Trek raises £1,000 for cat centre

August 03 2015

ONE man's challenge, trekking from Land's End to John O'Groats, has resulted in almost £1,000 being raised for a local cat rehoming centre.

ONE man's challenge, trekking from Land's End to John O'Groats, has resulted in almost £1,000 being raised for a local cat rehoming centre.

Stuart Harris embarked on the enduring adventure, which lasted 82 days, in April. He arrived back in Bristol on July 3.

Stuart, 54, covered over 1,200 miles in total – and lost a remarkable two stone in weight.

He says that although he enjoyed the trek, he was “quite relieved” when he finally caught sight of the John O'Groats sign.

The funds raised will be going towards the Moggery – a charity run solely by volunteers, which sees approximately 250 furry felines come through its doors every year.

It costs £3,000 each month to keep the centre, located in Longmead Avenue, open.

Stuart and his partner adopted four cats from the Moggery in 2013, therefore recognising the invaluable work they do.

For Stuart, the most challenging part of his walk started when he reached Fort William. He was not only presented with relentless rain, waterlogged ground, and only his tent for accommodation for two weeks, but broken boots too.

Once he'd replaced them, he had to then endure three to four days of blistered feet.

He said: “It very wet, waterlogged and slow going. There wasn't a set route, and there was far less accommodation. But when I reached Loch Shin, the land started to get a lot flatter.”

However, Stuart, who classes himself as a 'Munro bagger' – someone who attempts to climb all of Scotland's peaks – says that he knows that part of the country well, having gone on many walking holidays to Scotland.

Besides having a friend who walked with him for a day from Clovelly to Westward Ho in Devon, he has walked the route, which includes the South West Coast path, Offa's Dyke, the Pennine Way and the West Highland Way, entirely by himself.

Stuart's favourite part of the 82-mile trek was passing through the Peak District – his old stomping ground having lived in Staffordshire for some time. He also said the North West Highlands were “rather spectacular”, but the dreary weather didn't coax much enthusiasm.

Stuart added: “I really enjoyed the walk, even though it was tough at times. But I knew I'd complete it in the end.”

This isn't the first long-distance walking challenge that Stuart has undertaken ... in 2011, he walked 1,200 miles along the Pacific Crest trail, which stretches from Mexico to Canada.

For his next adventure, he plans to complete the Te Araroa trail in New Zealand, which covers 1,800 miles.

Christine Bayka, chair of the Moggery, said: “It's wonderful how much Stuart has raised – the money will be going towards our vet bills, which cost £1,000 a month.”

“There's so much to do at the Moggery. We work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, dealing with cats who have been turned out – it's a huge problem in Bristol – so we don't have much time to do any fundraising. Having Stuart do it, is wonderful. We'd call him up regularly, cheering him on.”

Stuart Harris at John O'Groats