The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has given its support to an ambitious bid to walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats in a straight line.
The route from the southernmost point of England to the most northern tip of mainland Scotland is well-worn by charity fundraisers, but John MacPhee, originally from Inverness and now living in Dundee, is doing something a bit different with the Long Straight Walk.
His route is a straight line between the locations, requiring the 49-year-old to cross not only hundreds of miles of land, but also rivers and, of course, the Irish Sea.
He embarked on the Long Straight Walk on 6th September and on Sunday, 14th September, his expedition brought him to the Isle of Man. The Steam Packet Company gave John free travel to Douglas so he could continue his journey by walking to the Point of Ayre, to be met by a charter boat headed for Kirkcudbright and the next leg of the trek. He plans to complete the Long Straight Walk in early October.
John set himself the challenge to raise awareness of Parkinson’s, especially Early Onset Parkinson’s, after being diagnosed with the neurological condition aged just 46. His Long Straight Walk is also raising money for the charity Parkinson’s UK.
He explained: ‘Being diagnosed in my 40s with Parkinson’s Disease was a shock, but if I can raise awareness then I can raise funds. If I can raise funds I can help find a cure. If a cure is found I’ll be happy.
‘Walking in a straight line sounded easy when I first thought of it, but it has turned out to be anything but easy. The logistics always have another layer of detail followed by some more planning. Planning is a bit of uncharted territory for me, if anything that is the real challenge.
‘I’m very grateful to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company for giving me free travel to the Island, which has been an enormous help in ensuring I stay on track to complete the Long Straight Walk.’
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward added: ‘Attempting to walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats is an impressive feat, but trying to do it in a straight line is amazing. We’re delighted to have been able to help John as he continues his journey and wish him all the best as he raises awareness of Parkinson’s and vital funds for research into the condition.’
Photograph: John MacPhee in RamseyLong Straight Walk John MacPhee in Ramsey