Agnes pushes herself to new heights

A MELROSE pensioner has raised more than £2,000 for charity by trekking in Jordan.

Keen hillwalker Agnes Waldie, 64, of Darnick, hiked 100km (62 miles) over six days when she visited the caves and tombs of the world heritage site at Petra and the ancient city itself.

She has raised £2,200 – including a £700 boost from Melrose Bowling Club member Kim McNally who organised a bags and gladrags night with vintage clothing at the club – and needs to find a further £300 for Parkinson’s UK, which organised the nine-day visit.

The trek in October was the third Mrs Waldie has completed, having raised money hiking in Sierra Nevada and at Machu Pichu in Peru. Along with other events she has organised herself, she has contributed nearly £9,000 for Parkinson’s UK.

“It’s amazing and what’s so amazing are the people who give you money, they are just so generous,” she said.

In Jordan she and 21 fellow walkers walked through dried-up riverbeds in temperatures soaring to 36C. “It’s the hardest one (Parkinson’s UK trek) I’ve done. The terrain was more difficult than I expected and a lot of the route did not have designated paths.”

She described the start as being like a lunar landscape and it gradually got tougher – Mrs Waldie describes “negotiating narrow ledges along almost vertical drops” and going through “intimidating canyons”.

“I stood at the top of one hill and thought there is no way off this – it was like a sheer drop, how I did it I don’t know.”

Three donkeys carried extra water for drinking, but hikers had to make do with wet wipes for washing.

“This was an incredible journey, but a privilege to walk with like-minded heroes. I pushed myself physically and mentally to new heights, achieving my aim of making a difference to those suffering from Parkinson’s.”

Her husband, Scott, was diagnosed with the progressive neurological condition 13 years ago.

“Your life changes when you are caring for someone with Parkinson’s. Since Scott was diagnosed we are now unable to do many things together which we used to enjoy, like travelling and going out socially. It is hard to see someone you love slowly deteriorating,” she said.