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Gallery owner brushes up on walking skills to tackle 192-mile hike

A Ribble Valley art gallery owner is taking on a mammoth task as he embarks on the Coast to Coast walking challenge this April to celebrate his father’s memory.

Chris McCabe, 54, from Hurst Green, will be taking part in the walk as a tribute to his father and to raise money for East Lancashire Hospice, where he was cared for.

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 The gruelling 192-mile journey will take 12 days to complete, starting in St. Bees in Cumbria and finishing in Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire.

Chris’s father, Bernard McCabe, was cared for by East Lancashire Hospice’s ‘Hospice at Home’ service during the final weeks of his life, before he died in June 2017 after a 6-week battle with prostate cancer. Since then, Chris has supported the charity wherever he can.

Chris, who owns Art Décor Gallery in Whalley, said: “When I first decided to do the Coast to Coast challenge, I was doing it to commemorate my father until a friend said to me, why not turn it into a fundraising event? East Lancashire Hospice was the first charity that came to mind. They looked after my dad really well and I wanted to support them.”

Despite his self-confessed lack of navigational skills, Chris will be relying on only a map, a compass and the original Wainwright handbook to complete the trail. As part of his preparations, Chris has been walking around 80 miles a week since he began training in June 2017, spending an average of 24 hours a week on his feet. 

Bernard McCabe was an avid walker during his lifetime, often making the journey from his house in Shadsworth, Blackburn to Leyland and back on foot, making the Coast to Coast fundraiser a perfect way to pay for Chris to remember him.

 Chris has re-kindled his passion for long-distance hikes since beginning his training, and his favourite trail to hike is the Tolkien Trail. The 7-mile loop around the Ribble Valley takes in notable locations that are believed to have inspired ‘The Shire’ from the Lord of the Rings book series.

Chris hopes to raise £1,000 from his Coast to Coast walk but isn’t stopping there. Next year he hopes to ride his bike from Land’s End to John O’ Groats for the hospice. To sponsor Chris, please visit his Just Giving page here: https://­www.­justgiving.­com/­fundraising/­christopher-mccabe5