Gareth and Bernadette Douglas complete 50km walk to celebrate Doddie’s 50th Birthday and raise £10,000 along the way.
It was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that Gareth and Bernie began their mammoth walk from Blainslie near Lauder on the morning of the 4th July – Doddie’s 50th Birthday. With grey clouds overhead ominously threatening rain, Gareth and Bernie headed south down the Southern Upland Way for the first sector to Gattonside and Melrose. With conditions particularly wet underfoot and after a number of days of rain there were some impressive puddles to navigate around on the way. Updating their supporters with videos on Facebook as they walked the donations kept coming in which, along with the beautiful Borders countryside, kept spirits high even when the inevitable rain hit. The visit to Melrose was brief and punctuated by a quick walk around the Greenyards before rejoining the Southern Upland Way and onto Tweedbank and Galashiels. Leaving the banks of the River Tweed before commencing the long climb over the hills above Galashiels before rejoining the Tweed again at Yair.
Gareth’s employer, whisky distiller William Grant & Sons, producers of whisky’s including Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Grant’s as well as Hendrick’s Gin, had agreed to double match each and every donation so it seemed fitting that the halfway was celebrated with a Balvenie to set them up for the home strait.
Leaving the Southern Upland Way at Yair the route then tracked the Tweed all the way to Walkerburn, Innerleithen and Cardrona before arriving into Peebles. 50km was actually achieved halfway between Cardona and Peebles – again with a dram to celebrate. Gareth said ‘We tried to maintain a decent pace and only stopped once for a bite to eat. Ten hours 25 mins in total for the 50km but the main thing for us was to raise a good sum for Doddie’s foundation.’
Bernie said ‘The sense of achievement was great at 50km and the fact we had hit our fundraising target made even more worthwhile. A week on we have forgotten about the aches, pains and blisters and now look back at the day with fond memories. And as a bonus towards the end of the walk we even met a farmer with a Collie called Dod, named after Doddie!’