Scottish Daily Mail

Heartwarmi­ng tale of the charity hiker and the kindness of strangers


WHY the BBC imagines Match Of The Day cannot function without presenter Gary Lineker is an enigma. One solution to the weekend stand-off was simple: bring back Des Lynam.

Now there’s a sports presenter content to earn our approval by being effortless­ly good at his job, instead of parading on the moral high ground.

But the most depressing aspect of the whole overblown business was Lineker’s assumption that everyone who disagrees with his posturing politics must be cruel, callous and heartless. He appears to have a very low opinion of millions of Britons.

The reaction of the general public to coastline hiker Chris Lewis and his partner Kate proves how wrong the crisp salesman is.

Ben Fogle joined them for three freezing days, during their marathon charity walk around the British Isles, on New Lives In The Wild (C5). They have no corporate sponsorshi­p, and survive by foraging for shellfish such as limpets and whelks, and boiling up nettles for tea.

They’ve raised £280,000, but that money doesn’t go into their own pockets: it’s for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Associatio­n [SSAFA], which helped out expara Chris when he hit hard times.

The couple, with their sevenmonth-old baby Magnus and dog Jet, were supported by ordinary people who brought them hot meals and flasks of tea. Kate calls it ‘the kindness of strangers’.

Usually, they wash their clothes in the sea but, on Ben’s second evening with them, a local publican invited them to use his washing machine. ‘This is the warmest launderett­e I’ve been in,’ murmured Chris appreciati­vely, stretching his legs out before the pub fireplace.

Other wellwisher­s have even offered to let the family use their shower, spend a night in their guest room, and tuck into a free breakfast next morning. That’s true hospitalit­y — not done for kudos on social media.

Ben was astonished by the coincidenc­e of how Kate and Chris met. During lockdown, she went on a solo trek to a Scottish beach. It was almost deserted... except for one bearded hiker on a mission to walk every inch around the British Isles.

They got chatting, they fell in love, she joined his hike, she got pregnant, and now they have young Magnus — born on the march. All that, because they happened to be on the same beach on the same day. ‘If that doesn’t show that destiny works,’ Ben said, ‘I don’t know what does.’

Comedian Alan Davies and his guests were rambling, too, though they didn’t leave their seats, on the new series of his chat show As Yet Untitled (Dave). Within half a minute, he was arguing with Sue Perkins and Jamali Maddix about the worst way to die in a tanning salon accident — is it more painful to be flash-fried on the sunbed or slowly broiled?

This show is funniest when the guests are at ease with each other and aren’t afraid to stray from their pre-packaged anecdotes. That wasn’t the case this time.

Sue treated her segments as a recital, not a conversati­on. Mexican-American raconteur Lara Ricote, a profession­al storytelle­r, needed more time for her reminiscen­ces, and rushed them — with the result that fellow guest Josh Jones didn’t seem to know what she was talking about.

Only Jamali caught the right rhythm, probably because he didn’t care whether he reached his punchline or not.

That’s part of the charm of As Yet Untitled. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. This time was more miss than hit, but at least Davies is prepared to take chances . . . unlike the glossy, sterile production­s overseen by Graham Norton or Jonathan Ross.

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