Johnny is a long-term supporter and Ambassador of The Gurkha Welfare Trust (GWT). He set off on 8 January from Nepal’s western border, beginning a journey that will see him walking for around four months. His route will take him through rugged mountain terrain, across rivers with suspended bridges, and along steep mountain tracks far from civilisation.
Johnny anticipates the journey, which could cover up to 1,400 miles and include 60 miles of vertical ascent, will take roughly 16 weeks. He aims to raise an incredible £16,000, with the proceeds being divided equally between The Gurkha Welfare Trust and Hello World.
“The GWT has been, for years, the lifeline that allows impoverished ex-Gurkhas to live their lives with dignity. It’s an incredible charity absolutely bringing real comfort to those in the hills.”
Johnny is walking with two porters, Mini and Rajshahi, and will living with no home comforts – sleeping in a tent and eating basic meals of rice, lentil dal and vegetables.
“I will be accompanied by two porters that I have known for years, and who are also both excited to see the whole of Nepal,” Johnny said. “We will eat simple rice ‘dal bhat’ throughout; no meat, and just water and tea. I have 112 days to complete this, and if you have ever trekked in the hills of Nepal, you’ll know it’s a tough ask.”
Johnny has been involved with Nepal and the Gurkhas for many years. He is a former British Army Officer and served 16 of his 25 years with the Brigade of Gurkhas. His Gurkha service took him to East Timor and Iraq, before being posted back to the UK as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Brigade of Gurkhas. On promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, Johnny was appointed British Military Advisor to ECOWAS in Nigeria, then took up the role of Field Director of The Gurkha Welfare Trust in Pokhara, Nepal.
He is now a professional photographer and explorer, and he has travelled the globe on photographic adventures. Since becoming a photographer, Johnny has returned to Nepal at least once every year.
Johnny will be joined on sections of his walk by local staff and supporters including Hari Budha Magar, another Ambassador for the GWT. Hari is a double above-knee amputee and record-breaking mountaineer who will be attempting to summit Mount Everest in 2023.