AN INTREPID group of friends from Teviothead and neighbouring valleys start walking the West Highland Way for charity on Monday.
The 10 hikers are raising money for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and Macmillan Cancer Support, and have raised more than £2,250 already.
Walker Caroline Tullie explained: “Like a lot of good ideas, I think the original suggestion for this was raised one night round someone’s kitchen table when a bottle (or two) of wine had been opened. And from then there was no turning back!”
The friends formed the Teviothead Trekkers and, since the turn of the year, have been heading off into the Borders hills to get some miles under their belt and admire the beautiful local scenery.
Mrs Tullie said: “Ronnie Templeman – who is doing the walk along with his wife Julia and teenage daughter Katie – is a keen walker and it has been great because he has planned all our training walks for which, amazingly, we have been pretty lucky for weather.
“It has not been easy to get everyone together, but if someone can’t make it one fortnight then they usually do the next.”
The group also includes Pat Douglas, Fenella Pow, Sam Blyth, Gill Francombe and Donald and Sandra Knox.
And they’ve gone from newbies to now having hiked all but one stretch of the Borders Abbeys Way, the Three Brethren, the Langholm circular route and walks from Ian Landles and Alan Brydon’s book, Walking in the Land of the Reivers.
Mrs Tullie said: “There are usually parcels of cakes in the rucksacks, Pat’s hat to hide en-route and an abundance of jokes and tales which keep everyone amused.
“There is also talk of taking guitars when we go next week and some members busking to add to the sponsorship in the evenings – although others might earn money in return for not singing.”
She continued: “Teviothead Hall has a reputation for hosting some brilliant musical nights and a regular supporter of these over the years was Ellie Roberts. Sadly, Ellie died earlier this summer from MND despite a very a brave fight, so it will be good to do this in her memory.
“Also, cancer is something which touches most families, so again Macmillan was a charity we wanted to help.”
Mrs Tullie’s husband, John, is acting as support for the group and will be transporting luggage and meeting the hikers at the end of each day.
Accommodation is booked and the team hope the weather and midges will favour their first multi-day adventure.
“Just about everyone mentions the midges when we say what we are doing,” said Caroline, “so it may be the fastest walk yet!
“It is 96 miles in total, but I think the most we have to do is about 16 in one day. It’s amazing the number of people we meet who have done it and say how much we will enjoy it. So here’s hoping.
“We have had great fun doing the walks so far and everyone keeps saying we will have to continue and maybe do another long distance one in the future.”
The group have set up a blog – www.teviothead-trekkers.blogspot.co.uk – on which they’ve charted their walks so far. They plan to update it as they hike and post photos of their foray in the west.
Anyone wanting to donate should visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/teviotheadtrekkers