Portsmouth hiker braves wild pigs, dog attacks and dangerous walks after hiking 4,000km in Iraq
Portsmouth backpacker Mitchell Jones, 28, was forced to brave wild pigs, dog attacks, dangerous walks and live in a frozen tent as he ventured across eight countries.
But after raising almost £8,000 for refugee children’s charity War Child, Mitchell said it was worth it.
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The daring explorer set out on the 50km-a-day expedition to Iraq, mostly on foot and with a maximum daily outlay of £4.
Mitchell posted on Facebook after completing his incredible ‘Mission Walk to Iraq’ feat while perched in Mardin – a ‘quality little town placed somewhat precariously on a mountain’.
He wrote: “Overall I enjoyed every second of this trip. The side rain, the frozen tent, the mountains, the dog attacks – even those wild pigs. It wouldn’t be what it was without the grainy bits.
“It may not have been 100% the way I envisioned it. But what is life if not the fallout of all our best-laid plans.
“Thank you again to everyone I have met along the way, and to all of you in England or wherever you are, who have again found ways to lend an exceptional helping hand.
“I’ve decided to raise £10,000. An insignificant number that I ripped out of thin air. We’ve reached 75% of that goal and I’m delighted. A big thank you to everyone who donated .
During his voyage of discovery, Mitchell traveled 2,795 km, cycled 1,426 km and spent 44 nights camping, including in a farmer’s field and by a river.
The other 85 nights he stayed indoors, including in a church, strangers’ homes and log cabins.
He also drank 238 coffees, had 10 clothes washes and a bath during his trip.
Mitchell traveled from London to Lille by Eurostar before beginning his quest in France.
It then crossed Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey before finally entering Iraq through its northern border in the Kurdistan region.
Expanding on his rationale for the hike on his crowdfunding page, Mitchell said, “I’m going to start from England and hike over 3,000 miles along Europe to Iraq.”
“Refugees from this part of the world are fleeing war and persecution, many of them making the perilous journey to Europe entirely on foot. Going in the opposite direction, hoping to raise awareness and some money for the less fortunate along the way.
‘War Child believes in a world in which no child’s life is torn apart by war. They protect, educate and defend the rights of children living in war zones.
“By making a donation, you will make a difference for thousands of children whose lives have been turned upside down by conflict.
“You will help War Child provide the emergency care and support they need to overcome the emotional and physical burden of conflict, as well as access services to catch up on lost education that will help transform their future for the best.”