Alistair and Tess contemplate their challenge
Faithful black Labrador, Tess, will tackle a 230-mile adventure from Lewis to Arran, with her owner, Alistair Pratt, in memory of her mistress and Alistair’s wife Margot who sadly passed away in September.
'This is Tess's walk for Margot and I am just going with her,' said 69-year old Alistair, who has been busy planning their route since the autumn. Departing on 1 May from Reef beach near their home on the west coast of Lewis, Alistair and Tess will walk down through the Morsgail Estate, across the Harris hills to Tarbert and onto Leverburgh. From there they will take the ferry across to Berneray and make their way down through North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist before heading to Lochbiosdale.
'We'll then catch the ferry to Oban and walk from there via Adrfern on the Craignish Peninsula on to Skipness on the Mull of Kintyre, before taking the final ferry trip to Lochranza on Arran,' said Alistair, adding that he and Margot spent many years living on arran before their move to Lewis 19 years ago. It was also Margot's wish to have her ashes scattered on the beautiful Reef beach and on the dramatic summit of Goatfell. 'Our aim is to be on the top of Goatfell on 26 May, which would have been Margot's 69th birthday.'
The three-week expedition will see friends also joining Alistair and Tess on various stretches of the walk, which will mostly be on old drovers or coffin tracks along with forestry roads. Kimelford-based good friend, David Wilkie, will not only follow the pair with a campervan to provide an accomodation base on route, but also join them for most of the walking.
'I really want to enjoy the walk and take time taking photographs as we go,' said Alistair, adding that anybody is welcome to join them on their adventure and particularly those who knew Margot. 'Tess and I are also planning to write a daily blog of our journey,' he added.
Well known in West Coast sailing circles, experience yachting couple Alistair and Margot had completed three Atlantic passages, as well as voyages around the North of Norway, Greenland and some six visits to Iceland on their yacht, along with exploring the whole of the European Coast and many excursions aroudn the West Coast of Scotland.
'The main reason I want to do this walk is to remember Margot, who for six years handled her illness so very well with such a positive and upbeat attitude. I also want to repay Macmillan Cancer Support for all they have done, and, for all the support and effort the Macmillan nurses put in at the time when we really needed help,' said Alistair. Adding that he also wanted to show his support to Macmillan's work in some areas of the Beatson Cancer Centre in Glasgow.
Donations to Alistair and Tess's walk can be made online via Margot's Tribute Fund page.