Julian Jackson (left) started his walk from Land’s End and is hoping that as many people as possible would like to join as he walks to the tip of Scotland. Photo: re-posted with permission of Julian Jackson

A blind man hoping to raise money for eye research has started his 1000-mile ‘Big Blind Walk’ from Cornwall to Scotland.

Julian Jackson, 55, from Wiltshire, begun his walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats on Sunday 29th of April and is hoping to reach his destination by the end of June.

“I went completely blind in 2010 and I realised when that happened that I didn’t know anything about the science behind eye disease,” Jackson told Truthfal.

According to Google Maps, the fastest route is 811 miles, however, there are no continuous long-distance path and  people plan their routes differently.

He said: “You become financially dependent as you lose your job, it impacts your emotional well-being and changes your lifestyle. I hope that more people will become aware of this.”

Along the road, he and his team are hoping to raise a substantial amount of money to charity National Eye Research Centre and social enterprise VisionBridge. The money raised will be split 75/25.

In 2010, he tandem-cycled the same path, just from Scotland to Cornwall. This time however, he’s got a team of friends, colleagues and family who are helping him with logistics, social media, route planning and to keep him company.

More than two million people in the UK are currently living with a significant degree of sight loss and Jackson hopes that more people will become aware of the science behind it, but also that life does not stop if you become affected.

“Too many people spend too much time in their sitting rooms watching their TVs; they should get out and smell the fresh garlic, the wildflowers and the bluebells…My friend who is walking with me is fantastic at describing the birds and landscape and of course I can smell and hear,” Jackson said.

The path from Lands End to John O’Groats has been a popular end-to-end walk since the first recorded walk was undertaken in 1871 and is often used to fundraise for a variety of causes.

Patryk Kucza, 25 from Jersey, completed the walk last year to raise money for Jersey Zoo. He is amazed by Jackson’s dedication and says that the most challenging aspect during his walk was not actually the physical, but the mental battle of staying optimistic in the British weather.

Last year, Kucza walked the same path Jackson currently has embarked upon ©PatrykKucza

“A positive attitude is the most important thing to have on trips like that. No matter how bad your day is going you just have to focus on the fact that eventually, the sun will come out and you’ll forget how miserable you were the day before

 

“I would say walking is the best way to explore a country. If I had the time and money I would spend the rest of my life walking around the world. You get to experience so much and you do so at a pace that allows you not to miss anything like you would in a car or even riding a bicycle.”

Since last year, Kucza has walked the 500 miles long El Camino de Santiago and is currently planning his next adventure. You can follow him on Instagram here.

If you want to read more about Jackson’s charity walk and how to donate, click here.