Portsmouth hiker braves wild pigs, dog attacks and hazardous walks after completing 4,000km walk to Iraq
A HARDY walker who embarked on a mission to walk to Iraq completed his journey after 130 days having travelled over 4,000km.
Portsmouth hiker Mitchell Jones, 28, was forced to brave wild pigs, dog attacks, hazardous walks and living in a frozen tent as he ventured across eight countries.
But after raising nearly £8,000 for children’s refugee charity War Child, Mitchell said it was worth the pain.
The bold explorer took on the 50km-a-day expedition to Iraq mostly on foot and with a maximum £4 daily expenditure.
Mitchell posted on Facebook after completing his incredible ‘Mission Walk to Iraq’ feat while perched up in Mardin - a ‘quality little town placed somewhat precariously up a mountain’.
He wrote: ‘Overall I enjoyed every second of this journey. The sideways rain, the frozen tent, the mountains, the dog attacks – even those wild pigs. It wouldn't be what it was without the gritty bits.
‘It may not have gone 100 per cent as I envisaged. But what is life if not the fallout of all our best-laid plans.
‘Thanks again to everyone I've met along the way, and to you lot back in England or wherever you may be who still found ways to lend a hand in some exceptional ways.
‘I set out to raise £10,000. An insignificant number I plucked out the air. We hit 75 per cent of that target and I'm delighted at that. Massive thank you to everyone who has donated.’
During his voyage of discovery Mitchell walked 2,795km, cycled 1,426km and spent 44 nights camping - including staying in a farmer’s field and beside a river.
The other 85 nights he stayed indoors including at a church, strangers’ houses and log cabins.
He also drank 238 coffees, had 10 clothes washes and one bath during his trip.
Mitchell set off from London to Lille on the Eurostar before beginning his quest in France.
He then headed through Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey before finally entering Iraq via its northern border into the region of Kurdistan.
Expanding on his rationale for the hike on his crowdfunding page, Mitchell said: ‘I'm going to set off from England and walk 3,000 plus miles the length of Europe to Iraq.
‘Refugees from that region of the world flee war and persecution, many of them making the perilous journey to Europe completely on foot. Going the opposite direction, hoping to raise awareness and a bit of money for the less fortunate along the way.
‘War Child believe in a world in which no child's life is torn apart by war. They protect, educate and stand up for the rights of children living in war zones.
‘By making a donation, you will be making a difference to thousands of children whose lives have been turned upside-down by conflict.
‘You’ll help War Child provide the emergency care and support they need to overcome the emotional and physical toll of conflict, as well as access to services to catch up on lost education that will help to transform their futures for the better.’
To donate go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/englandtoasia