A PAIR of lifelong pals walked almost 1000 miles in just over 70 days in aid of a charity close to home.

David Eccles, of Windermere, and friend Simon Jones, from the Isle of Man, set out on their intrepid charity walk on May 18 from Lands End and reached John O’Groats on Friday (July 31).

“It was a great adventure and we had an amazing welcome when we got back home,” said Mr Eccles. “We’ve often done national trails together including the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast and we decided to do the big one.”

The 56-year-old’s walk has been in the pipeline for five years, after they started walking together ten years ago.

“We walked on 60 days averaging 16 miles per day - some days longer, some shorter – and we usually took one day a week off to rest,” added Mr Eccles. “It got easier as we went on and we got faster and faster each day!

“We arrived home on Friday and were welcomed at Windermere railway station by friends including a saxophone trio.”

Exceeding their £500 target, the retirees raised £695 for Oxfam, where Mr Eccles donates his time as a volunteer in Ambleside.

Having met at junior school in Liverpool at the age of four, the friends of 52 years reached John O’Groats on schedule after walking the famous 976 mile route with their trusty teddy bear Oxfam shop mascot Sebastian.

“It rained on only seven days throughout the trip,” continued Mr Eccles. “It was very hot in Scotland when we were walking the Great Glen Way and there was little in the way of shade on that part of the trip.

“The West Highland Way was also awesome, especially around Glencoe.”

The duo are hoping to set their sights on a new challenge for 2015.

“I’m already missing it so I need to get back out onto the fells and we might do something shorter next year like Hadrian’s Wall,” added Mr Eccles.

Anyone who would like to make a donation can do so at the Oxfam shop in Ambleside or by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/David-Eccles3/