Dundee Kiltwalk: Cara’s Experience Supporting the Big Carr Gomm Challenge

Woman proudly display Kiltwalk finisher medal.

Discover Cara’s experience of tackling the Kiltwalk Mighty Stride, all in aid of the Big Carr Gomm Challenge.

For the #BigCarrGommChallenge this year, I set myself a target to raise £1,000 through sponsored walks across Scotland. The Big Carr Gomm Challenge is close to my heart as during my time as a support practitioner I saw firsthand the toll that social isolation can take on someone’s mental and physical well-being. For some people I supported, Carr Gomm staff were the only people they could connect with. Initiatives like Men in Shed and the online Sing-A-Longs created a safe space where people we support could have fun and connect with like-minded individuals, boosting their confidence and mental health.

This August I was very excited to take part in The Kiltwalk for the first time. The Kiltwalk is not a race, it’s an event where people of all abilities come together to raise money for their chosen charity. Wearing tartan is optional but strongly encouraged!

Kiltwalkers can choose from different route options, I had chosen the Mighty Stride which was a 20-mile walk from St. Andrews to Dundee. The day kicked off at 08:30 from St Andrew’s West Sands, after a group warm up the pipers started to play and we were ready to cross the start line. I was quite nervous to be walking alone but I quickly felt at ease. Everyone I met was incredibly supportive and it was brilliant to learn about the different causes people were fundraising for.

The route was flat for the most part and took us through greenways and residential areas at first. Plenty of locals and Kilties volunteers were out to cheer us on and offer encouragement. The weather was quite hot (unexpected in Scotland!) and volunteers had plenty of water and refreshments set up for walkers at the pitstops. After a while, we came to the beautiful nature reserve at Tentsmuir. I had never been there before and was blown away by the beautiful forests and beaches. Here the terrain was a little trickier and everyone seemed happy to reach the halfway mark.

As the 15-mile marker loomed morale started to dip, a lot of people were feeling defeated and the temptation to drop out early was strong. In true Scottish fashion, a sing-song broke out. Within a few minutes, dozens of people had joined in and everyone was up on their feet. There was a great community spirit throughout the whole walk. A lot of Kiltwalkers were fundraising in memory of loved ones who had passed.  It was pretty emotional at times but we all banded together.

After Tentsmuir, the route joined up with the Fife Coastal Path which brought us to the scenic Tayport area – at last, the Taybride was in sight! My pace quickened seeing the bridge and I was so eager to be nearing the finish line. I underestimated how long the Taybridge was and those final 1.4 miles felt never-ending! Crossing over the finish line with new friends was a special moment and the atmosphere was electric with plenty of music and dancing. Walkers from the shorter Wee Wander (4.3 miles) joined us to celebrate and everyone had a free meal.

Overall it was a great experience and I can’t wait for next year’s event. To top it off, all Kiltwalkers this year are in the running to win £30,000 credit from Arnold Clarke. My fingers (and toes) are crossed that I will be a winner!

I would like to thank everyone who sponsored my walk – you are the true heroes behind the scenes. So far we’ve raised £724 to support Carr Gomm’s community projects. Thank you!