A FARMER who gave up his herd and dairy parlour to sail around Britain has raised £2,000 for injured soldiers.

Tarlton father-of-two Phil Ashwin, 51, set off from Poole in Dorset in April for the four-month voyage to sail around the British coast before returning home last month.

Phil, a herdsman at Chesterton Farm near Cirencester, said sailing the 2,000 miles around Britain was a long held ambition.

The former Royal Marine raised the cash for Help For Heroes, a charity close to his heart.

"I still have friends in the marines so it was something I could personally relate to and felt very strongly about," he said Phil, who studied navigation at Cirencester College prior to the trip, ate and slept on board his 17ft fibreglass boat Laynee, going ashore only for food and other provisions.

The boat was equipped with GPS satellite navigation as well as a radio and Phil used a mobile phone to communicate with the shore.

His average day would start as early as 4am and he would often sail for more than 12 hours. On one occasion, he travelled for 26 hours non stop.

"The weather was frustrating some days, halting my progress. So when the conditions were perfect I had to take advantage of it," he explained.

He said he managed to avoid eating solely seafood and mostly ate tinned food and dehydrated army-type rations.

Phil, who started sailing when he was six, has owned his 35-year-old boat for the past eight years and spends holidays sailing off the south coast.

He said: "Like a Sunday footballer realising that he’s never going to play for England, sooner or later the weekend sailor realises that he’s never going to compete in some transocean epic.

"This, however, doesn’t mean that he can’t have adventures of his own proportionate to his bank account and fear threshold.

"I hope I have shown that its possible, with the right attitude, to do some challenging stuff in a fairly minimalist way."

He said the worst part of the trip was the occasional feeling of lonliness and bad weather.

But he added: "I saw wonderful scenery, encountered amazing wildlife and dealt with the sea being the sea but the people I met were really the high points of the trip."

To sponsor Phil go to bmycharity.com/soloroundbritainsail