Shropshire

Shropshire man returns home after 4,000-mile trek

Paddy in Erdine near Istanbul Image copyright Paddy Devlin
Image caption Paddy Devlin started and finished his journey in Istanbul

A man who quit his job to embark on an epic hike says he has returned home to Shropshire after completing the trek, from Istanbul to Vienna and back.

Paddy Devlin, 30, set off on the journey of about 6,500km (just over 4,000 miles) 16 months ago, to fulfil a long-held dream.

He has raised almost £5,000 for the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Mr Devlin returned to his family's home in Cressage on Saturday, describing the end of his journey as "bittersweet".

He said: "I had always thought it was something I wanted to do.

"My job was very pleasant but I got a pension statement through saying in 650 months you will be able to retire with this much and I just thought: 'Oh my goodness, is this what I am going to be doing for the rest of my life?'"

He said at points he experienced very cold weather - with the temperature falling as low as -15C in Ukraine - adding that the solitude in "very difficult conditions" was the hardest part.

Image copyright Paddy Devlin
Image caption Mr Devlin said he carried a tent with him, but sometimes stayed in hotels during the trek

"My highlights were the very many beautiful mountains but also everyone I met, people from all walks of life and being able to speak to them about the countries they were living in, the culture and history," he said.

He began his fundraising about halfway through his trip, he said, because of the situations he saw.

Mr Devlin said he alternated between camping and staying in hotels, only planning his daily route about 24 hours in advance.

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He returned home for a month for Christmas to see family and to attend a job interview before starting again from the same point.

In June, Mr Devlin will start training to become a secondary school science teacher.

Image copyright Paddy Devlin
Image caption Mr Devlin said he only took one set of clothes with him on the journey and the best part of returning home was having something clean to wear

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