Kiltwalk Challenge: Veronica’s story

April 2024

WAY’s National Volunteer Manager Veronica Currie explains why she’s walking more than 80 miles through Scotland’s biggest cities to raise funds for WAY in memory of her late husband, who would have turned 50 this year…


Turning 50 is a huge milestone and one that, for me, felt like a huge privilege, following my husband’s sudden death when he was 41. 

I have always been a bit of a fundraiser and have undertaken various challenges over the years. This year, I wanted to do something as part of my 50th celebrations and also in memory of my husband, who didn’t get the chance to have his 50th birthday – he would have turned 50 in July 2024, if life had gone as planned. 

I have taken part in the iconic Scottish Kiltwalk fundraising events in the past. The most recent event was in 2022, when I raised money for WAY along with three other WAY members. Between us, we raised more than £6,000!

This year, I have decided to do all FOUR Kiltwalks in one year – Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh – which will total more than 80 miles. I love walking and I love nature, so this will be a lovely way to force myself to keep getting out and about. 

 


Veronica's update from Glasgow's Kiltwalk

The Glasgow Kiltwalk on Sunday, 28 April went really well. I joined 14,000 other walkers, all raising money for incredible charities to walk from Glasgow Green to Balloch - officially 22.6 miles, but my Strava said almost 24! Either way, it was a long distance and my feet knew it! 

 

The weather was an unexpected, beautiful surprise. A chilly start with 2 degrees, but brilliant blue skies and sunshine! It hadn't been forecast, but was very, very welcome! The Glasgow Kiltwalk sold out quickly so I ended up doing this one on my own. I’ve done kiltwalks before, but never on my own, so I knew this would be mentally tough.

I had my podcasts though (Fearne Cotton's Happy Place kept me company all the way round) and the company of 14,000 strangers! I had put a call out for cheerleaders on the WAY events page and in the Glasgow local pages, and a very lovely member, Anna, said she would come and support me as she lived nearby. 

The miles were ticked off – I walked through the city centre, past the hotel where WAY held our 2022 AGM, along the Glasgow canal and the sun shone all the way. I was so grateful to know that Anna was waiting for me at the Dumbarton pitstop.

By mile 16, my legs were slowing and whilst I hadn’t felt at all lonely on the walk, I knew having somebody to chat to would help to lift me for the final miles. I hadn’t expected Anna to be able to walk with me, but as it was public paths, there was nothing stopping her. I certainly hadn’t expected her to offer to walk the remaining 6 miles with me, which she did!

Anna and I had only met once or twice before, briefly, so we had lots to talk about. Anna shared that she and her husband had walked the Glasgow Kiltwalk in 2019 – five years ago that very weekend, and that the walk was in her Facebook memories that morning. Anna's kindness, encouragement and support were just typical of the WAY community and I hope she knows just how much she helped to get my tired feet across that finish line! 

Every step is worthwhile

I completed my first Kiltwalk in 2013 which was also in Glasgow, but a different route. I was first attracted to the Kiltwalks because walking felt achievable. You could choose your own charity and because it took place in the daytime. At that time, a lot of the marathon length, endurance walks, seemed to go overnight, which didn’t appeal to me. I did the Edinburgh Kiltwalk in 2014 then supported the Glasgow Kiltwalk as a volunteer in 2016 before taking part in the Aberdeen Kiltwalk in 2022 with other WAY members.

I have always done fundraising events (I’ve swum, run and walked for years in aid of various charities) and it’s the endurance events that tend to get the most money. People need to be impressed to part with their hard-earned cash! Training for endurance-style fundraising events gives me focus, keeps me fit and helps give me a sense of purpose. Since my bereavement in 2016, my love of nature has grown immeasurably. It grounds me, it gives me a sense of awe and helps to calm my otherwise racing brain! So long walks in nature are great for me and if Scotland’s Kiltwalks give me a vehicle to raise money by completing a long walk in nature, then it’s a no-brainer – I’m there. 

 Doing all four Kiltwalks in one year in 2024 is going to be a huge achievement, but it’s also going to force me to keep getting outside, walking in nature, even on the grey, hard-to-motivate myself days, because I have something positive to strive for. And if me taking on a challenge helps to inspire others to do the same – or encourages somebody to donate to WAY Widowed and Young or helps give somebody hope or helps to raise awareness of the charity – then every step is worthwhile.