BURSTING with energy and enthusiasm, an intrepid walker has conquered an epic challenge.

Patrick Davies has completed a gruelling 774-mile solo trek across the French Pyrenees, inspired by his dad.

The 53-year-old, from Mobberley, has walked from Biarritz to Barcelona in just 55 days - clocking up a phenomenal 1.8 million steps!

Knutsford Guardian: Patrick at Banyula Sur Mer after crossing the French PyreneesPatrick at Banyula Sur Mer after crossing the French Pyrenees (Image: Patrick Davies)

Trudging through snow and scaling treacherous mountains, he climbed the equivalent of 43 times the height of Ben Nevis!

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After a 25-year-old career in the Foreign Office, Patrick came home to look after his dad, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

The expedition has raised £7,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK to help fund a cure for dementia.

Knutsford Guardian: Patrick wore one pair of boots throughout the epic walkPatrick wore one pair of boots throughout the epic walk (Image: Patrick Davies)

The Guardian has been following his journey and this week Patrick described how he found the stamina to persevere.

“Each day is a mini goal,” he said.

Knutsford Guardian: Patrick was surprised to come across early snowPatrick was surprised to come across early snow (Image: Patrick Davies)

“When you start climbing for the first time each day you feel your knees, back and the weight of your pack.

“But once you’ve been doing it for 20 minutes, your body gets into a rhythm and you just keep on going.”

Patrick was ‘absolutely ruthless’, packing as light as possible in his backpack.

“At the end of each day I rinsed out clothes,” he said. “I always carry a couple of days of food, energy bars, salted nuts, dried fruit and instant pasta.

"I also carried three litres of water with me and a filter mini system so I could top up from a spring.

Knutsford Guardian: A colourful splash of autumn at Balcon du CanigouA colourful splash of autumn at Balcon du Canigou (Image: Patrick Davies)

“I had a little stove to warm up soup and noodles.

“If a village shop was open I’d buy fruit.”

He slept in a tent and stayed in mountain refuges, where he enjoyed a simple meal with other walkers.

Safety was paramount.

“When you’re on a steep, rocky bit, you have to make yourself slow down,” he said.

Knutsford Guardian: Patrick was inspired by his dadPatrick was inspired by his dad (Image: Patrick Davies)

“I am a fast walker but you learn quite quickly that on a mountain you have to stop before you have a drink of water or root in your bag for an energy bar.

“You have to be careful being on your own on mountains, make sure you’re putting your feet in the right place.”

Knutsford Guardian: Patrick on the summit of Canigou mountain in the Pyrenees of southern FrancePatrick on the summit of Canigou mountain in the Pyrenees of southern France (Image: Patrick Davies)

Spectacular views of valleys, mountains and rivers took his breath away.

“The sheer beauty of the scenery was stunning,” said Patrick. "The landscape looks amazing in the snow.

"In the morning when it is hazy and then the sun shines through, it is stunningly beautiful."

Knutsford Guardian: Sunrise at the Refuge des CortaletsSunrise at the Refuge des Cortalets (Image: Patrick Davies)

He burned more than 132,000 calories and lost four kilos in weight.

“It is quite hard to eat enough because you’re burning so many calories," he said.

"You're always looking for things that are filling and full of energy. You have to keep eating and drinking."

He chatted to walkers along the route and enjoyed practising his French.

"You do meet people along the way," said Patrick. "There is an instant camaraderie with them as you're doing similar things. My French got tested a lot."

Knutsford Guardian: La Caranca valleyLa Caranca valley (Image: Patrick Davies)

For half the time and all along the coast, he was on his own.

“There is something wonderful about having a goal every day,” said Patrick.

Knutsford Guardian: Patrick at the Sagrada Familia in BarcelonaPatrick at the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (Image: Patrick Davies)

“Although it is really hard work, your sole focus is to reach a certain place.

“There is something relaxing about it, it simplifies life a great deal.

“It is very good for your mental health. When it stops you miss it.

Knutsford Guardian: Patrick at Playa de Garbet on the Costa BravaPatrick at Playa de Garbet on the Costa Brava (Image: Patrick Davies)

"It was a great sense of achievement once you've done it. As you approach the end it feels more emotional."

Patrick described a few hairy moments.

Knutsford Guardian: The sun lit peak of the Cady river valleyThe sun lit peak of the Cady river valley (Image: Patrick Davies)

Farmers raising sheep and cattle on the steep meadows have big white Pyrenean mountain dogs to guard their flock against wolves and bears.

“I walked past some lambs in a little barn and walked over to take a picture,” said Patrick.

“This mountain dog appeared, jumped over a fence and ran at me barking.

Knutsford Guardian: Patrick at Punda des Cabdells near Lloret de MarPatrick at Punda des Cabdells near Lloret de Mar (Image: Patrick Davies)

“The dog leapt at me twice and pushed my back pack. It was slightly terrifying at the time.”

Two weeks in, an Atlantic storm hit the south of France.

"I was 2,500 metres up and had a long walk that day," he said. "As I came over the ridge there was a 40mph gust of wind and it was pouring with rain so I sat out the day in a mountain refuge.


"They had 10cm in 24 hours, the mountain side was transformed into waterfalls. It looked incredible.

"I was lucky with the weather apart from the odd snowfall, storm and a bit of rain."

Patrick is no stranger to long distance challenges.

In 2021, he walked 1,400 miles across Britain and raised £30,000 for Alzheimer’s Research.

“Being able to raise money is great,” said Patrick. “I want to thank everyone, it was amazing. Times are hard for people.

“But dementia is now killing more people than heart disease and cancer. It is awful.”

To donate visit justgiving.com/fundraising/Patrick-davies11