An Australian cricketer who embarked on a massive trek to inspire others with diabetes has completed her challenge with a game of golf in Aberdeen.
Eliza Bartlett, 27, spent six months traversing Europe and raised more than £30,000 to help charity JDRF fight the condition in doing so.
The sportswoman, who is captain of Sturt Cricket Club in Adelaide, has lived with type one diabetes since childhood and wanted to prove that it “shouldn’t define who you are” as she crossed 2,600 miles on the epic journey.
Miss Bartlett’s 177-day odyssey began in Brindisi, Italy, in April and she notched up about 18 miles a day taking in France, Switzerland, England and Scotland.
She reached the finishing point in the north-east, and teed off at Aberdeen Royal GolfPre Club yesterday to celebrate the end of her superhuman effort.
The Australian grade cricketer said: “One of the hardest times along my journey was the beginning as I ran out of food and would arrive in rural villages where the shops were closed.
“I had to spend almost three days eating nothing but muesli bars.
“But I have met some truly inspiring people along my journey and seen some spectacular sights.
“I wanted to show that you should never let a disease define who you are, or what you can achieve.
““I told myself at nine I could do anything, and I think if nine-year-old me saw me now, she would be proud.”
Pushing through blisters and language barriers and fighting past hunger and loneliness, Ms Bartlett battled her condition all the way.
She was diagnosed with type one diabetes at the age of nine, and has spent the past 18 years having to monitor everything she eats or drinks.
Because of the daily needs of the disease, which requires 24-hour attention, half of her hiking backpack was filled with medical supplies.
That left only enough room for one change of clothes, two pairs of socks and two pairs of underwear.
Many families along the way were inspired by her journey and offered her accommodation and supplies.
But giving hope to her fellow sufferers is nothing new to Miss Bartlett, who braved a 500-mile trek across Australia in 2013 which resulted in her tearing tendons in both her legs and requiring surgery.
She said: “This summer I wanted to do something bigger than last time, I wanted to push myself further than I had before and I thought this would get people talking about diabetes.”
The wicketkeeper-batter hopes to write about her journey in a children’s book, “to inspire youngsters with type one diabetes”.