Northumberland coastal walk proves a winner on BBC series Take a Hike
Alnwick man Paul Mason was thrilled to win the Northumbria section of BBC Two series Take a Hike.
His favourite walk, from Boulmer to Craster, featured in the final episode last Friday and was rated the best by his fellow contestants.
Now, the golden walking stick he won has pride of place in his home.
"I was really chuffed to win,” he admitted. “I’ve got that golden stick up on a feature wall!”
The walkers rate the quality of the route, picnic, views and entertainment.
“One of the best things for me is that there wasn’t any tactical voting as you might see in other shows like Come Dine With Me and Four in a Bed,” said Paul. “Everyone was genuine in their scoring.”
Earlier episodes featured Kielder, Harbottle, Hadrian’s Wall and Whitley Bay.
Paul then got the opportunity to showcase the Northumberland coast to a national TV audience, bringing back memories of his own childhood when he would play at Sugar Sands beach.
It was also when he revealed that he had overcome bowel cancer last year.
"The walk I led was actually supposed to be earlier in the week because of the story I had with last year being such a bad year for me but it was put back for logistical reasons and the weather so I think people thought I was being a bit of a dark horse because I’d not revealed a lot about myself,” he explained.
The 60-year-old civil servant was pleased with the way the show was edited.
He is no stranger to TV, having previously appeared on BBC quiz show ‘Impossible’ and game show ‘Can’t Touch This’.
"I wanted the fun and laughter we had to come across on screen and it did,” he said. “I’ve had some lovely feedback from people who said they really enjoyed it and that I came across just like I normally do.”
He now plans to present another prize, a £500 voucher from Cotswold Outdoor, to Swansfield Park Primary School.
"My great-niece was a pupil there, although she has now moved up to Duchess’s High, and it was my primary school too so I thought it would be nice if they could put it to good use,” he explained.
All episodes are on BBC iPlayer.