Nigel Farage and his bedraggled but defiant supporters set off from Sunderland to save Brexit from the elites

On a bleak stretch of England’s north-east coast, they gathered to save Brexit and begin the long march to Westminster. Few of the 300 cheery souls who walked out with Nigel Farage on to grassy cliffs south of Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, will make it all the way to London, but there was a determination to reach the first staging post on the 270-mile journey. Whatever happens they will always have Hartlepool – and maybe Middlesbrough.

This coast once shimmered with the gunmetal and sailcloth of Europe’s biggest fishing fleet, but the last ship built here sailed more than 30 years ago. The Leave Means Leave campaign group must have hoped for a lot more than the few hundred who turned up in weather that could only be called filthy. They may have to get used to paltry numbers. Even seasoned outdoor types expressed doubt about protesters having enough in the tank to walk 20 miles a day for two weeks on uneven terrain in uncertain weather.

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