THE growing popularity of the Kiltwalk charity campaign saw more than 7,200 people take to the streets of Glasgow – helping to boost donations towards the £1 million landmark targeted by organisers for 2017.
The vision of philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter in becoming the country’s biggest mass participation event to fight poverty and ill health took a big step to becoming a reality as people laced-up their walking shoes to go the extra mile for a charity or cause they care about.
And the man who is bringing Barack Obama to Edinburgh next month, has guaranteed that he will add ten per cent to all fundraising at the Kiltwalk this year, giving charities a unique return of 110 per cent.
Sir Tom said: “The real heroes are our wonderful walkers who have been pounding the streets and paths between Glasgow and Loch Lomond in a sea of tartan to change lives for the better.
“Encouraged along the way by our amazing Kiltie Volunteers who help make it such a unique experience for everyone involved, the atmosphere today is nothing short of incredible.
“It’s inspiring and it makes me extremely proud to be Scottish.”
In addition to supporting children’s charities, Kiltwalk 2017 is open to all charities in Scotland.
Anyone walking for Kiltwalk sees their fundraising going to the STV Children’s Appeal.
Leading out Glasgow’s Mighty Stride alongside Sir Tom Hunter was six-year-old Nathan Mowat from Gourock, who suffers from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
The youngster and his mum Gill, along with nine of her friends, walked the Kiltwalk to raise money for Calum’s Cabin.
The 36-year-old mum said: “It was such an honour for Nathan to lead the Glasgow Kiltwalk and get the day underway.
“We walked for Calum’s Cabin as the charity has given us so much support during Nathan’s treatment and helped us create some happy memories during a very difficult time. It’s great to be able to give something back.”
Malcolm Buchanan, chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Scottish board, said: “Thank you and well done to everyone who took part in the Glasgow Kiltwalk.
“It’s inspiring to see so many people coming together to support some great charities that help people in need in Scotland.
“The Royal Bank of Scotland is a proud partner of the Kiltwalk and our CEO Ross McEwan joined colleagues, customers and friends to help raise money for the STV Children’s Appeal.
“We are all looking forward to the Kiltwalk in Aberdeen in June and we would encourage everyone to get their boots on and take part.”
Volunteers also got in on the fundraising action, as for every hour of time they donated, Sir Tom Hunter and the Hunter Foundation will gift £1.10 to each Kiltie’s chosen charity.
Kiltwalk has raised more than £3.5 million for Scottish charitable causes since 2011. Walkers can choose to walk the Mighty Stride – 23 miles – the 15-mile Big Stroll or the Wee Wander – six miles – so people of all ages and abilities can take part.
The remaining Kiltwalks are to take place in Aberdeen on 4 June, Dundee on 20 August and Edinburgh on 17 September.
For the first time ever, the Kiltwalk is open to all charities, so walkers can raise money for any cause close to their hearts.
There are also more reasons than ever before to sign up, as platinum sponsor Arnold Clark has pledged that one lucky Kiltwalker from each of the four 2017 events will win a brand new Renault Clio.
To find out more about the Royal Bank of Scotland Kiltwalk or to sign up for the remaining 2017 Kiltwalks, visit www.thekiltwalk.co.uk.