'I've met so many wonderful people' - Man walking entire coastline thanks people for their friendship as he passes through Hartlepool and Sunderland and gets set for South Shields

A man who is walking the whole coastline of England, Scotland and Wales says he has been astounded by the welcome he has been given by the people of the North East.

Chris McQuillan, 43, set off from Portishead, near Bristol, on June 29 last year, with his Mastador - a Labrador Retriever and Bullmastiff-cross - Moose and expects to cover more than 7,500 miles.

Chris McQuillan and his dog Moose.

Chris McQuillan and his dog Moose.

Earlier this week they passed through Seaton Carew and Blackhall and onward through East Durham, and arrived in Sunderland today.

He is camped up near Souter Lighthouse overnight and is ready to set off for South Shields and then north across the River Tyne tomorrow.

The engineer, who has worked for housing organisations, is taking a break from work and is using his challenge to raise funds for Shelter, Scottish charity Thistle Foundation and Bras Not Bombs, an organisation which sends supplies for women living in refugee camps.

On his visit through Sunderland, he took time to rest at Sue's Cafe in Roker, enjoying a cup of tea and an some gravy and chips, and came across a group of ukulele players practicing outside the Marine Walk spot.

He said: "My time through Durham was just absolutely fantastic, I've met so many wonderful people.

"I've been to Sunderland before in my engineering days and the parts I saw were very industrial, the docks, but I never got to appreciate it, and I came down to a really pretty place, that had a lighthouse and a pier at Roker.

"I was so nice and I met some amazing people outside the cafe.

"My friend did a walk six months before and he said to me 'Just wait until you get to the North' and he was right, the people have been immense."

He added: "I would say to anyone who has an ambition or a dream, whether it's doing something or starting a family, live life how you want and if you want to do something, do it.

"I'm living proof of that."

Chris, who is originally from Oldham and last lived in Wiltshire, plans to make it back to Portishead at some point in 2020.

Chris and Moose's progress can be followed via the Chris and Moose Facebook page the Twitter account @ChrisMoose7 and through www.chrisandmoose.co.uk/