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Meet Our Supporters: Connor and his Kilt take on the West Highland Way!

Meet Our Supporters: Connor and his Kilt take on the West Highland Way!

02nd May, 2024

Our wonderful supporter Connor has just returned from completing the West Highland Way – wearing a kilt all the way!


Connor’s fundraiser has raised nearly £1000 in support of our volunteer teams, for which we are incredibly grateful.
Read on to hear all about Connor’s novel journey and why he chose to take on this challenge for Scottish Mountain Rescue.

Image: Connor at the official start of the West Highland Way in Milngavie

Connor writes:

My name is Connor McLean, I am 28 years old and I work as a mechanic. I enjoy hiking, cycling and conquering Munros and generally exploring Scotland in my campervan when I get the chance. I am also a member of the MBA (Mountain Bothies Association) as I stay in them often during my adventures and find them invaluable when looking for some shelter from the elements. In fact, I actually stayed for one night at Rowchoish Bothy on Loch Lomond during my walk. I have always been interested in any outdoor activity especially in the beautiful country that we live.

Image: The second night, staying at Rowchoish Bothy

I decided to fundraise for Scottish Mountain Rescue as I am regularly up in the Highlands and in the general areas where you operate. Thankfully, I have never had to use your services but have often seen you hard at work ensuring people are kept safe. During my walk, I saw the Killin MRT operating around the Crianlarich hills area which gave me a feeling of both reassurance and pride knowing I was out raising money to help them operate and at the same time aware that help, if required, is nearby.

Image: Conic Hill looking over Loch Lomond

For my challenge, I hiked the 100 mile West Highland Way in true Scotsman style wearing my kilt the entire length of my walk. My journey started at Milngavie on the morning of 31st March and ended at Fort William walking through places like Loch Lomond, Tyndrum and Kinlochleven. I also wild camped, pitching up my small tent along the way. My rucksack weighed around 20kg and I must admit, carrying that weight over uneven ground was difficult however, the walk was amazing as you would expect. Just being able to embrace nature and take in the memorable views along the way is something that will stay with me forever. The weather was on our side for the most part but it is Scotland so I did have all four seasons in one day. There was rain, hail and even some snow one day which I am not going to lie, it did get a bit chilly! However, I pushed on knowing what I was going to achieve was for a great cause. It also helped me knowing I had the support from family and friends and everyone involved at SMR.

Image: Snow on the Devil’s Staircase

I have previously completed the West Highland Way in 2022 and 2023. I decided this time it would be a good idea to raise money for the charity but I wanted to do it differently so I decided to do it in my kilt. As I previously mentioned, I enjoy cycling and hiking and generally try to keep myself fit but I think knowing what to expect on the walk was definitely an advantage for me.

I think one of the hardest parts of my fundraiser was at the top of Conic Hill near Balmaha. That particular day It was extremely windy at the top which wasn’t great considering I was wearing my kilt true Scotsman style! You can imagine how that went as it was a busy day on the hill! As for the most rewarding part of my journey, that must be getting to the finish line at Fort William when I entered the pub completely exhausted and ordered a pint knowing that the challenge was complete. It was like at the end of that classic movie, Ice Cold in Alex but more like Ice Cold in Wetherspoons!

Image: Official finish of the West Highland Way

I was not even back from my walk for a week when I decided to go on another adventure the following weekend. I have been back out on a couple of hikes and have lots of Munros trips marked on my calendar for this summer. For next year, I am now looking into the Cape Wrath trail which is an epic 230 miles hike starting from Fort William and finishing at the most northerly part of Scotland at Cape Wrath.

You can keep up with Connor’s adventures and see more of his journey on the West Highland Way on his instagram: @connormclean95 and tiktok: connormcl7.

On behalf of our 25 member teams and their 850 volunteers, thank you Connor! We are so grateful for your incredible fundraising effort, which will equip our volunteers with all of the training, equipment and support they need to save lives in Scotland’s outdoors.

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