Residents across the north-east donned their walking boots (or special costumes) to take part in this year’s Virtual Kiltwalk.
From Fort William to Stonehaven, hundreds of people raised thousands of pounds for charities by walking miles and miles.
Usually a popular in-person event, the Kiltwalk was virtual this year due to Covid restrictions banning mass gatherings.
But this did not stop residents from doing their own thing and making good use of the warm, dry weather this weekend.
More than 11,000 Scots are taking part in this weekend’s Virtual Kiltwalk, with some doing over socially-distanced activities like running, dancing and even tight-rope walking.
1,050 Scottish charities badly hit by the pandemic are set to benefit from the event, with more than £4 million already raised.
£2.7 million by the walkers and £1.4 million from Sir Tom Hunter. Each and every penny raised by participants receives a 50% top up from The Hunter Foundation.
Sir Tom Hunter said: “It’s fantastic to see so many people getting involved in the Virtual Kiltwalk Weekend, making such a big effort to help those who need it most. The people of Scotland never fail to amaze me with their kindness.”
Local charity efforts
One group taking part was the team behind Save Bon Accord Baths, who decided to walk 26 miles to raise money for their charitable cause.
So far, they have made £1,725, which is almost double their target of £1,o00.
Member Steven Cooper said: “I am excited to challenge myself more than I have before in completing the walk and raising money to help save the baths while doing so.”
A team from Mrs Murray’s Home for Stray Dogs and Cats are also taking part in the Kiltwalk to raise money to help look after their animals.
Staff and volunteers from the home set a challenge to walk 135 miles, which is the equivalent of the distance from their premises to Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home.
Their team took it in turns to walk a circuit in Aberdeen to rack up the miles and set off at 7am this morning to complete the task.
Some of their animals joined the Kiltwalk to get some of their daily exercise.
A statement from the Home explained why they took part:
“Who would have thought back in March last year that the North East and indeed the country would still be under strict regulations due to Covid-19!
“It had a big impact on everyone, including Mrs Murray’s. All our normal fundraising had to cease which is a large part of our income along with donations and legacies.
“As with everyone we have had to join the virtual age and embrace the internet and of course social media. During this time we have also managed to support vulnerable people and their pets through these strange times with our Pet Foodbank.
“We have kept open to provide shelter for lost animals so they could be reunited and find homes for those who sadly had to be given up by their owners.
“We continue to provide veterinary care, a warm bed, and a full tummy. All of this can only be done with the support of the local community.”
A special bear was also seen walking around Aberdeen yesterday raising money for a good cause.
A team from Friends of the Neuro Ward completed a 15-mile route around Aberdeen as part of the Kiltwalk – with their mascot, Buddy, leading the way.
Co-chairwoman Shona Gossip said: “It was a lovely day and seeing the response Buddy got really motivated us to keep going.
“Kids were running up to him for photos and high fives, and the grown ups weren’t too shy in asking for a selfie either. People were tooting and waving all the way round, it was great to see something as simple as a giant teddy bear raising a smile.
“As well as raising vital funds for the neuro wards at ARI and Woodend, the Kiltwalk helped us boost the profile of Friends of the Neuro Ward which is just as important for our future successes.”
Members of the Findhorn Foundation took part in the Kiltwalk to raise money to rebuild after their sanctuary and community centre were destroyed by a fire earlier this month.
They walk around the Foundation, to Cluny Hill and along the Findhorn River in three different “pilgrimages.”
In typical Foundation style, the walkers scattered a small amount of their sanctuary ashes into the River Findhorn before collecting some of the water to take back to the park.
Fundraisers for Keiran’s Legacy found a unique way to celebrate the Kiltwalk.
Vaccination nurses boogied their way to raising more than £5,000 to fund defibrillators across the north-east of Scotland.
Walkers will also be out in Moray today on behalf of the charity, which was formed in the memory of Keiran McKandie.
The charity added: “Another beautiful day for our kiltwalkers supporting Keirans Legacy.
“Yesterday they were supporting us across Moray and beyond, stunning scenery and amazing support.
“If you want to support Keiran Mckandie continue to save lives then you can share, like, and comment on our posts and spread awareness of how this young man is saving lives.
Almost £3,ooo has been raised for Abbie’s Sparkle Foundation through a variety of different activities, including 20 mile cycles, golfing and dog walks.
The Elgin-based charity has helped 500 children across Scotland who suffered from cancer to help put a smile on their face.
Other north-east charities taking part include Clan, Charlie House and CFINE.
One more unusual Kiltwalk was showcased by Owen Hope, an Inverness student who is currently living in St Andrews.
He walked along a slackline between the Rock and Spindle rock formations near St Andrews for 30m- a death-defying act.
The daredevil is raising money for SNAP in Inverness, where he used to volunteer.
He first thought of using his sport to raise money when he noticed that people were really interested in what he was doing when he was out and about, practising either on his slackline or setting up the more involved highline.
Mr Hope added: “I was so aware of the sheer volume of people who would stop to chat to me because I was doing something unusual. I think people want to see something different.”