wHILE other teenagers may have spent their summer break from school on holiday with families or having plenty of lie ins, three Duns youngsters embarked on an 96 mile trek across the West Highland Way.
Jade Carnell, Joe Sanders and Oscar Macandrew took on the ambitious feat in aid of Jade’s intended charity mission to Tanzania next year when she and friend Emma Watney hope to help in a local orphanage.
To do this the girls need to raise £4,000 but are hoping to reach the £6,000 mark so their chosen charity can receive even more money.
What makes their recent feat even more of an achievement is that they tackled the eight day experience- which took them past Loch Lamond, Glen Coe, Ben Nevis, before ending in Fort William- without hardly any training and speaking to ‘The Berwickshire News’ on their return, Oscar said he was surprised how well they coped.
“That’s the thing my family can’t get their heads round,” he said.
“They couldn’t believe I actually did it- which isn’t a great vote of confidence- but we managed it some how.
“Once we got over the first bit there was no way we’d go back- for a start we knew we had to make it to Fort William for 5pm on the last day or else we’d have missed the bus to get home!
“Although I coped better than I thought I would it still wasn’t a walk in the park.
“We were blessed with some fantastic weather and I think if it had rained all the time and there weren’t such fantastic views around every corner it would have been a lot tougher.
“Scotland seemed to open up in front of us.”
As well as walking 96 miles, Oscar, Jade and Joe’s job was made harder by the fact that they were each carrying 25kg on their backsbut Joe’s task was made slightly easier by the fact he’d previously carried rocks on his back while on a school expedition to Peru.
Thankfully there weren’t any rocks in his rucksack this time around but said there were still some testing times.
He commented: We had a lot of fun on the hike, the beautiful landscape and weather, meeting other hikers and hearing about their experiences and cooking
and relaxing at the end of a long day, the longest of which was 16 miles.
“However, it was extremely difficult due to heavy rucksacks, no day off, sleeping on stones, tough terrain and above all midgies! But the pain made the bath, beer and bed all the sweeter at home.
“But the pain was a speck on the enjoyment and experience. What kept me going was the satisfaction after each day and the magnificent sights around every corner- wildlife, Glen Coe, Rannoch Moor and Ben Nevis.
“I was very happy to help out Emma and Jade and become good friends with Oscar and had a great time.”
Jade, who is planning on hosting a number of other fundraising events with Emma to reach their intended target, also said her trek along the Highland Way was an experience, which although tough, was one she’d never forget.
“I found it the most difficult thing I have ever done, both physically and mentally,” she said.
“I’m still recovering, but it was also so beautiful and the company made it really enjoyable.
“At times I found it so unbelievably difficult and I have to say thanks to Oscar and Joe as they helped me to continue.
“Finishing the walk made us all feel so accomplished, I’m still waiting for it to sink in!”
The courageous trio estimate they have raised in the region of £450 from the hike alone and hope this will be swelled at least 10 fold by next summer.
Anyone wanting to help their fundraising along should email firstname.lastname@example.org