It's not every day you spot a marine mammal on the streets of Manchester, but local residents were turning heads at the sight of a ‘walking whale' early in April.
Lydia at home in her whale costume.
Wearing a whale costume, Lydia Unsworth from Manchester walked 40 miles from Manchester to the sea to raise money to fund her expedition with environmental charity Earthwatch - Whales and Dolphins of the Hebrides.
Lydia, 28, was sponsored by family and friends for the ‘whale walk' which took place on Saturday 2 April 2011. Lydia walked for 17 hours on the first day, camped overnight, and then completed the challenge the next day, taking an icy dip in the sea when she arrived at her target destination.
She raised more than £680 towards the cost of her expedition, which she will join this month, April 2011. She discovered the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust after being inspired by the book Leviathan by Philip Hoare.
Lydia, who is originally from Leigh and whose job involves taking notes at lectures for university students with disabilities, says: "I didn't think anybody would sponsor me if I didn't dress like a whale. My original idea was to cycle from Land's End to John O'Groats but I figured nobody would sponsor me to essentially ‘go on a nice cycling holiday' so I thought the whale costume would make it suitably uncomfortable to gain enough support. And I figured I'd walk to the sea because if I was a whale lost in Manchester that's exactly where I'd need to go!"
Lydia is fundraising to join the Earthwatch expedition Whales and Dolphins of the Hebrides.
Lydia was accompanied on the walk by her boyfriend and a good friend from Newcastle who joined her to ‘hold her fins'. She set off from Chorton Meadows, walking along the River Mersey, then following cycle routes until she reached Liverpool.
She adds: "My dad thinks I'm crazy - although secretly I think he's used to it! My friends think I'm obsessed with whales. Everybody was very supportive."
Visit Lydia's JustGiving page.
If you want to raise money for Earthwatch, use our fundraising pack to get you started.