UK Hiker Quarantines With Pet Dog on Remote Scottish Island: ‘I Couldn’t Be in a Better Place’
“I couldn’t be in a better place for lockdown, to be honest,” Christian Lewis said.
Christian Lewis is having no trouble staying away from other people amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Lewis has been on a years-long trek around the UK coastline to raise money for a veteran’s charity, and when the country went into lockdown due to the pandemic, found himself on an uninhabited island north of Scotland called Hildasay.
“I couldn’t be in a better place for lockdown, to be honest,” Lewis told CNN from his cabin on the remote isle, where he has been sheltering in place during the pandemic.
While no one lives on Hildasay, there is a house there, and the family who owns it offered Lewis the keys so he’d have a better shelter than his tent.
Lewis told the outlet that life on the island “is not as easy as everybody thinks,” but that the work to survive there is “the kind of work I like doing.”
“I can walk down now half an hour, and I’ll have a whole plate of mussels if I want them,” he said, explaining he’s got “no worries” when it comes to food. A fisherman brings him drinkable water from the mainland.
While his living situation on the island is taken care of, Lewis explained that finding activities to fill the time is essential.
“You have to find things to do, to keep yourself occupied,” he said. “You know, I play marbles, I always carry a tennis ball and just play catch or anything, you know. But I also do other things, I break it up. I do like a Rocky-style training regimen where I use rocks to throw around … just to keep other body parts keeping loose.”
Lewis’ hiking venture began as a way to raise money for SSAFA, a UK military charity that helped him overcome anxiety and depression.
“To be perfectly honest with you, I suffered really badly with anxiety and depression,” Lewis explained. “I’m ex-forces, and I had a lot of help from an organization called SSAFA, a veteran’s charity, so it really was an absolute no-brainer to give back some the stuff they had given to me, and we’ve done really well so far so yeah it’s perfect.”
Lewis, who is traveling with a dog named Jet, said that he has received an outpouring of support while on his adventure.
“The more that I got into the journey, the more people heard about it,” he said. “People have been helping me with food, have been helping Jet with food. It’s been really lovely to see the kindness that we’re receiving. I never expected any of this when I started.”
“I thought I was going to be living off bugs for the next two years,” Lewis added with a laugh.
While the COVID-19 outbreak has put a pause to his expedition, Lewis told CNN that he plans to resume as soon as he can.
“As soon as this [the coronavirus pandemic] has passed and the UK has come out of lockdown I’ll get straight back to where I stopped, on the coast of mainland Shetland, and continue,” he explained. “It won’t be long until I’m back on the mainland and heading down to the east coast.”
As of Tuesday, Lewis’ fundraiser had raised £114,822 out of a £100,000 goal.
As of Tuesday, the UK has at least 129,044 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 17,337 deaths related to the virus in the country. Worldwide, there are more than 2.4 million cases of COVID-19.
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