Way to go – Michael needs help with cross-Scotland charity hike

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Grandad Michael Anderson, who is deaf and blind, is 
looking for help to complete an incredible cross-Scotland charity challenge next month.

Michael (75), vice-chair of Deafblind Scotland based in Lenzie, is walking 210 miles across Scotland, from Iona in the west coast islands, to St Andrews on the east coast.

He hopes to complete “Michael’s Way” in three weeks with the aim of raising £15,000 to go towards 
The Field of Dreams. a new learning and development centre for deafblind people at Lenzie

The extraordinary pensioner needs volunteer guides to aid him during his journey.

Michael, from Larbert will be accompanied by his daughter Fiona and daughter-in-law Nina, as well as others who have come forward. But he has gaps in his plans.

The schedule is: May 5-9 Crossing Mull; May 9-11 – Oban to Bridge of Orchy; May 12-13 – Bridge of Orchy to Killin; May 14-15 Killin to Amulree; May 16-17 Amulree to Perth; May 18 Perth to Newburgh, May 19-20 Newburgh to Newport and May 21-22 Newport to St Andrews.

This challenge would test serious athletes half his age - but Michael is no stranger to amazing feats.

Five years ago the father-of-three became the first deaf and fully blind climber to reach the summit of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis – on his 70th birthday.

Michael’s daughter-in-law Nina said: “We chose to call this challenge Michael’s Way because it highlights that despite his disability – Michael has dual sensory impairment and cannot see at all and has limited hearing – it is possible to live an active life and enjoy the outdoors.”

“But, he has to do things Michael’s way. For instance, he relies on a guide to show him the way, taking cues from the guide’s movements and feedback about the terrain.”

“He will be pitching his own tent, Michael’s way by relying on his sense of touch to assemble the tent.”

Michael has no vision at all and hears with the help of two strong hearing aids. This means that he relies entirely on sensory feedback to go about his day-to-day life.

Eventually his hearing will deteriorate completely and the only way to communicate will be via deafblind manual alphabet. He walks with a white cane so it is vital to have guides.

If you can help, contact Nina at Nina.Smirnoff@gmail.com