Charity champion completes her 11,000-mile coastal challenge

Long-distance charity walker Karen Penny during her visit to Arran in September 2019. 01_B38Kpenny01

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Long-distance charity walker Karen Penny is set to complete her 11,000-mile coastal walk around the UK and Ireland on World Alzheimer’s Day, Tuesday September 21, in the Shetland Islands.

Walking to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK, Karen will be a familiar face to many on Arran, having visited the island in September 2019 when she scaled Arran’s highest peak, Goatfell.

She also joined more than 200 protesters on a seven-kilometre walk in opposition to a proposed fish farm.

The indomitable Karen has been walking since January 2019, starting from her home in the Gower, South Wales, with the intention of raising funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK after both of her in-laws were affected by different forms of dementia.

Upon reaching the small island of Muckle Flugga in the Shetlands (one of 110 islands that she has walked around as part of her journey), Karen had to return home during the Covid lockdown. She planted a flag where she stopped and vowed to return.

Now returning to complete her challenge, Karen said: ‘I can’t believe that my walk is coming to an end. I was so sad to have to leave the beautiful Shetland Islands last March because of Covid-19 restrictions, and I am now really excited to be returning to Muckle Flugga. I wonder if my Alzheimer’s Research UK flag is still where I left it!

‘The last two and a half years have been wonderful. Although it has sometimes been hard going, I have met so many great people, and heard so many heart-rending stories of the impact of Alzheimer’s disease and the other diseases that cause dementia on families.

‘It has made me all the more determined to do whatever I can to raise awareness and raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK, so that in future families can be spared the fear, harm and heartbreak that so many are currently experiencing.’

Through her JustGiving page at Karen has raised £100,729 from generous donations by supporters and people that she has met over the years while circumnavigating the UK and Irish coastlines.

Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: ‘We are so grateful to Karen for the amazing fundraising and awareness-raising that she has done, with such commitment, since the beginning of 2019.’

For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK call 0300 111 5555 or visit