A 42-year-old woman, originally from the Mull of Galloway, recently walked 500 miles from Cape Wrath back to her childhood homeland to raise money for Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS) and Motor Neurone Disease Scotland (MND).
Over the course of the month-long trek, Morag Smart, whose maiden name was Shaw, was joined by friends who walked alongside her as she tackled the 500-mile journey herself following the Cape Wrath Trail, the West Highland Way, the Clyde and Ayrshire Coastal Paths and finally the Mull of Galloway Trail.
Morag, who now works a Neurosciences and Stroke Specialist Pharmacist at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, said: “CHSS and MND Scotland are two fantastic charities that I feel very strongly about supporting. Through my work I can see that there is a real need for funding and the vital support and services that both charities provide are extremely important to those affected by Stroke and MND. CHSS aim to improve the quality of life for people in Scotland after a stroke, or diagnosis of a chest or heart condition. I have a particular interest in the services and support they provide for people following a stroke. MND Scotland is the only Scottish charity providing care and support to people affected by Motor Neurone Disease, as well as funding research into finding a cure.”
Recalling her epic journey, Morag added: “In general things went to plan, we completed every day on schedule. Every day was hard, but after an overnight rest we were ready to do it all again. The eat, sleep, walk repeat pattern continued every day for 30 days - we just got on with it.
“The first time I thought ‘what am I doing?’ was only about two hours into the walk on day one - we were walking across a barren, featureless moorland fighting against the wind with every step when we walked from the lighthouse at Cape Wrath to the Strathchailleach bothy to stay the night. I was so lucky to be joined by great people along the way who made the walking easier by just chatting away, it took the focus away from sore feet. Also, the beautiful scenery along the way was a great distraction. During the Cape Wrath Trail part of the 500 miles we walked though the remote glens of Scotland that few people have walked before and saw very few people, this was in stark contrast to the West Highland Way which was just a constant stream of people. Once at Milngavie, it become quieter again, just bumping into the odd dog walker down to Ayrshire. It was great to walk down from Ayr down towards the Mull of Galloway, a route that is so familiar, but I was able to see it in so much more detail whilst walking rather than when you drive. The amazing thing was that we were not hampered by any injuries or blisters although we should have taken shares out in compeed - we used A LOT.
“At the end, I was elated and relieved to be finished and was greeted by my mother and a few others well wishers. We had a few bottles of bubbly to celebrate. I am humbled by the generosity of the people who sponsored me and have raised about £3750 (including off-line donations) for MND Scotland and Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland.
“The money that I raise will go towards benefiting the patients and families affected by these diseases, and further research to better understand these conditions and develop more effective treatments.”
If you’d like to support Morag and help her raise further funds for CHSS and MND Scotland, visit her fundraising page http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MoragSmart before it closes on December 8.