A Royal Artillery veteran who’s walking the entire coast of the British Isles said ‘he’s never had the amount of support and kindness he’s received’ from the people of the Isle of Man.

Daniel McNeil is walking around the entire British coastline and all of its islands for the armed forces charity Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen’s’ Families Association (SSAFA).

Over halfway on his ‘journey of a lifetime’, so far Daniel has walked 8,400 miles, visited 75 islands and raised a sum of more than £24,000.

His journey will eventually see him walk roughly 16,000 miles, and is aiming to raise a final sum of £30,000, which he’ll donate all to SSAFA, a charity very close to his heart.

The 27-year-old served in the army for five years, joining when he was only a teenager, but was forced to end his career in the military early after developing a sudden auto-immune disease that meant he couldn’t walk properly.

After leaving the military in 2017, he saw his physical and mental health decline as a result.

During his toughest period, Daniel posted a ‘cry for help’ on Twitter, which was seen by SSAFA, who visited him and helped him through an extremely difficult time.

He wanted to repay the favour, and set out on a mammoth task in March 2021, selling all of his belongings before beginning his journey at a beach near Sandyhills.

Now two years into his staggering adventure, he arrived in the Isle of Man on Tuesday evening, starting his walk around the coast at the Sea Terminal in Douglas on Wednesday afternoon.

Before commencing around the approximately 100-mile coastal path, he met some of the island’s veterans at the Heroes on the Water base in Port Soderick, discussing his journey and explaining why he embarked on such a tough challenge.

Crowds gathered to give the veteran support before he embarked on his stomp, offering him accommodation, food and hot drinks.

Similarly the support has flooded in from island residents on social media, with over 20 people offering him accommodation in Douglas alone.

Whilst raising money for SSAFA is the key component to his challenge, he’s also hoping to raise much-needed awareness for mental health issues.

Daniel told the Manx Independent that the support he’s received in the island is the best he’s had in one area, and is happy for local residents to come and cheer him on.

He said: ‘I’m absolutely happy for people to come and support me, I’ve been overwhelmed so far with all the support and the amount of people that want to walk with me, give us accommodation food, hot drinks, all that kind of stuff.

‘It’s been absolutely amazing and if anyone wants to walk with me around the coast they will be more than welcome to.

‘I’ve had just over 20 places in Douglas alone, something daft like that, who are willing to put me up for the night and it’s just absolutely crazy to me.

‘I’ve never had that sort of support in one area before so it just shows the kindness and support of the Isle of Man people!’

He described his journey so far as spectacular, explaining that whilst he doesn’t know a lot about the island itself, he is looking forward to seeing it over the next week.

He said: ‘I don’t know a lot about the island other than the TT, but that to me is an aura of exploration and I’m looking forward to seeing all the beaches and coastlines and just all of the amazing people that are on the Isle of Man as well.’

Daniel commented on meeting some of the Manx veterans: ‘Meeting the vets on the island, down here at Heroes on the Water in Port Soderick, talking to them about my adventure so far and just having good conversations and all that stuff has been really good.’

Daniel expects to be on the Isle of Man for just over a week, walking sections of the Raad Ny Foilan each day.

* Those interested in supporting Daniel on his journey can do so via his GoFundMe page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/danwalksuk.