Deafblind Man Plans Cross-Scotland Hike

© Michael Anderson

In May Michael Anderson will be walking 210 miles across Scotland from Iona to St.Andrews in aid of Deafblind Scotland. That's no mean feat for someone with a serious dual sensory impairment. Michael has put out a call for volunteers to help guide him on stages of the three-week journey. We picked up this news from blogger Fionaoutdoors, so we'll let her take up the story:

Michael Anderson is walking 210 miles across Scotland, from Iona in the west coast islands, to St Andrews on the east coast. He hopes to take three weeks this May to complete Michael’s Way and his goal is to raise £15,000 for Deafblind Scotland.

Michael still needs volunteers to help guide him on some stages of the route
© Michael Anderson

But Michael is no ordinary walker. In fact, he’s an extraordinary walker. He is taking on this huge challenge at the age of 75. He is also blind and mostly deaf.

Michael’s Way will be loosely based on St Columba’s Way, which heads from Iona to St Andrews over 210 miles with more than 6000m of ascent.

The hike starts on Iona on May 6 and is entirely self-supported. Michael and the team will be carrying all the camping kit and things they need for the journey.

The route will take the team from coast to coast including sections of the Rob Roy Way and Fife Coastal Path. While it is a beautiful route there will be many terrain-related challenges for Michael and his guides.

Michael’s daughter-in-law Nina says:

“We chose to call this challenge Michael’s Way because it highlights that despite his disability – Michael has dual sensory impairment and cannot see at all and has limited hearing – it is possible to live an active life and enjoy the outdoors."

“But, he has to do things Michael’s way. For instance, he relies on a guide to show him the way, taking cues from the guide’s movements and feedback about the terrain."

“He will be pitching his own tent, Michael’s way by relying on his sense of touch to assemble the tent.”

Michael has no vision at all and hears with the help of two strong hearing aids. This means that he relies entirely on sensory feedback to go about his day-to-day life.

Eventually his hearing will deteriorate completely and the only way to communicate will be via deafblind manual alphabet. He walks with a white cane so it is vital he will have guides on the Michael’s Way challenge.

Michael is no stranger to challenges, including the Eyemouth Sprint Triathlon last September, summitting Ben Nevis in 2011 and rowing the Union Canal from Falkirk to Edinburgh in 2006, as well as abseiling down the Forth Rail Bridge.

Nina says:

“However, Michael’s Way is by far the most challenging event he will have done and it will take Michael some way out of his comfort zone having not camped at all since he lost his sight.”

Michael has been a member and director of Deafblind Scotland for many years and their support, advice and help has been unparalleled when it comes to giving him access to information, social events and generally just getting out and about. He wants to give something back and so he is helping with fund-raising efforts to create a new learning and development centre for deafblind people, The Field of Dreams.

Michael is calling for volunteers to help him in his charity quest. He is fit and healthy but he needs guides during his journey. Along with his daughter Fiona and his daughter-in-law Nina some volunteers have already stepped forward, but Michael still has gaps in his plan.

  • To find out more about Michael's walk and the route schedule see Fionaoutdoors




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