).

Mr Garman said his aim was to raise £50,000 for the charity which funds research and provides treatment for those with CdLS and other rare genetic conditions.

image copyrightJosh Garman
image captionMr Garman described himself as an "amateur bikepacker"

Maj Brannigan, based at Tidworth Barracks in Wiltshire, arrived at Edinburgh Castle on 12 August having started his shoeless challenge at Land's End on 6 July.

Mr Garman said he had watched one of Maj Brannigan's videos, in which his feet were "torn to pieces".

image copyrightChris Brannigan
image captionMaj Brannigan did his barefoot walk to raise money for the charity set up in his daughter Hasti's name

He said: "I am young, and with the potential to follow in Chris' footsteps, have vowed to do whatever I can to help this charity and the many children with rare diseases that are so often overlooked.

"The idea of a child like Hasti, bubbling with laughter and smiles, not being able to live a full life seems like an injustice."

What is Cornelia de Lange Syndrome?

  • Children with CdLS are small at birth and remain small compared to children of the same age
  • They are all slow learners but this varies from mild to severe
  • Some children have limb abnormalities which range from extremely small or malformed hands to complete absence of forearms
  • Most children with the syndrome have some hearing impairment and in some cases this may be severe enough for them to need hearing aids
  • Approximately one in 10 children with the syndrome will have an abnormality of the heart

Source: CdLS Foundation UK and Ireland

Mr Garman, who describes himself as an "amateur bikepacker", has quit his supermarket job to train for the trip which he expects will take him about five months to complete.

He said: "I will be going through seaside towns, small villages, I love the idea of connecting people and communities and bringing them together united by the rare disease cause."

image copyrightJosh Garman
image captionJosh Garman's journey started on the Northumberland coast

Mr Garman says he will be carrying a drawing made by Hasti and her favourite soft toy, Obama the Llama, which her father had also taken on his barefoot journey last summer.

image copyrightHope for Hasti
image captionHasti's favourite toy, Obama the Llama, is on the journey too

Setting off from Berwick-upon-Tweed on Saturday, Mr Garman posted on Facebook: "Straight away I realised how tough this is going to be using all my strength to pull the camper up hills and through coastal winds."

image copyrightHope for Hasti
image captionThe final leg of Maj Brannigan's journey took him from Lauder to Edinburgh

Maj Brannigan, said: "We can't thank Josh enough for taking on this epic challenge. The journey to creating a treatment for a rare disease like CdLS is a long and expensive one, but with the help of amazing volunteers like Josh, we will make it."

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