A MAUCHLINE man who was previously shielding during lockdown has walked an impressive 21 miles as part of the Virtual Kiltwalk this weekend to raise vital funds for Whiteleys Retreat in Ayr.

Dave Ferguson, 73, has been volunteering at Whiteleys for two years.

After missing out on the chance to take part in the Glasgow Kiltwalk for a second year, Dave was determined to take the Big Stroll through the towns and villages of East Ayrshire to help a cause close to his heart.

After initially aiming for 15 miles, Dave powered on and crossed the virtual finish line in just under seven hours – completing 41,956 steps on a journey which took him from Mauchline to Tarbolton then on to Catrine and back.

The local man has since raised £500 for the charity, although he hopes to reach his £750 target by next week.

Cumnock Chronicle: Dave reached Tarbolton in good time.Dave reached Tarbolton in good time.

Dave said: “I was under the impression you had to wear a full kilt for the Kiltwalk but you just had to wear some tartan – thank god as my kilt is heavy duty and I couldn’t do five yards in it.

“I walk with my friend Mondays and Fridays so I got some training in beforehand but on Friday morning the forecast looked positive so I just decided to go for it. I set off at 7am and walked until my heart’s content.

“I was trying to do it in a reasonable time but when it was time to head back, I was still feeling fresh so I went out towards Sorn and Galston to try and add more on to it.

“I kept a good pace although I felt a bit stiff the next morning.”

Dave, originally from New Cumnock, joked that he had hoped to follow in fellow New-Cumnockian Tom Hunter’s footsteps and “make thousands” but that he is grateful for every donation.

He praises Whiteleys for helping so many local families.

Dave continued: “When I retired at 68, I decided I want to put something back into the community. My friend Bernie then introduced me to Whiteleys. Whatever you do, whether it’s gardening or window-cleaning, Maxine and her team are so extremely grateful and appreciative.

“The big thing with Whiteleys is that all the money earned goes towards the operational side of things so no salaries or expenses are deducted. Whatever you make goes towards the key element of looking after families.

“Volunteers clean the houses, sterilise work surfaces and change bedding. It’s great we can work together to make a difference.

“People I didn’t even know made a donation so it was fantastic.”

If you would like to donate, visit https://glasgowkiltwalk2020.everydayhero.com/uk/david-50

Cumnock Chronicle: The local man finishing up in Catrine.The local man finishing up in Catrine.