SOMETIMES up to his knees in mud and with rain sheeting in from the west, a man trekked 28 miles across mountainous Scottish wilderness to reach Britain’s most remote pub.
Peter Seyderhelm chose to spend his 50th birthday at The Old Forge at Inverie, western Scotland, a pub so remote that it is normally accessed only by boat from Mallaig.
He was walking for Ovarian Cancer Action, a charity supported by himself and his wife Amanda after she recovered from the disease.
He has so far raised £3,000 from his efforts.
Peter, of Danegeld Place, Stamford, a chartered accountant and consultant on corporate governance and risk management, said this week that although the walk was much tougher than he had expected, he had thoroughly enjoyed it.
“It was damned hard and definitely a step up from anything I had ever done before,” he said.
“The ground was very boggy, much wetter than I expected and whereas I had thought to use the time for pleasant reflection, in practice I had to concentrate really hard on the difficult terrain.”
As he was alone for the walk he had planned it carefully and, as well as being highly visible and well supplied, the local rangers, The Old Forge and the charity were well aware of his endeavour.
“I didn’t see many souls, maybe five or six people out on the hills over the two days,” he said.
He travelled by train to Glenfinnan and walked 12 miles on day one. He stayed the night in a stone bothy, a basic shelter with no electricity.
“It had two rooms and a French couple were in the other room,” he said.
“When I got there I found some kindling to get a fire going to dry my feet out.
“I fetched water from a stream and cooked supper over my gas fire and slept on the floor in a sleeping bag.”
The next day was his birthday and it got off to a good start.
“The French couple, who were going in the other direction, offered me some foie gras as a treat.”
He signed a guest book in the bothy and later in the day a couple, who must have seen the entry, surreally shouted Happy Birthday to him from about half a mile away.
The second day’s walk was 16 miles and was much harder.
“It was low cloud and quite nasty, squally rain at times. I also had a very difficult climb of 2,000 feet over a high mountain pass with the rain coming in horizontally.”
Peter lost his footing on a couple of occasions and sank to his knees in mud but managed to haul himself out using the tough grass. Some of the tracks were more like waterfalls. He just made it to the pub in daylight.
“The first pint didn’t even touch the sides and the second probably took me three and a half seconds,” he said.
“The pub turned out to be surprisingly lively with about 50 people by the end of the evening and it proved quite a jolly party with people playing the fiddle and guitar.”
He slept well in a nearby bunkhouse before travelling home by ferry and train the next day,
“I’ve been inspired by it and am grateful and humbled by people’s generosity and support,” he said.
His wife Amanda, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2002 and finally given the all-clear last year, said she was very proud of her husband.
“The money will go directly to funding research into finding a cure,” she said.
“Ovarian cancer doesn’t get much attention but 6,500 women are diagnosed with it every year and the survival rate is low at 30 per cent.
“So anything we can do is going to help.”
You can still donate to Peter’s total on www.justgiving.com/awalktothepub or see www.ovarian.org.uk for information on the charity.