Incase you’ve not heard yet, The Kiltwalk is a fantastic series of events which have grown, in only three years, from an off-shoot from the Tartan Army into a 10,000 strong movement with 7 Scottish Kiltwalk and 5 overseas events every year. All funds raised go to local Scottish childrens charities, and with fundraising now reaching into the millions, the Kiltwalk is making an incredible difference to the children of Scotland.
Back in June we helped marshall the Edinburgh Kiltwalk, as we had the year before, and when we saw the great fun all the walkers were having as they passed our checkpoint, we decided it was time we had a go ourselves! We carefully selected the Speyside Kiltwalk for it’s local beauty (and possibly for it’s proximity to some of the worlds finest distilleries), and donned our kilts once more!
We quickly realised at the startline that as marshalls we’d seriously missed out on an incredible atmosphere, the energy in the kilted-hoard of over 1,200 people raring to go more than made up for the 6am start and the chilly knees. As the Buckie and District Pipe Band led us from the stadium the people of Buckie waved us off, and we we’re greeted with the first of many spectacular views.
Several of the larger charities the kiltwalk supports provided us with some fantastic pitstops and plenty of encouragement. To thank only a few for the highlights (and we’re sorry to the others, we can’t list you all!); The Aila Coull Foundation for their limbo and healthy treats at pitstop one, Cash for Kids for their less healthy but delicious hot dougnuts at pitstop 2, Aberlour Child Care Trust (who have been kind enough to come and speak to us before) at pitstop 3 for some monstermunch and letting us know just how steep the next leg of the route would be, Clic Sargeant at stop 5 for some delicious hot soup when things were getting tough, and CHAS (who first told us about the Kiltwalk) for the support right before the final stretch!
As we passed the 6th and final checkpoint, after 24 miles and around 8 hours of continuous walking, there was no denying things were starting to get hard. As our legs got sore and our feet started to drag behind us, we really appreciate the fellowship and shared determination of our fellow walkers more than ever before. There wasn’t a person we passed (or, admittedly, we were passed by) who didn’t take a moment to share some encouragement and a smile with us. I expect there’s more than a few walkers who couldn’t have finished the whole route in the time they did without having the others around them to offer that support.
As we neared the finish the supporters on the sidelines came faster and louder, and as we turned the final corner so see hundreds of people cheering us on, we picked our pace (and feet) up, and for the final hundred yards we decided to go all out and run for the finish line!
As we crossed the line and were greeted by all the charities we were there supporting, we took a seat (collapsed) on the grass surrounded by our fellow kiltwalkers and well wishers, and our feet felt a little less sore and our smiles a lot wider.
We’ll definitely be there again next year.
Maybe helping in the pitstops, maybe running across the finish line again, but we’ll definitely be there.
We’ve almost reached our ambition target of £500, if you’d like to help us over another finish line, here’s that all important link!