The 6-day trek was in memory of Colin’s partner Elaine McIntosh and George’s step mother May Gorman, who both died of pancreatic cancer.
Friends since high school, Colin and George are both keen walkers. The fundraiser was Colin’s idea and he knew that George would be happy to join him as the walk was a ‘bucket list’ goal for them both. “He’s has been my pal for a long time, says Colin, “and in fact when we were younger, people used to mistake us for brothers.”
“I was keen to do a fundraiser in tribute to Elaine after she died,” says Colin. “The West Highland Way was something George and I had always wanted to attempt, and since we’d both lost loved ones to pancreatic cancer, it felt like it was a really fitting idea to do it together.”
The friends did plenty of training in preparation for the trek, and Colin’s daily 3-5 mile walks and weekly 10-12-mile walk saw him lose 1.5 stones before they set off to Milngavie, north of Glasgow, feeling fit and ready to start their epic walk.
“It was a great adventure,” says Colin. “Although set out in heavy rain, this eased off and while the weather was mixed, overall it didn’t trouble us much. We chatted along the way and met some lovely people, and of course the scenery was spectacular. But it was harder than we thought it would be and some days were very hard going with the rough terrain and going up and down steep hills.
“We’re really glad we treated ourselves to bed & breakfast accommodation throughout, as this felt like luxury compared with the wild camping that some others were planning to do!”
The intrepid duo arrived at the finishing point in a rainy Fort William on 10 July, both relatively unscathed.
Says Colin: “I had one blister on the final stage walking into Fort William and George’s toenail fell off about half way through the walk, due to it rubbing on this walking boots. That was a rather unexpected turn of events, but apparently is quite a common thing!”
They celebrated that evening with a meal out and a couple of bottles of red wine then took the bus back to Dundee the following day.
“I’m really proud I did it,” says Colin, “and I think Elaine would have been proud that I did it in her name. I’m still walking every day as I don’t want to lose my fitness levels, and I’ve had to buy some smaller clothes and adjust my belt a few notches!”
Colin’s online giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/page/colin-matheson-1687436320432