In aid of Combat Stress, Project LONGSTRIDE is a series of walks – covering a total distance of 100 miles – amidst some of the stunning yet seldom visited scenery of the UK’s military training areas.

Three generations of the Spark family grouped together to tackle the latest leg of Project LONGSTRIDE – a 100 mile walk along public footpaths around parts of the Ministry of Defence estate. Elder statesman Philip, son John and grandsons Evan and Andrew joined the band of Landmarc and ESS staff based at Otterburn Training Camp to take up the LONGSTRIDE Otterburn challenge.

Fortified with the now, traditional sendoff of bacon butties from the ESS Tri-bar, the group set off for the start point – an innocuous tree lined lay-by on the A68 with a National Trail finger post pointing to “The Pennine Way.” With a reputation for offering challenging terrain, the first mile of the route did not disappoint. The group laboured their way up through the fire breaks of Byrness Forest, needing more than one rest break taken on the way. To mountain goats Evan and Andrew Spark, however, this was just a warm-up, only made tedious by having to wait for the trail of grown-ups behind them.