Walkers rise to St Mary’s challenge

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BATTERED, blistered, bitten and sun burnt, they made their way through Wilton Lodge Park on Sunday afternoon.

But the charity exploits of Brian Aitken, Gary Dalgleish, Gavin Gibbon, Keith Douglas and Stuart Oliver certainly hadn’t been a walk in the park. Their 49-mile adventure had taken them from Mart Street early on Saturday morning over the hills to St Mary’s Loch and back again the following day.

Throw in some canoeing and camp-ing – an attack by midges and light refreshments at the halfway point – and it was a mammoth mission over the two days.

Keith said: “We had all done a bit of walking beforehand and we knew it was going to be tough, but I don’t think any of us realised just how tough, especially on the second day.

‘‘There were times when a few of us had to really dig deep and I’ve never been as happy to see Ruberslaw as we approached Roberton, knowing it was almost complete.”

The group was raising money to buy a rowing machine for kids with severe, complex and additional needs at the high school.

And they had excellent assistance from learning support teacher Ann Scott and her husband Bruce, who were the welcome hosts at St Mary’s Loch boating club and provided water stops along the way.

Gary added: “Before we set off Ann said to us that when we were feeling tired and sore and our feet were blistered and we thought we couldn’t go on, remember the kids who couldn’t walk. That definitely helped us along.”

The men have helped to raise more than £1,500, with sponsorship money still being collected and donated.

Stuart said: “It was a weekend none of us will ever forget, and as much as it was really difficult, the banter and laughs we had made it really enjoyable.

‘‘I don’t think any of us can believe how kind and generous everyone has been.”

To make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/stmaryschallenge