A keen walker has revealed how a retirement gift gave him the push he needed to achieve one of his life goals.

William ‘Billy’ Dockery is set to complete a walking circuit of the UK’s coastline on Saturday, June 29 after starting this journey in 2014.

The 71-year-old, who grew up in Clydebank, told the Glasgow Times that it was after he retired from a career in social work that his colleagues presented him with a second-hand copy of a book written by the first person to finish this feat.

Billy explained that this spurred him on to undertake it himself, with the support of his wife Joanna and their friends and family.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times: Billy's progress as of March 2024 Billy's progress as of March 2024 (Image: Billy Dockery)Now, various injuries and a global pandemic later, Billy is looking forward to crossing the finish line.

He said: “I think I’ll be pleased to see it finished. I’m in my 70s and there’s part of me that would like to do other things.

“Most of our holidays in the last ten years have been in some way related to going on walks. On the day that we finish we’ve arranged afternoon tea for around 30 folk who are coming to do the last mile or two with us.

“I think it’s a short walk, around 11 miles as we want to arrive fairly fresh. The three days before that are 16-mile walks.

“It’s been an adventure, an old-fashioned adventure and to do this at our age is wonderful. The finish will be emotional when it comes.”

Glasgow Times: Billy explained that he had always wanted to complete this challenge after hearing Robert Lois Stevenson’s poem titled ‘The Vagabond’ as a child.

He reminisced about days sat in school classrooms in Clydebank staring out the window and dreaming of the adventures he could go on.

Decades later, the keen-walker has trekked across the UK doing up to 15-20 miles a day sometimes for weeks on end. He has also visited the Grand Canyon in America and The Rockies in Canada.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times: Views that Billy and Joanna enjoyed at Abereidii Bay in WalesViews that Billy and Joanna enjoyed at Abereidii Bay in Wales (Image: Billy Dockery)Billy revealed the longest stretch that he and Joanna have completed during this time was the South West Coast Path in Cornwall which took them nine weeks to complete.

He said: “I was in the army and I worked in social work for a long time. I've always been aware that what we go out and do, many folk cannot.

“One of the things we always wanted to do was share the journey. Not just the walking side of it but the changes we saw between different areas.

“There are lots of bits of the coast that are stunningly beautiful and some people won’t ever get to see it.

“We have shared around 40,000 photographs over the years. It’s the kind of thing where no matter how much I try and capture it the only way to really capture it is by going out and experiencing it.

“Solo long-distance walking gives you a love of solitude and contact with nature and the environment.

“I recommend it to everyone.”

Billy has documented all of these trips on his blog which can be visited HERE.