A 61-YEAR-OLD navy veteran walking the entire coastline of Britain to raise money to build homes and schools in Nepal following a devastating earthquake in 2015 has reached the East Lothian coast.

Jim Morton, 61, from Sheffield, first pulled his walking boots on in May, setting off from Penistone in South Yorkshire to begin his epic 7,500-mile walk along the entire coast of mainland Britain; a challenge which has been in the making since 1967.

The father-of-three set off from Leith this morning, arriving at Fisherrow Harbour early lunchtime – he aims to make it to Dunbar by Sunday.

Jim served in the Royal Navy for five years, joining at the age of 16, before moving on to a variety of other jobs, including time as a lorry driver and 18 years at Marks & Spencer.

He is raising money for the Gurkha Welfare Trust, which previously supported residents of Nepal after the devastation of a 2015 earthquake.

Since then, the charity has built 1,500 homes, two residential homes for the elderly and two schools, while supplying fresh water to communities.

So far, he has raised £10,000, with a goal of £50,000.

Jim's walk of a lifetime was set in stone at the age of seven when his fascination with lighthouses pushed him to see every one in Britain when he grew older.

The grandfather of four – who set off on his journey in May as a grandfather of two – said: "In 1967, I saw a BBC programme on lighthouses which absolutely fascinated me.

"I pestered my dad and was gifted a map book for Christmas that year – which I soon found out doesn't show you all the lighthouses so I decided one day I'd walk to see them all.

"So far, I have seen 120 on my journey but I also love castles, history and harbours."

Jim is joined on his journey by his wife, Sue, and two West Highland White Terriers: Shona and Maisie.

Initially, the father-of-three had planned his walking challenge to be accompanied by cold nights camping, but was told by his wife to hang off a year so she could finish up working, retire and drive a motorhome around the UK to give Jim somewhere safe and warm to rest his head.

In addition, Jim is being supported by the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force – with serving officers offering a helping hand by walking with him, bringing him hot drinks and even opening up their homes to Jim and Sue.

Jim added: "My navy and other forces family has been amazing.

"They have said bring your washing, they fed us, looked after us.

"We have been left in homes and told: 'There's beer in the fridge.' People are remarkable.

"I have walked with five people in Scotland so far, all of whom served with me years ago.

"We spent our time reminiscing, as I haven't seen them since departing.

"The oldest person I have walked with so far was 84, a former cavalry officer. He walked with me for two miles."

This evening, Jim will spend the night in Prestonpans with former navy veteran Tommy Thomson, who served from 1971 – six years after Jim departed.

When asked what he was most looking forward to when his challenge was completed, Jim said: "I can't wait to get home to see my grandchildren when I complete my walk – I'm ready for babysitting duties!"

To keep up with Jim's journey, visit facebook.com/I-may-be-gone-a-while-103893198051092 and to donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/richard-morton11