An Army Reserve officer is walking back to Britain from Cyprus to raise money for wounded servicemen and woman.
Captain Ed Lloyd Owen, 34, is making the 2,800-mile journey from Nicosia in Cyprus to London on foot, with his epic journey taking him through nine countries including Albania, Turkey, Italy and France.
Walking six days a week, and often sleeping rough, Capt Lloyd Owen then set off through Greece, heading across Macedonia, over the Albanian mountain ranges – which held a personal significance for him.
‘My grandfather was the Commanding Officer of the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG) in the Albanian mountains, behind the enemy lines, coordinating the partisan resistance against the Germans,’ he said.
‘There are documented operations by them on the very road that I walked along.
‘Not only that but he did it with a broken back, from a cave in the mountains as he had injured himself on the parachute drop into the country. It was then six weeks before the LRDG could fly in the doctor to give him assistance, and three months or so after that, still with a broken back, he walked out the mountains to the coast, avoiding Nazi patrols to be picked up by submarine.’
From the peaks of Albania, Capt Lloyd Owen then walked to to Durres, where he took another ferry to Bari in Italy.
He said: ‘Having walked 1,500 miles in three months, across Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Albania and Italy, the terror of starting this journey seems a distant memory.
‘I’ve slept in a Muslim prayer room, on the beach, in a churchyard, under a hedge, in a gypsy caravan, in some super smart hotels and some super non-smart hotels.
‘I’ve drunk coffee by the gallon, Turkish chai, all varieties of beer and wine, weird and wonderful moonshine spirits and half a reservoir of water.
‘I’ve walked through the richest and poorest neighbourhoods of each country and had discussions on everything from the politics of the Middle East to the fortunes of Chelsea Football Club.
‘I’ve met Turks, Greeks, Macedonians, Albanians, Germans, Swiss, Dutch, Brits, Kiwis, Aussies, French, Italians, Americans – all of whom have been friendly and supportive, but in the main, totally astonished at what I’m trying to do.’