Michael’s call out for help with cross-Scotland charity hike
Michael Anderson is walking 210 miles across Scotland, from Iona in the west coast islands, to St Andrews on the east coast.
He hopes to take three weeks this May to complete Michael’s Way and his goal is to raise £15,000 for Deafblind Scotland.
But Michael is no ordinary walker. In fact, he’s an extraordinary walker. He is taking on this huge challenge at the age of 75. He is also blind and mostly deaf.
Michael, of Larbert, is calling out for volunteers to help him in his charity quest. He is fit and healthy but he needs guide during his journey. Some volunteers, including my friend Alan Rowan, have already stepped forward but Michael has gaps in his plan.
He will also be walking with his daughter Fiona and his daughter-in-law Nina.
The schedule is:
May 5-9 Crossing Mull (Alan Rowan)
May 9-11 – Oban to Bridge of Orchy.
May 12-13 – Bridge of Orchy to Killin
May 14-15 Killin to Amulree
May 16-17 Amulree to Perth
May 18 Perth to Newburgh
May 19-20 Newburgh to Newport
May 21-22 Newport to St Andrews.
To offer help, whether it’s to spend a day or two walking with Michael or to offer support in some way, please contact Nina on Nina.Smirnoff@gmail.com.
More about Michael’s Way
Michael’s Way is loosely based on St Columba’s Way, which heads from Iona to St Andrews over 210 miles with more than 6000m of ascent.
The hike starts on Iona on May 5 and is entirely self-supported. Michael and the team will be carrying all the camping kit and things they need for the journey.
The route will take the team via island roads, glens and trails from coast to coast including sections of the famous Rob Roy Way and Fife Coastal Path.
While it is a beautiful route there will be many terrain related challenges for Michael and his guides.
Michael’s daughter-in-law Nina says: “We chose to call this challenge Michael’s Way because it highlights that despite his disability – Michael has dual sensory impairment and cannot see at all and has limited hearing – it is possible to live an active life and enjoy the outdoors.
“But, he has to do things Michael’s way. For instance, he relies on a guide to show him the way, taking cues from the guide’s movements and feedback about the terrain.
“He will be pitching his own tent, Michael’s way by relying on his sense of touch to assemble the tent.”
Michael has no vision at all and hears with the help of two strong hearing aids. This means that he relies entirely on sensory feedback to go about his day-to-day life.
Eventually his hearing will deteriorate completely and the only way to communicate will be via deafblind manual alphabet. He walks with a white cane so it is vital he will have guides on the Michael’s Way challenge.
Michael is no stranger to challenges, including the Eyemouth Sprint Triathlon last September, summitting Ben Nevis in 2011 and rowing the Union Canal from Falkirk to Edinburgh in 2006, as well as abseiling down the Forth Rail Bridge.
Nina says: “However, Michael’s Way is by far the most challenging event he will have done and it will take Michael some way out of his comfort zone having not camped at all since he lost his sight.”
Michael has been a member and director of Deafblind Scotland for many years and their support, advice and help has been unparalleled when it comes to giving him access to information, social events and generally just getting out and about. He wants to give something back and so he is helping with fund-raising efforts to create a new learning and development centre for deafblind people, The Field of Dreams.