Piper gives charity walkers a Highland send-off
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
A FATHER and daughter team were given a proper Scottish bagpipe send-off as they began a nine-day charity hike across the West Highland Way.
When Alan and Sarah Morton chose to complete their trek together, close friend and piper Angus Forsyth stepped in to make their send off a truly memorable one.
He played two laments as the pair set off from their home across the Demesnes, in Barnard Castle, before driving by car to Glasgow. The following day they began their 96-mile hike in West Scotland.
The idea for the trek came about when Ms Morton decided to complete 30 milestone challenges before her 30th birthday, one of which was a holiday alone with her dad. The pair had previous completed St Cuthbert’s Way in August 2018 during which they raised about £500 for the charity Mind.
Cash raised during their latest adventure will go to the blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan. Mr Morton said: “We chose Anthony Nolan because a good friend is battling leukaemia, thankfully he is doing so successfully and is in remission. So far, so good.”
Their trek across Scotland included one night of wild camping.
The former teacher said one of the laments played by Mr Forsyth was particularly appropriate because it is named for some of the hills they were to pass over during their trip. Mr Forsyth said: “He told me he was off [on this journey] and I thought he ought to have a Scottish send off.”
The 76-year-old learned the bagpipes at 14 and was inspired to do so after seeing the Black Watch during a military tattoo at New York’s Maddison Square Gardens.
He said: “I’d never heard the bagpipes before then. I thought forget the recorder, forget the piano, which I was never very good at, I want to learn the bagpipes.
Two years later, while in Edinburgh, he seized the opportunity to learn for free by joining the school band. Although he has never played in a formal band, he does play at New Year, birthdays and funerals. Mr Forsyth said: “I haven’t done a wedding yet, but I do the odd one like this to mark the occasion.”
Before they had even set off the father and daughter team had already raised more than £700 towards their £1,000 fundraising target.
As of last week, they were just £55 short.
People who want to support them can visit justgiving.com/fundraising/alanandsarahmorton.