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Macmillan Mighty Hike sees brothers put in the miles for dad in Lake District

By Chris Saunderson

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THE Macmillan Mighty Hike will be one of the toughest challenges I have ever done.

And I have my brother to thank for the prospect of 26.1 miles hiking through the Lake District, England's largest national park.

Chris (left) and Stevie pre-Covid when you could hug your nearest and dearest!
Chris (left) and Stevie pre-Covid when you could hug your nearest and dearest!

We will walk from Dalemain House in Penrith, around Ullswater Lake, before returning to Lowther Castle in Penrith.

Oh, and in between there will be some rocky and uneven terrain, with some testing hill climbs, and around 3273 feet of ascent, which also means 3273 feet of descent!

The event on Saturday, June 19 is raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support, and will be my first visit to the Lake District in over 40 years.

My brother and I used to enjoy family holidays to Silloth, a small village in Cumbria, which backs on to the Lake District, many years ago with our parents Helen and John.

Our last challenge together was September 2018 when we ran the Great North Run half marathon for children's hospital charities.

Our dad, who died in January 2020 after a long battle with cancer, enjoyed the countryside and being outdoors, but in later years was unable to fully appreciate its beauty due to blindness and other health challenges.

Chris with his dad John.
Chris with his dad John.

My brother Stevie (48), a police officer in Dumfries, decided to do the hike so he could go 'Sightseeing for dad', while also raising money for a good cause, and in a spirit of togetherness I agreed to keep him company.

The training has been hard but rewarding. It has made me appreciate even more the wonderful natural resources we have around us.

Ben Rinnes, a corbett (a mountain between 2500 and 3000ft) in Moray which sits at 840 metres, has been one of my training grounds, along with the Winding Walks in Fochabers, the old railway line between Lossiemouth and Elgin, the West Beach in Lossie and Divis Mountain just outside Belfast.

The only way is up, and then down. Chris ready for an ascent of Ben Rinnes during training.
The only way is up, and then down. Chris ready for an ascent of Ben Rinnes during training.

My bicycle has been my other vital training tool, and having reaquainted myself with two wheels earlier this year for the first time in a long while, I have felt like a kid again while out on my bike.

Ben Rinnes in all its glory.
Ben Rinnes in all its glory.

The big day is almost here and we are getting ready for the hike, which is the day after the England v Scotland match at the Euro Championships, so we hope to watch the game in Penrith, perhaps with just the one shandy and off to bed, ready for an early start the following day.

If you would like to sponsor either myself or my brother, we would be delighted to have your support.


  • Chris Saunderson is a content editor with The Northern Scot, Banffshire Advertiser, Banffshire Herald, Forres Gazette, Banffshire Journal and Huntly Express.


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