Douglas McCrea Annual Charity Walk 2023 - Daily Blog

Douglas McCrea Annual Charity Walk 2023 - Daily Blog Update 

A huge well done to Douglas, who has completed the Kintyre Way for his 14th Annual Charity Walk in order to raise funds for our charity partners, the Emma Cameron Foundation and Glasgow Care Foundation.

Douglas has been reporting in to us on a nightly basis so that we were able to keep the daily blog up to date with how he was getting on. 

Having discovered that there was a new ending to the Kintyre Way, Douglas had a change of schedule and added in an additional days walk of 23km to the end, taking the official overall distance of the walk to 162km. 

The support for this year's walk has been amazing with the total amount raised already beating Douglas' previous record. A massive thank you to those who have donated so far to support Douglas' efforts, as it is genuinely appreciated. If you would like to donate and haven't already, you can do so on our Emma Cameron Foundation Just Giving Page here, and our Glasgow Care Foundation Just Giving Page here

Monday 20th August

When the book said that the last day of walking was going to be challenging, Douglas thought he was in for a long, hard day; and surprisingly enough, he was!

Saving the biggest hill until last, Douglas' day consisted of a very early start with 18 miles to be covered over a mix of cross-country and coastal paths; thankfully today there was no monsoon. A sunbathing seal was the highlight of the day's walk, which also took Douglas past the Machrihanish Golf Course and the famous first hole which was voted the best opening hole in all of Scotland. 

The additional day's walk took Douglas' total distance covered to 106 miles/169km, and with Douglas' new book telling him the new Kintyre Way is a 162km walk, our calculations tell us that he only managed to get lost for 7km, which is surely a personal best! 

The bonus of a few days of stunning scenery and of course the fantastic amount that you have helped us raise for our charity partners makes the aches and pains all worth it for Douglas, as he says he may struggle to walk for a few days.

Thank you again for your incredible generosity; now for Douglas to put his feet up and stop dreaming about those hills! 

Friday 11th August

With 88 miles having been completed in 6 days - 2 more miles than originally planned - that would normally be the time for Douglas to pack the walking boots away for another year.

However Douglas, as mentioned in yesterday's update, happened to have met one of the current custodians of the Kintyre Way and having recently introduced a new longer version of the walk, Douglas now has another 17 miles/27.2km to go!

Having to return home for the time being, Douglas will return to Kintyre next weekend and tackle the new Day 7. The route is described as a long, challenging day going over boggy pathless ground. Another day of heavy rain and Douglas may have an interesting day ahead... 

Day 6 didn't start brilliantly for Douglas, as he stoated his head off the side of the car boot that hadn't opened properly when dropping off the car. At least he now has a 'Kintyre Way battle scar' to remember the walk by.

The days walk was initially 10 miles of road walking over the rollercoaster hills (see Wednesdays guide to hills). Walking with Brian, Christian and Lexy the Dog, it was an interesting day with sightings of an otter, highlight cows and rather suprisingly, a snake!

The last 6 miles were coastal with a mixture of beach, rocks and a few hills. Unfortunately after a short shower around 15:30-16:30, the heavens opened and the last mile was in torrential rain; it doesn't take long to get soaked!

Thanks again for all the support which has been brilliant - one last push from Douglas next weekend is all that's left!

Thursday 10th August

Douglas had one word for Thursday's walk - 'ouch'.

The days walk was 35.1km taking 8 hours and 45 mins, and included a detour that for once wasn't Douglas getting lost. He appreciates the forestry guys need to do their stuff, but wasn't impressed they chose just beside a flat walk beside a loch, with the detour being 2 miles uphill which can be seen below!

As mentioned above, Douglas has also had a change of schedule. Having met a lovely lady who looks after the Kintyre Way earlier in the week, Douglas bought her updated 2023 version of the book to discover they have changed the ending; adding almost 23km!

Not wishing to be seen to take the easy way out, Douglas has decided to do the full new version. This therefore means a slightly shorter walk on Friday, but with a scary additional day which he'll finish at the start of next week, made even scarier by the size of the hills which can be seen on the right hand side on the graphic below!

Wednesday 9th August

Day 4 started early with a drive to Campbeltown (Douglas' new base camp), and a bus at 8.30am back to Tayinloan. Having woken up at 4am thinking 6 hours maybe a bit tight if he did the late shift, Douglas took the decision to go for an early-o'clock start.  

The days walk began well as he headed back to the beach which was glorious. Now - this is clearly done to lull people like Douglas with hillphobia (a new fear Douglas has made up) into thinking that the day was going to be a doddle.

Needless to say after a few hundred yards on the beach, turning left and passing some geese, Douglas encountered his enemy once again (you guessed it, a big hill). 

Douglas has been kind enough to explain the different types of hills he has encountered (and still has to) on his walks;

  1. Sneaky Hill - This is where you have scaled a hill thinking you’ve scaled Everest and are looking forward to a rest, only to discover another hill has sneakily been planted round the corner from the one you’ve just climbed. 
  2. Monster Hill - Needs no explanation.
  3. Rollercoaster Hill - All very well at Alton Towers or Florida - no fun if you are walking it. 
  4. You’re Having a Laugh Hill - Very similar to a sneaky hill, only this one is of a sufficient size that when you turn the corner and see it, you find yourself saying ‘you are having a laugh’ (or something similar which couldn’t be printed here). 
  5. The Hill in the Distance Hill - This is one you can see and you hope although your guide book and map indicate you are heading in its direction, you aren’t actually going to have to climb over it. As you get closer it dawns on you of course you are. These tend to be very big and for some reason strategically placed on all my walks.  
  6. The Normal Hill - Don’t let anyone kid you on, these don’t exist.  

Tomorrow's walk, which according to the guidebook is 'challenging', is a 33.5km trek from Carradale to Campbeltown which should take Douglas around 10 hours.

Mostly cross country and the ascent being the highest of the week, a few of the comments in the guide book are 'scramble over more rocks', 'track climbs steadily', 'road heading uphill', and 'head up the glen' (not down) - we think you get the picture! 

Tuesday 8th August

After the mud and rain of yesterday, Tuesday blessed Douglas with glorious weather, stunning scenery and best of all, no hills!

Todays walk was 16km long on a mixture of road, which wasn't particularly ideal for someone with a dodgy hip, including large stones on a beach and jungle warfare on a small stretch; also not particularly ideal for someone wearing shorts. 

Thankfully a good stretch of the beach walk wasn't too bad underfoot and the views of Jura and Gigha were stunning, which can be seen below.

The day's walk took Douglas just over 4 hours which included a few stops to admire the surroundings. 

That's Douglas wrapped up the three shortest days, with the delights of 26km on Wednesday, 32km on Thursday and the small matter of 34km to finish on Friday to follow. 

Tomorrow sees Douglas back to cross country with hills galore, as well as walking through a wind farm (to our knowledge, they don't put wind farms at the bottom of hills!) 

With only 6 hours to reach Carradale from Tayinloan to make the last bus, all being well and assuming he makes it on time, we'll hear from Douglas again tomorrow - if not then we might be getting a phone call to rescue him! 

Monday 7th August 

Douglas could only describe Day 2's walk in two words; wet and a slog.  

Despite only walking 13.3 miles, the day of walking took Douglas over 5 hours and for once the dreaded hills weren't to blame with Douglas making a new nemesis; mud, which was everywhere. The downpours of the last few weeks wouldn't have helped, including the one today as you can see by Douglas' check in below!

There was still a fair amount of hill walking, and the days walk was mainly cross country. It wasn't the most scenic walk of the week for Douglas, although tomorrow's walk is mostly coastal which will provide some great photo opportunities. 

After enjoying some company over the first two days (Wilson, Gordon and the return of Ava the Dog), it's now three days wandering solo for Douglas which is the time that he's most in danger of getting lost.

The donations over the last few days have been absolute fantastic; thank you to everyone who has taken the time and trouble to donate!

Sunday 6th August 

Douglas' plan had been to break himself into the walk gently with the walk from Tarbert to Skipness on Day 1 being just under 10 miles, leaving the days with the scary distances to later in the week.

He hadn't factored in that the first 75 minutes of the day involved going up the way; those who have followed the blogs in the past know Douglas has a rather strained relationship with hills! A number of water and view breaks later, thankfully the walk levelled off.

As mentioned Douglas has a hobby of getting lost on his charity walks, and was looking forward to getting lost again so much that he managed to do so on the morning of the first day. His excuse was that Tarbert Castle isn't brilliantly signposted, however we're not sure if we believe him.

Day 1 was mainly a forest walk, however there were a number of brilliant views of Arran (a walk from a few years ago) in the distance, with Loch Fyne looking spectacular as you can see above. 

With recent forecasts being for rain all week, as usual the forecast was completely wrong with Day 1 bringing loads of sunshine instead; the factor 30 sun lotion running out after two skooshes won't have to be replaced by tomorrow, with rain expected. 

Monday's trek is from Skipness to Clachan. which will involve a couple of miles of coast road towards the Claonaig to Lochranza ferry, then cross-country for just over 10 miles. The walking guidebook that Douglas is following says the walk will 'gently rise to a high point of 720 feet' - we'll find out tomorrow if their idea of gently is the same as Douglas'! 

A massive thank you to those who have donated so far to support Douglas' efforts, as it is genuinely appreciated. If you would like to donate and haven't already, you can do so on our Emma Cameron Foundation Just Giving Page here, and our Glasgow Care Foundation Just Giving Page here

You can stay in touch with all the charity activity being undertaken by the team here at McCrea by visiting our website news pages or following us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

Thank you for the support!