A MILITARY veteran based in Wiltshire has described the Walk of Oman as one of the toughest challenges of his life.

Andy Phillips, from Malmesbury, was part of a six-man team that has completed a marathon 350km trek across the UK for Walking With The Wounded.

His five team members on the walk were Dave Adams (REME), Ben Gallagher (Royal Signals), Ben McComb (Royal Artillery), Sean Gane (Infantry) and Brian O’Neill (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and Royal Military Police).

The charity’s 6th expedition, The Grenadier Walk of Oman, of which The Duke of Sussex is the expedition patron, was originally due to take place in the Omani desert.

It started on October 10, World Mental Health Day and finished on Thursday, October 21.

Mr Phillips, 55, said: “It was incredibly tough. We were walking 30-40km a day. Even some of the guys who are much younger and fitter than me found it tough.

“I’ve ended up with a swollen right leg, but hopefully will recover. We’re all looking forward to getting out to Oman again and sleeping under the stars hundreds of miles away from anywhere.”

Andy, who is moving to Swindon, served in the Royal Air Force from 1983-1993 as a junior technician.

He was injured in the build up to the first Gulf War in 1991 and eventually received a medical discharge due to a spinal cord injury.

The transition from military to civilian life was a struggle, suffering from depression for 20 years and becoming addicted to alcohol and drugs.

But he later became involved in the Invictus Games which helped give him focus and a positive outlook, helping to turn his life around.

He took part in the trek to raise funds and awareness for Walking With The Wounded’s employment, mental health, care coordination and volunteering programmes.

These help Armed Forces Veterans and their families to get back on their feet and make a positive contribution in their communities once more.

The Walk of Oman was moved to the UK due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, with those taking part walking the equivalent distance of 10 marathons in 12 days. The expedition started on Pen-y-Fan in the Brecon Beacons and the team walked through Hereford, home of the SAS, to Gloucestershire before tackling the Thames path and finishing at the Anglo Omani Society in London.

Due to various physical injuries, some were only able to walk part of the route, overcoming their individual situations to achieve what they could.

The charity's chief executive Fergus Williams, said: “Although the expedition has now taken place in the UK, the team walked the same distance, which is no easy feat.”

The Duke of Sussex, said: “Walking With The Wounded understands that it’s not about where you walk, it’s about walking together with a common purpose and shared mission.

“These men and women know what service is, they’ve seen and overcome adversity, and they won’t let obstacles get in their way. They are paragons of inspiration for communities everywhere.”