'It's going to take me a good wee while': Scottish man walking across Canada for charity
Michael Yellowlees started his fundraising journey across Canada in Tofino, British Columbia: March 5, 2021 (CTV News)
VICTORIA -- Michael Yellowlees is on an epic fundraising journey across Canada and has so far spent much of it walking in the pouring rain. But still, he appears to be enjoying himself.
"It's pretty miserable to be fair, but I'm quite enjoying it to be honest. It's nice to be out getting the wind in your face and a bit of rain," Yellowlees told CTV News Friday. "It's alright, it's not the worst."
Yellowlees is from Dunkeld, Scotland, and has been in Canada for eight months, the last four of which he's spent in Tofino, Vancouver Island. The Scotsman left from there on Monday, March 5, with the ambitious goal of walking 5,000 miles (morre than 8,000 kilometres) across Canada to Newfoundland to raise funds for a charity in his home country called Trees for Life.
"If you visit Scotland now you'll visit the highlands and you'll see they're very barren and very bare and basically what Trees of Life (is) trying to do is restore the Caledonian Pine Forest. I think they're also working to re-introduce species such as lynx and I'm hoping later down the road they might bring back things like wolves," he said.
He's documenting his travels online and has collected $2,500 in his first five days of walking. It's a quest he believes will take him seven to nine months to complete.
"It's going to take me a good wee while. I'm hoping I'm going to manage it before winter comes next year so I'll be walking pretty much for the full year," Yellowlees said.
He says people from back home have made many observations about the similarities between British Columbia and Scotland.
"It's very much like Scotland. I've been walking since Tofino to Port Alberni in the last few days, taking snaps as I go and people back home are commenting it's so similar in your landscape and also your weather right now," he said.
Along with being a gardener and working in the construction trade, Yellowlees was also a fitness instructor, which should help him in his travels. He's anticipating walking 26 miles (42 kilometres) daily, the equivalent of walking a marathon each day.
"I think there's definitely a touch of madness too, isn't there?" he jokes.
He says part of his journey will also be to help Canadians gain a better appreciation for the nature that surrounds us and believes starting out his quest in Tofino was quite fitting.
"It was almost a romantic notion. Tofino is known as the end of the road and so I like the sound of that, leaving from the end of the road," he said.
"But also what I'm doing has a bit of a metaphor to it, in regards to we're kind of at the end of the road in regards to the environment. We need to be doing stuff about this now," he added.
Yellowlees is no stranger to long journeys. He says he walked across India a few years ago on a personal journey and says this time around it's not only personal, but also for the Trees for Life cause.
He won't be alone in his journey. Yellowlees is accompanied by a new companion named Luna who was a former sled dog in Banff.
"She's used to running 100 miles a day with sled dogs so she's finding it quite easy right now, she's just sauntering," he said. "I'm struggling along behind her but she's doing quite well."
Luna in her fur and Yellowlees in his kilt will continue along Canada's roadways, camping as they go. They're inviting the public to follow along and share donations here.