Holt dad preparing to complete epic end to end challenge - by public bus

It's been completed by a teen on a unicycle, a tank sergeant on a toilet and a pensioner on a push scooter.

And now north Norfolk dad Mark Hammett is joining the ranks of fundraisers to travel from Land's End to John o'Groats by unusual means when he hops on his local bus.

The 45-year-old has always wanted to take on the end-to-end challenge and after ruling out walking or cycling the 874-mile route, he decided to let the bus take the strain and will be doing the entire journey by public transport.

But his epic adventure will not only take in the length of the country but also its breadth, as he is setting off on his fundraising adventure from his home in Holt.

'I have always had an interest in it and thought when I was younger it was something I'd like to do,' Mr Hammett said. 'Last year we went on holiday to Cornwall and went for a day to Land's End and there's a museum there about all the trips people do. As a joke me and my daughter and the gentleman we were staying with said we should all do it next year. When I came back I thought maybe I could.'


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Mr Hammett began researching alternative forms of travel and settled on public buses after reading about a pensioner who completed the journey with his concessionary pass.

'I thought maybe that's a good idea, started looking into it and before I knew it I'd started planning the route,' he added.

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The dad-of-four will travel on 84 different bus routes, which will take him through west Norfolk, across the home counties, into Wiltshire, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall before heading north through Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Northumberland and into the wilds of Scotland.

His journey will take him 12 days and cover a whopping 2,501 miles. And he says he could be in line to take the record for completing the route in the fastest time by bus.

He said: 'If all the bus times go to plan and there are no hold-ups that means I should then be the new record holder by six hours. The other guy did it in five days, six hours. My time should work out at five days, 22 minutes.'

But Mr Hammett, a kitchen assistant at the Pepperpot restaurant in West Runton, said breaking the record was not the most important aspect of the challenge – which he begins next April – as he is keen to raise a four-figure sum for North Norfolk Radio's Families First charity. He is also looking forward to exploring the countless villages, towns and cities he will pass through and doing some extra sightseeing if the worst should happen and he misses a connection.

'It's going to be different. I'm not the best of travellers on bus I must admit but it should be fun. I'm using near enough every bus company in the country and I'm going to be seeing quite a lot of the country,' he added. 'If one ends up being late I shall just roll up and wait for the next one and maybe do a bit of sightseeing.

'A lot of friends think I'm mad but also on the other hand think it's something good. In an ideal world I'd love to raise �1,000 for Families First and hopefully I will get the interest.'

Mr Hammett is looking for businesses to sponsor him. Company names will be added to his official end to end challenge t-shirts, that he will be wearing throughout the 12 day journey. Contact him on newforestsaints@yahoo.co.uk

Sponsorship forms are also available from the Pepperpot in Water Lane and Feeney's newsagents in Market Place, Holt.

lucy.clapham@archant.co.uk

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