This spring MS Superstars Bernadette and Timmy walked the 96-mile West Highland Way to raise funds to help stop MS. Bernadette shares her day-by-day diary of their walk.
I’ve often driven past West Highland Way walkers on my drive from Glasgow, to visit my dad in the village of Archarcle where I grew up. In our rural part of the world there's not a lot of support or treatment options for my dad, who has lived with MS for 16 years.
So, together with my partner Timmy, I decided I wanted to do more for people with MS. We decided to walk the West Highland Way to raise money for MS research, and awareness of how MS affects over 11,000 people in Scotland.
Timmy and I enjoy hill walking with our dog Mylo, but we’d never done anything like this before. Here’s our day-by-day diary…
Day 1. Walkin’ in the rain
We set off from Milngavie in light rain and £8 waterproofs. As the day went on the rain got heavier and heavier and we realised our waterproofs weren’t remotely waterproof… Feeling un-prepared we continued. At the start of Loch Lomond the walk goes up Conic Hill, where Easter Sunday holiday makers babbled, and then down through the beautiful village of Balmaha.
Ten hours and 26 miles later we arrived at our campsite at Sallochy, my feet soaked through and covered with blisters. Exhausted, we put up the tent, cooked dinner on the BBQ, enjoyed several cans of cider and then curled up in our sleeping bags.
Day 2. A birthday on the bonnie banks
We unzipped our tent to the magnificent views of Loch Lomond. After a BBQ breakfast to celebrate Timmy’s birthday, we packed up and continued. The terraine along Loch Lomond was steep and as we scrambled up and down rocks we would catch our breath to look at the stunning surroundings.
That night we stayed at an inn on the shores of the northern end of Loch Lomond. After a lovely dinner and some more cider we slept soundly in our four poster bed.
Day 3. Quest to our hobbit hut
The weather was nice, the path good and we made good progress, stopping briefly for lunch at Tyndrum before reaching our ‘hobbit hut’ in Bridge of Orchy. (This is like a small wooden pod you sleep in!) We went out for dinner and caught up with some fellow walkers we’d met along the way.
Day 4. A staircase with a view
Timmy marched ahead along Rannoch moor while I trudged behind with sore feet…I was able to rest them over lunch and a beer in Glencoe. We then tackled the Devil’s Staircase - the views from the top were magnificent, and the quiet peacefulness of the mountains gave us time for reflection.
The decline was hard and I was so relieved to reach Kinlochlevin.
Day 5: the Ben’s in sight
The last leg! As I looked up at Ben Nevis and then at Fort William in the distance, I felt a sense of achievement and pride.
On reaching the finishing point our sore feet and the bad weather were all forgotten about – we had done it, and raised £1,000 to help stop MS.
A huge thank you to Bernadette and Timmy! Feeling inspired? To find out how you can help stop MS, email [email protected] or phone our friendly fundraising team on 0131 335 4050.