NW Week

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

With his dog, this kilted Scotsman walked 8,000 kilometers across Canada

man walked 8,000 kilometers with his dog

Key Takeaways:

  • On Sunday, a Scotsman in a kilt and his dog finished an 8,000-kilometer fundraising walk across Canada by striding into an icy breeze atop Cape Spear on the eastern edge of Newfoundland.
  • Michael Yellowlees and his Alaskan husky, Luna, began their journey nine months ago in Tofino, British Columbia.

“I’m pretty pumped, but I can’t believe it’s over,” he said as he approached the finish line along the coast, where the temperature was a brisk -2 C. “It’ll take a few days to sink in.”

Yellowlees, from Dunkeld and Birnam in Scotland, set out on the epic journey to raise funds for a conservation group that wants to plant trees in the Scottish Highlands to revitalize the Caledonian Forest.

The 32-year-old Highlander wore a kilt every day of the trip, including snowstorms in the Rockies and cold rain in Newfoundland, and raised more than $60,000 for the Trees for Life charity.

“Once you’re moving, you stay warm enough as long as your core is warm and you’re wearing enough layers,” he explained in an earlier interview. “We’re sticking with it. It’s been all kilt the whole time.”

man walked 8,000 kilometers with his dog
A man walked 8,000 kilometers with his dog; Image from Edmonton Sun

When asked why he chose to walk across Canada, he explained that he wanted to draw attention to the country’s vast forests, which contrast sharply with the largely treeless Highlands.

During a break on Saturday afternoon, he said, “It’s quite a barren, sad-looking landscape.” “That is not how it should appear. It used to be that the entire country was forested from coast to coast.” He claimed that the pine forests were cleared long ago for shipbuilding and to fuel the expansion of the British Empire. Thousands of Highland Scots also emigrated to Canada during the Highland Clearances, which occurred from 1780 to 1860, and saw farmers evicted to make way for sheep.

Some of those immigrants’ descendants still live in Cape Breton, where the abundance of Gaelic place-names struck Yellowlees.

“The further east I went, the more at home I felt,” he explained. “People would stop their cars, and I’d get in, and they’d speak Gaelic to me. There is common ancestry.”

Yellowlees said his companion Luna, a former sled dog, handled the journey well. “They’re bred to travel long distances. For a dog like Luna, the distance we travel each day is insignificant. She’s been fantastic.”

Source: CTV News

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