It may be overcast and a wee-bit wet in the Scottish Western Highlands but Brian Burnie’s spirits are high. After 7 months of hiking, the charity founder has reached another impressive milestone – 2,000 miles walked on his mission to bring free cancer patient are all over Great Britain and Ireland.
Brian left Newcastle on 5th March 2018 to walk 7,000 miles around the country to promote and expand the Gosforth based Charity, ‘Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care’.
“At times, it’s been harder than I thought” admits Brian. “After Skye, I walked towards Fort William, through Glenelg, Mallaig and Glenfinnan. The area is stunning, rugged and remote and the constant rain has made it difficult to navigate at times, but I am thrilled to reach 2,000 miles.”
Brian walked south past Corran and Kilmelford to Crinan where he achieved his 2k milestone. “Walking along Loch Linnhe to Corran was breath-taking. I could see Glencoe in the distance when crossing the Ballachulish Bridge over Loch Leven. In my opinion, some Scottish scenery is up there with the most
beautiful in the world.”
“It can be a lonely walk, some footpaths in the Western Highlands are deserted. At times I haven’t seen a single person all day, so I’ll have more company as I head south.”
Brian and wife Cheryl’s home for the two-year walk is Bluebell Bus; a doubledecker bus covered in the charity’s unique branding. A recent breakdown has made them both homeless. Cheryl is delighted to have their mobile home back on the road “We were so disappointed when Bluebell broke down leaving Skye, we didn’t have any idea what was wrong. Our driver, Tommy Watson found an electrical problem which was impossible to fix at the road side, so we called Stagecoach to help us out!”
Stagecoach Inverness came to their rescue but poor Bluebell had to be towed to Inverness depot for specialist attention. Cheryl adds “Stagecoach were so helpful! They had a specialist engineer look at the electrics and she was back on the road in no time! We are so grateful to the team at Inverness for helping us”.
Brian, Cheryl and Bluebell returned to Newcastle for the “Daft as a Brush Last Night of The Proms” concerts on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th October. Brian was delighted to see so many people attending, including friends and volunteers. “I find it quite moving that our charity can fill the City Hall to capacity. What an amazing weekend of music. The Children’s Proms on the following Sunday showcased the exceptional talent we have in our region. Absolutely outstanding.”
But there’s little time for Brian to relax, his walk continues in earnest as he will be meeting with delegates from Beatson Cancer Centre in Glasgow very soon. “You never know, but there’s a chance Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care could be operating in both east and west Scotland in 2019.”
Brian’s dream to take the charity nationwide could be turning in to a reality.
The “Bluebell Bus Team” – Brian and Cheryl Burnie with Driver Tommy Watson.