Barrel challenge is no match for Big Davy

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Big Davy Ballantyne has completed his latest herculean challenge and in doing so is well on his way to raising more than £20,000 for the Samaritans.

He reached the finish line of his 70-mile challenge of walking the entire Arran Coastal Way with a 50kg (8st) whisky barrel strapped to his back in just 16 days.

He took on the challenge to raise money and awareness of the Samaritans who are finding their services under severe pressure at these difficult times. At the time of going to press Davy had raised £15,380 on his JustGiving page. In addition, workers at the whisky makers Grants have donated £3,000 and the Lagg whisky barrel he carried is to be auctioned at the next dinner of the Isle of Arran Distillers White Stag Community.

Afterwards Davy posted on Facebook: ‘I would like to thank everyone for their kind words, support and donations. Your enthusiasm has helped me greatly and I am proud of your generosity. Your support from all over the planet was great. My deepest thanks go to Fraser and to my wife Lies for putting this challenge on the internet, I don’t even own a mobile phone and the coverage would have been beyond me.

‘All I would say now I look after yourself and others. It’s been a pleasure. Love and happiness, Big Davy.’

In last week’s Banner we left Davy in Lamlash. Here he takes up the story of the final days.

Day 14

Start the day in Lamlash. Weather was kind to us. Still tired from yesterday though and the barrel was heavy.

Tried to take the wooden walkway but due to too many overhanging branches we had to go back down to the beach. Decided to go up through the Viking fort then back down to the beach again. Good of the people at The Shore, Whiting Bay to leave us out a cold beer.

Day 15

Whiting Bay to Porta Leacach. Good day but very windy. The wind blew me over at one point so we had to come off the beach, up a very steep track onto the main road. We met two kind guys from the Arran MCC who offered us a dram and gave us a very kind donation, so thank you Arran MCC.

We carried on to Porta Leacach where we will start from tomorrow morning. Look forward to finishing tomorrow afternoon.

Day 16

Kildonan. So close, the finish line is in sight. Never been so glad to see the Boathouse again. Time for a rest and a dram now.

There is still time to donate, visit www.justgiving/com/fundraising/davy-ballantyne3

All photos by Fraser Aitchison