Nigel Farage says he will not be completing the more than 200 mile Brexit Betrayal March from North East England to Westminster despite asking supporters to join him.
Launching the event last month the former UKIP leader tweeted: “We’re marching from Sunderland to London… get your walking boots on!”, but now admits he will walk only “some of it.”
Mr Farage, an MEP, said the event was to show “the political class” that voters will not put up with a delayed Brexit.
Supporters of his Leave Means Leave campaign were asked to pay £50 to sponsor a marcher or to join the march for two days or more, and organisers say more than 350 people have signed up.
The walk, which begins today and ends in two weeks with a rally in Westminster, is being coordinated by political activist Harry Todd.
He gave Sky News a guarantee he would walk every mile of the route despite admitting he had done no training.
“We’re going to give a very visual demonstration of what the feeling is in this country still is, and that is to leave,” he explained.
The march will be shadowed by several pro-Brexit groups including one that raised more than £30,000 to pay for mobile advertising screens.
Campaign group Led By Donkeys, whose organisers want to remain anonymous, told Sky News by email that Mr Farage doesn’t represent them.
“He’s organised this march with his millionaire friends and a Westminster lobbying firm while all the time pretending this march is a grassroots thing,” said a spokesman.
“On the other hand we’re a bunch of volunteer dads who’ve crowdfunded these vans with fivers and tenners from people around the country.”
Leave Means Leave says 50 people have signed up to do all 14 days of walking, and it says all of them have “self-assessed” their ability to complete the event.
Although several lengthy sections of the route will be missed out, with walkers bussed up to 30 miles from the end of one day’s walk to the start of the next, they will still walk up to 20 miles a day, every day, for two weeks.
Experienced ramblers have expressed doubts about such a gruelling schedule.
Bill McTimoney, chairman of Teesside’s Stockton Rambling Club, says an inexperienced walker would not be able to complete it.
He warned: “You can’t walk off the street and do the day walks we do.”
He believes 200 miles in 14 days would be a big challenge even for an experienced long distance walker.
“It’s a lot of days to walk in a row,” he said.