Walking home for Christmas

Coldstream Guards leaving Henderson Park following General Monck's route to London, raising money for Walking With the Wounded
Coldstream Guards leaving Henderson Park following General Monck's route to London, raising money for Walking With the Wounded

The route taken by General Monck’s men from Coldstream to London is the most historic in the country according to Harry Bucknall who set off in their footsteps this week.

A former major in the Coldstream Guards, Harry is now a travel writer, public speaker and long distance walker, who is walking the 300+ miles from Coldstream to London to raise money for Walking with the Wounded’s ‘Walking Home for Christmas’ campaign.

Preparing to set out from Coldstream on Monday Harry said: “This is where General Monck set out from on January 1, 1660, and to my mind this is the most historic route ever in the history of our country because as a result King Charles II was restored to the throne.”

Harry and his fellow walker Jock Davis, who was Harry’s driver when they were both in the Coldstream Guards, started their journey at the Guards Stone in Henderson Park following a short service by retired vicar Alan Hughes, himself a former Coldstreamer.

Another ex-Coldstreamer, Don Castellow who was in the Corps of Drums, piped them through the town and across Coldstream Bridge into England, and walking alongside Harry and Jock as far as Newcastle was another ex-Coldstream Guard, Kevin Stott and his 18 year old son who is in 7th Company, Coldstream Guards.

The military veterans charity Walking With the Wounded’s Christmas campaign is Walking Home for Christmas to raise money for homeless veterans and Harry’s penchant for extreme walking - 1,411 miles from London to Rome, 5,500 miles from Venice to Istanbul and 133 miles last year for Walking With the Wounded from Dorset to London - plus his Coldstream Guards roots made walking the route of General Monck’s men, who later became known as the Coldstream Guards, an obvious choice for him.

“If you have served your country it’s only right that you get looked after,” said Harry who is aiming to raise £25,000.

“For every one injured serviceman there are five more carrying some form of mental injury. One in ten rough sleepers are ex military and our goal is to get them into long term employment and housing.

“Jock and I have our work cut out. We have to cover 25 miles a day and all hell will break out if we are late getting to the steps of St Paul’s!”

That’s because other walkers raising money for Walking With the Wounded and setting off from different points across the country are all due to meet up on the steps of St Pauls at 6.30pm on Monday, December 14, for a carol service conducted by the Bishop of London.

To make a donation go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/harryandjock