Big Davy’s challenge is no barrel of laughs

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Big Davy’s round Arran barrel challenge has already raised more than £4,300 for the Samaritans but it is proving tough going.

He has now completed more than half his challenge to walk the entire 70-mile Arran Coastal Way carrying a 50kg (8st) whisky barrel, but injuries and some tough terrain have made it difficult and he will not complete the challenge in the original 10 days as planned, but is still going strong.

Davy is raising money and awareness of the Samaritans who are facing a funding crisis due to the pressure on their services in these most difficult of times.

He has been keeping a daily diary which he is posting on Facebook and here we cover the first six days.

Day 1
Very difficult first day, at the Black Cave. Caught by the tide as well. Had to wait for an hour for the tide to go down. Very slippery and dangerous on the rocks. Had to drag the barrel that bit. Too dangerous to carry it on my back. Had to stop 2 mile short due to a problem with the strap. So, done five mile.

Day 2

Quite a good day. Got from Shannochie to Sliddery. Done about six miles but slowed down having to cross two rivers. Current was quite strong in the second river, and the barrel took in quite a lot of water. Feeling better than yesterday. Looking forward to tomorrow.

Day 3
A good day today. Done about six miles. Got to Blackwaterfoot. Had to go over the road a bit. Right calf muscle is painful due to a little accident two weeks ago, and small injuries are building up. Still looking forward to tomorrow.

Day 4
We had a difficult but good day. The sun was shining. Lots of different terrain to cross, from deep sand to very rocky terrain. Got passed the Kings Caves. Then we got halted by the high tide. Had to wait for a couple of hours, then finally got by.

We can’t go again til Monday. Tomorrow a storm is coming in. I’ll be glad to have a few days rest to let the injuries heal.

After celebrating his 59th birthday, Monday got off to the good start when Big Davy’s barrel challenge was featured on STV’s  Good Morning Scotland programme. Back on the road it was …

Day 5
Feeling better, feeling a bit stronger. Enjoying the pain more, stepping up a gear. Started about a mile before Cosy Den this morning. Which was very rocky, slippy and slow going. Had to go up the track to the main road because of the rivers. Walked over the road to Imachar.

Day 6

Another beautiful day. Everything went great. Enjoyed seeing a family of otters swimming in the sea. Made good progress. Went from Imachar to just beyond Pirnmill. Feeling good for tomorrow. Thanks a lot for the support everyone.


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All photographs by Fraser Aitchison