Michael’s extraordinary bid to walk across scotland
Michael is deaf and almost completely blind yet he has never stopped these disabilities getting in his way of leading an active life. He has also taken on a number of great challenges to raise funds for charity and this month he plans to walk across Scotland.
I have written about this incredible challenge in my Sunday Mail column. See the pdf or read the full story below.
The team, including supporters Fiona, Michael’s daughter, and daughter-in-law Nina, are still hoping to find more volunteers to help with the walk.
Doing it Michael’s Way
A Scot who is 75, blind and almost completely deaf is walking across Scotland. Michael Anderson, of Larbert, is taking on a 210-mile hike from the west coast island of Iona to St Andrews on the east coast for charity.
He hopes raise £15,000 for Deafblind Scotland with his self-created Michael’s Way challenge.
Michael, who has dual sensory impairment, can only walk short distances unaided, especially on rough ground, and will require full-time guides to complete the three-week walk.
The challenge is called Michael’s Way because he has had to find his own ways to complete even the most ordinary tasks.
Nina Smirnoff, his daughter-in-law, said: “Despite losing his sight and being almost completely deaf, Michael has found his own ways to continue to enjoy an active life.
“Doing thing’s ‘Michael’s way’ means, for example, walking hills but relying on a guide to show him the way.
“He takes cues from the guide’s movements and feedback about the terrain.
“He will also be pitching his own tent during parts of the walk and Michael’s way is to rely on his sense of touch to assemble the tent.”
The charity trek starts on May 5 on the Inner Hebridean island of Iona. From there the route loosely follows the long-distance trail, the St Columba’s Way, and connects with the Rob Roy Way and the Fife Coastal Path.
Michael will cross the Island of Mull before a ferry to Oban, where he will hike through the rugged Highlands and Perthshire to the golfing town of St Andrews in Fife.
The journey includes 6000m of ascent and many nights of wild camping. The walkers will need to carry all their own kit.
Nina and her partner, Fiona Anderson, who is Michael’s daughter, have pledged their support but he is also calling for other walkers to assist.
Nina said: “The walk is self-supported and some of the days will be remote and on very difficult terrain.
“Michael needs to be led and guided and we are hoping that confident walkers will pledge their support in this challenge.”
Michael is no stranger to challenges although Michael’s Way will be his hardest to date.
In September, he completed the Eyemouth Sprint Triathlon and in 2011 he summitted Ben Nevis.
He has also rowed the Union Canal from Falkirk to Edinburgh and abseiling down the Forth Rail Bridge.
Nina says: “Michael has always been determined to show that his disability does not stop him from doing the active things he most enjoys.
“However, Michael’s Way is by far the most challenging event he will have done and it will take him 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.
His fund-raising through Michael’s Way will help to create a new learning and development centre for deafblind people, The Field of Dreams.
To find out more:
* Michael’s Way Hike on Facebook
* To sponsor him, see www.justgiving.com/michaelsway
* If you can help with Michael’s Way by offering guidance or support contact Nina.Smirnoff@gmail.com