Christies’ long march back to Gala

RETIRED Galashiels teachers were back home on Sunday – after walking nearly 400 miles from London.

The former PE teachers, Alastair and Mary Christie, undertook the hike unsupported in aid of the Borders MS Society.

So far they have raised over £3,000, with more money coming in, from their 21-day adventure walking 377 miles.

Mrs Christie, 58, explained: “My sister has MS and she’s received quite a bit of help from the Borders MS Society and we thought we would like to give something back.”

Alastair, 61, cycled from London to Edinburgh four years ago and said he would like the challenge of walking it, so the pair set off on July 23 and arrived back at their church, St Peters, in the town on Sunday morning.

“We hadn’t factored into the training enough that we would be walking with backpacks on. It really was a challenge but it was good,” Mrs Christie said.

The pair stayed with friends and in B&Bs and averaged about 18 miles a day, with the longest day 23.

Asked what was the highlight of the walk, Mrs Christie said: “The really nice people we met along the way.”

The pair called in at a golf club early one morning for a cup of coffee and within 10 minutes the people there had collected more than £50 for their cause.

“We had people stopping at the side of the road giving us money. The whole experience was good, ” said Mrs Christie.

The toughest days were coming into Otterburn and over Carter Bar because it was so hot she said, “but we just kept each other going”.

She added: “I was quite emotional at the end – everybody said how well we had done and that it was an achievement.”