Navy vet’s dry-land Legacy fundraiser

David SalvaireSound Telegraph

Coming face to face with the casualties of war has sparked a 4200km walk across the country for former navy medic Tristan Harris to raise money for veterans’ charity Legacy.

Armed with a small trolley, tent, thermal sleeping bag and inflatable mattress, the 46-year-old left from HMAS Stirling on Monday.

The walk is expected to take up to six months with Mr Harris hoping to raise more than $25,000.

During his second tour of Iraq, Mr Harris assisted with the medical treatment of casualties from the UN bombing in Baghdad which he said really “hit home”.

“(Working as a medic) was a major influence as seeing first-hand the aftermath of these events really puts one’s decision into perspective and gives a different focus on life,” he said.

“What would happen to my family if the worst was to happen to me? That's when the fundraising for Legacy came about.”

Mr Harris, who served as a medic in the Royal Australian Navy for more than 25 years, hopes to finish his journey at HMAS Creswell base on the south coast of NSW near his home town of Nowra.

While his wife and two kids were very supportive of the trip, he said it was always hard to leave them, especially when he would be travelling across the most desolate parts of the country alone.

“The Nullarbor is the big challenge, because of the isolation, and at some points there’s about 180km between stops,” he said.

“I’m not exactly skinny, I’ve got a few kilos here and there but the way I’ve structured the walk I’m going about 20km a day.

“I’ve spoken to a couple of people who have done the walk already so I’ve got a pretty good idea of what I’m in for. I know it’s not going to be easy but I’m as prepared as I can be.”

Donations to Mr Harris’ walk can be made at walkacrossoz.com.

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