Greyfriar’s Bobby is perhaps the most famous Scottish canine sidekick; for 14 years the devoted Skye Terrier sat by the grave of his owner to protect him from harm.
Every year, thousands of visitors flock to the streets of Edinburgh to see the grave in the Greyfriars Kirk where the wee doggie sat and to have their photo taken by the grade A listed building (statue) that stands in the street still watching over his owner.
The love, partnership and devotion between a dog and its owner, so greatly exemplified in the tale of Bobby, is demonstrated every single day by the unique bond that a guide dog and its owner have.
To this end, there is another tale of devotion and kinship that is about to be woven in our humble wee country: Another canine that should be across the lips of many Scottish people for years to come.
We introduce to you to the story of the guide dog Travis and his owner Scott Cunningham; Scotland’s very own long distance trek charity fundraisers!
Having completed four long distance treks already spanning the length and breadth of the UK, each one a first to be completed by a guide dog and its owner, this year’s charity walk is one with a difference.
Travis and Scott will combine their love of walking with another one of Scott’s passions in life; Glasgow Rangers Football Club.
Trekking the West Highland Way, north to south, the pair will bypass the traditional finishing point in Milngavie and continue on to Glasgow’s South Side, finishing the walk at the home of Rangers, Ibrox Stadium.
Not only that, but the intrepid pair will be joined by many legends of Glasgow Rangers, including such fine servants of the club as Arthur Numan, Mark Hately, Andy Goram and Terry Hurlock. Never fear though, some of the Queens finest Royal Marine Commando’s will also be there to make sure there’s no slacking to hear too many football anecdotes.
The walk will kick off from Fort William on Saturday 4th April and end seven days later at the home of Scott’s beloved team. The Trek is no small affair, with each days walking covering at least 12 miles, sometimes more!
That’s tough going by anyone’s standards—although I suppose Travis has a head start, he has twice as many legs.
The aim of TravisTrek 5 is to raise money for Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, the charity for which Travis and Scott have raised over £60,000 for to date.
The nation’s media are behind Scott and Travis too. The pair have appeared alongside celebrities on GMTV, as well as being featured in The Sun newspaper and on Rangers TV, getting as much coverage for the walk as possible and generating some celeb supporters along the way, including the dream-maker himself, Sir Jimmy Saville!
Alongside the fundraising, Scott has a very personal reason for doing these walks. He wants to inspire blind people like himself to take life’s challenges head on and live life to the full.
From mammoth tasks like trekking the nation’s long distance walks, to everyday tasks that most of us take for granted.
Scott’s life changed in 1993, when he was diagnosed with the rare eye condition, Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy or LHON for short. Employed as a forklift driver for Royal Mail, Scott’s eyesight deteriorated fast and he had lost his vision within three weeks of diagnosis.
This rapid change of pace in his life was a shock to the system, taking Scott a while to adjust to his new life, and the changes that came with it.
His confidence had taken a knock and he became very withdrawn, until he visited the charity Guide Dogs for the Blind and was partnered with his first guide dog, Ike. Taking on a new hobby of hill walking, Ike and Scott became very active until Ike reached the end of his life as a guide dog and retired, at which point Scott was partnered with Travis.
Young, fit and full of enthusiasm, Travis was perfect for furthering Scott’s passion for walking, and the pair of them soon undertook the West Highland Way for the first time, conquering it and giving them a taste for success.
They have since went on to do the Penine Way and have raised awareness and cash wherever they have went. They are a testament to themselves and to us all; Rangers in the truest sense of the word.
If you want to get involved in TravisTrek5, and walk amongst the bygone stars of Rangers Football club then get registered on www.justgiving.com/legendstrek and get sponsored!
RangersMedia are hoping to be represented at the walk, so if you wish to do one of the days walks with us, then drop any member of staff a message and we’ll fill you in with all of the details.
Also, keep your eyes open for more information and articles about the trekking duo in the next few weeks as we build up to the event.
If you can’t make the Trek and still wish to help, then why not make a donation to the charity using the link provided.
Every penny counts and will go to help giving someone else their life back if they are visually impaired. Scott and Travis are a fantastic example of what can be achieved and we should be inspired by their outlook on life.
Scottish treasure Greyfriars Bobby stood by his owner for 14 years after he was gone, showing the kinship and love that’s possible between one man and his dog. By raising money for Guide Dogs for the Blind, we can help ensure that many blind people can have these life-giving partnerships with dogs all across the country.
For more details you can go to the Trek website to read all about how to get your boots on! http://www.travistrek.org.uk/join.html