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End of 1000-mile walk is in sight for Christopher in Crossreach charity marathon

In July 2013 a young man, Christopher McLeary, set off on an ambitious attempt to walk 1000 miles in 100 days across Scotland …

In July 2013 a young man, Christopher McLeary, set off on an ambitious attempt to walk 1000 miles in 100 days across Scotland covering the great trails of the nation to raise £2000 for a charity very close to his heart: CrossReach; a Church of Scotland body providing care and support to some of the most vulnerable in Scotland.

Christopher enthuses: “I benefited greatly from the counselling services of CrossReach and that's why I'm raising money for them. They never once asked me for a penny and they never, ever would. This time last year I could barely get out of bed. The power of proper guidance from a counsellor can't be underestimated.”

Now Christopher finds himself inside the last two weeks of his marathon adventure and excited about the prospect of completing his goal and his fundraising target for his chosen charity.

Christopher is grateful for the support of many church communities across Scotland. He anticipated sleeping in a tent for much of the summer but thanks to the generosity and hospitality of many churches and their congregations along the way, he was often housed, fed and watered.

He recollects fondly how at one church in the Borders he was offered the church hall to sleep in when Graham – who who had previously worked for CrossReach – and his wife Fiona invited him into their home to stay for a couple of nights to recharge his batteries before the next stage of his journey. Christopher shares stories of some tough times and arduous routes.

“Making it to Girvan and to the top of the Devil’s Staircase in Glencoe were particularly tough” he recollects.

But it's some of the seemingly smaller things that have stuck in his mind and bring him a smile: “At a point of complete exhaustion I found a house and on asking for a glass of water was given a cold can of Coke!” Christopher also remembers “I was cold and wet and soaked to the skin in a bothy in the middle of the Galloway forest. I couldn’t get a fire started when out of nowhere two guys arrived with lighter fuel!”

The last stages of the routs are the Great Glen Way to Fort William, West Highland Way to Glasgow, Forth and Clyde canal from Glasgow then John Muir trail to Dunbar.

The public can show their support for Christopher and help him hit his target of £2000 by giving by texting LWTR51 followed by £1/£2/£5/£10 to 70070, or donating to a local CrossReach centre in person. Just tell them it’s for the walk and they'll make sure it gets to the right people.

CrossReach is the Social Care Council of the Church of Scotland.

Photo: Chris McLeary with the Anne Goldie, Manager of the Tom Allan Centre and Jackie Walker, Coordinator of Tom Allan PND

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