A Seaton couple have completed a six-month trek across the US to raise money for Seaton Hospice at Home.

Martyn Lewis, 60, and his wife Marina, 59, hiked from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,600 mile wilderness route that snakes its way through the Mojave desert, Oregon lakes and the punishing Cascade mountains of Washington.

Carrying their own kit and sleeping in a tent, they braved river crossings, rattlesnakes, bears, landslides and snow along the way. 

Midweek Herald:

While Martyn is a former firefighter who has done commando training, Marina said her favourite occupation is ‘sitting on the sofa and eating chocolate’. But the pair did prepare for the hike by completing both the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast walk in the UK.

Martyn said: “You need to know you can do it together, blend your walking speeds, and test out what kit works best for the individual, and a couple”.

Marina said: "I knew I couldn’t do it, so I just did it anyway!”

Midweek Herald:

The pair were supported by the Trail Angels, who ferry hikers to and from food supplies, open their homes for showers and laundry facilities, and provide medical help if needed.

But the hike was still a major test of endurance. Marina walked 200 miles on a sprained ankle and Martyn carried most of the load in a 40 to 50-pound backpack. They both lost weight and at times suffered from malnutrition.  

Martyn and Marina said they were motivated to keep going by the kindness of people they met along the way, the encouragement of friends, and the incentive of raising money for Seaton Hospice at Home. They funded the trip themselves, so any donations are going directly to the charity.

Julia Hitchcock, League Trustee said "Seaton Hospital League of Friends fully funds Seaton Hospice at Home providing palliative care for adults registered with a Beer, Colyton or Seaton GP.   The League is indebted to Marina and Martyn, and everyone who raises funds for this service.  We are truly grateful for such tremendous efforts and especially the heroic lengths Martyn and Marina have gone to, to support such a valuable service."

Donations can be made via JustGiving on the 'Walking the Pacific Crest Trail' page.