From the Mull of Galloway to Dunnet Head, Gordon Jackson has completed the 500-mile walk round Scotland that he set out on last summer. In the process he has raised a stonking £5,000-plus for the ME Association.
Despite nursing an ankle injury, the software engineer from Ayr completed his trek from the southern lighthouse to Dunnet Head lighthouse north of John O’Groats two days ahead of schedule last week.
After taking a break over the winter, he turbocharged the final leg of his walk from Helmsdale to Dunnet Head by sticking to the road instead of taking the coastal path. An ankle brace and a pair of sturdy boots helped propel him to the finish line.
We caught up with Gordon and his back-up crewman – old friend Grahaem Ball – as they were enjoying a sandwich and a pint at The Lock Inn in Fort Augustus on the way home.
“What went through my mind when I reached Dunnet Head was the other lighthouse at Mull of Galloway that I set out from last May, said the 51-year-old. “I had covered an awful lot of ground and I got a bit emotional. But I was so pleased to have made it.”
Gordon, whose wife Catriona has been ill with M.E. for several years, added that the Lock Inn had a special significance for the pair of them.
“I was here in this very pub last year while I was going through the Great Glen that I took a phone call from Catriona, who announced that she was going out to look at a dog to become her companion. Later that day, she phoned again and said she had chosen one and would be bringing it home as soon as possible.”
Catriona’s new companion – a delightful West Highland Terrier-cross called ‘Hattie’ – has been enchanting them both since then.
The worst times on the walk were the dreich evenings when he was still plodding away at about 8pm, his destination for that night still several slippery footpaths away. The best: the Scottish countryside bathed in sunshine and glory! The not-so-hot: those midges!
“Overall, it took me a total of 28 days to walk the 500 miles and I was able to count the rainy days on the fingers of one hand. It was a glorious adventure – so worth it!”
Gordon’s fundraising page is still open, should you wish to top it up a bit
Check out his complete progress here
Our fundraiser Tony writes: “Gordon doesn’t know this but he became a hero of mine last year. He just turned effortlessly into the complete ‘fundraising package’ – a fabulous money-raising idea with vibrant echoes of The Proclaimers’ hit song ‘I would walk 500 miles!', a man with a massive social media vibe and a line in video streaming that would knock the spots off many professional influencers half his age. The Perfect combination!”