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Shaken dad says he was hit by car on the NC500 by ‘woman looking into my eyes with a blank stare’

Andrew Feeney was hit by a car on the A835 north of Ullapool at around 2.45pm.
Andrew Feeney was hit by a car on the A835 north of Ullapool at around 2.45pm.

An activist raising awareness for men’s mental health after his own breakdown has claimed he was hit by a car on the A835 Ullapool to Altguish road.

37-year-old Andrew Feeney is in the midst of a mammoth hike – taking on the 516-mile North Coast 500 (NC500) route on foot.

Dad to ten-week old baby boy Connagh, Mr Feeney discovered his passion for walking after he was discharged from a mental health facility in 2018 following the loss of seven family members and a baby.

Andrew Feeney discovered his passion for walking after he was discharged from a mental health unit.

At the time Mr Feeney relied on drugs and alcohol to self medicate – but is now at the beck and call of anyone at “crisis point” as a support worker for his own service – Andrew’s Journey.

Walking the popular NC500 route to raise awareness for men’s mental health, Mr Feeney’s hike took a frightening turn when he says he was hit by a car, leaving him painfully injured.

Beginning in Ullapool on Wednesday morning, Mr Feeney had already been walking for more than 10 miles when a woman with a “blank stare” allegedly drove directly into him.

Andrew Feeney.

“I saw four cars coming towards me, the first three cars moved out in good time and the fourth of the cars veered to the left and as I looked at the driver and went to throw my hand up to say ‘excuse me’ she hit me,” he said.

“Then she pulled back onto the road and accelerated to catch up to the third vehicle.

“I was on the phone to my aunty at the time and she heard the clatter and me screaming out at the same time and she thought something serious had happened.”

‘She was looking into my eyes’

Mr Feeney says that the incident has given him a “wee shake” and claims the car sped off when he tried to flag it down.

He said: “The driver was fully aware she hit me, the bang from the wing mirror – it was quite a snap back.

“The woman was looking into my eyes, it was very very scary.

“It was just a blank stare from a face with a dotey look. It has given me a wee shake.”

Shocked, Mr Feeney turned round in attempts of flagging down the driver who had just hit him, but the car sped off.

“I have walked thousands of miles and have had people not giving me space but for someone to actually look at me with their car coming towards me at the same time, it was scary,” he said.

Police statement

In a statement, police said: “Police received report of a minor crash involving a man and a car on the A835 north of Ullapool around 2.45pm on Wednesday, 11 August, 2021.

“The man was taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness for treatment for a hand injury and was later discharged. Enquiries into the incident are ongoing.”

Left shaken, Mr Feeney has some painful bruising in his swollen hand but is determined to finish his mammoth hike north to John O’ Groats.

Previously a mobile mechanic, Mr Feeney said: “I was at my worst in 2018 and in 2019 I was trying to recover myself and started walking.

Mr Feeney is now dad to 10-week-old Connagh.

“It’s brought something good from bad and I now work in mental health full time. It’s my calling.

“The page Andrew’s Journey started with me walking from Glasgow to Lands End to try and break through the taboo that ‘it is OK not to feel OK’ and that it is OK to talk.

“If you have a dam and you put too much pressure behind it, eventually there is going to be a crack and that dam is going to give way.

“For me that overflow came in 2018 when I couldn’t deal with everything anymore.

‘I lost seven family members and a baby’

“I had just lost seven members of my family and was told I had lost a baby, my relationship had suffered and it was just one thing after another.

“That’s when I started walking and now I keep walking to reach that one man or that one person that is struggling and who feels that they have no one to talk to and I keep reaching that one person time and time again.

“So I am just going to keep doing what I do and helping as many people as I can along the way.

“The news went on about the pandemic and to me there was a silent pandemic long before Covid came along.

“Covid has come so we have come up with masks and a vaccine but suicide is still killing people and if it takes a 6ft man covered from the finger tips with tattoos and a beard to walk round the whole of the UK to raise awareness for it then I’ll happily do it time and time again.”

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