On paper, walking 26 miles in the beautiful Scottish countryside might not sound like much of a challenge. When I first signed up to tackle all four Kiltwalks, people often said 'isn't it just walking?' I had to disagree. Nothing about walking 104 miles in sometimes unreliable walking boots was easy! It was undoubtedly a challenge, but one that I'm glad participated in. 

As a fundraiser, I love a challenge and raising money for an amazing cause is what makes me tick. 

I took on 'all the Kiltwalks' challenge when I first joined Cornerstone in 2018. It was a bold commitment to make during the first weeks of my new job, but I knew it would help me to better support Cornerstone's challenge participants.  My first two challenges were tough, but I felt terrific when I passed through the finish line.  

I had made the half-way point, only two Kiltwalks to go until I had conquered my challenge! 

My third Kiltwalk was a beautiful scenic route from St Andrews to Dundee. The walk was going brilliantly until Aa few miles in when disaster struck. The sole come off and was flapping around.  I powered on but the feeling of the sole flapping around beneath my feet began to get very annoying. I had to tear the sole off and carry it as I walked three miles to the next checkpoint with only one working shoe it was breaking my flow and annoying me, so I carried the sole and just walked on the leather under the sole. 

At the checkpoint I was able to ask for help from the amazing Kiltwalk team or 'Kilties'. These volunteers were amazing, and one of the Kiltie’s was able to do some expert engineering of my boot with some good old gaffer tape. Sadly, after a mile or so, the gaffer tape came off and I was back to limping and trying to walk with one good boot. By this time, my left foot was sore and blisters were starting. I was struggling but I decided to push on, this was the hardest part of the challenge.  

Finally, the next checkpoint came, I found another Kiltie, some more gaffer tape and re-taped the boot. This time, the boot stayed taped up the rest of the way. 

My feet were aching, and I still had around 10 miles to go. I teamed up with a lovely lass who had a sore back but was, like me, determined not to give up. We walked the rest of the way together, sharing stories (and painkillers), talking about our charities and keeping each other going. Our pace was slow, but consistent. We were going to do this! 

With 5 miles to go – we found ourselves meeting up with a few more 'Kiltwalk friends' – that were all struggling with various ailments, blisters, back issues and sciatica, to name a few.  

After a day of walking, sore feet, loads of gaffer tape and a sense of incredible accomplishment, we arrived at the finish line. We all held hands, walked through that finish line together. I will warmly remember this as a top life moment. Up there with joining an amazing charity like Cornerstone, getting married and becoming a mum! 

Roy T. Bennett wrote, "Life is about accepting the challenges along the way, choosing to keep moving forward and savouring the journey." This certainly sums up my challenge for Cornerstone and Cornerstone as a Social Care provider. Whatever challenge you choose - I'm sure you'll get more out of it than you ever expect to!  

For advice on starting your challenge journey, contact Julia on [email protected].