Scotland

Alzheimer's trek: 'I set out from home 10 months ago'

Karen Penny on her journey Image copyright Karen Penny
Image caption Karen Penny will cover around 20,000 miles on foot

A woman attempting to walk around the entire coastline of the UK and Ireland has arrived in Glasgow.

Karen Penny, 54, from Pennard in South Wales, is 10 months into a four-year charity trek for Alzheimer's Research UK.

The former legal professional aims to raise £100,000 and more awareness of the disease.

She lost both her parents-in-law to vascular dementia and Alzheimer's.

She witnessed the effects over a 10-year-period on not just the person living with the illness but "on the families who try their best to cope in difficult circumstances".

'We witnessed first-hand the effects'

Ms Penny, who walked from John O'Groats to Lands End in 2018, believes she will be the first woman to walk around the coastline continuously.

She said the challenge had allowed her to combine her love of walking and desire to do her best to make a difference.

She has already raised over £45,000 for the research charity. She aims to walk about 15 miles (24km) each day and sometimes manages 20 miles.

Ms Penny has already covered 5,000 miles and estimates the total journey will be more than 20,000 miles (32,000km).

Image copyright Karen Penny
Image caption Her journey through the Western Isles took her to Borve on Harris

'I've slept in bird hides, barns and castles'

Since arriving in Scotland in August, she has been to islands including Mull, Skye and the Outer Hebrides, often sleeping outside in a tent she carries on her back.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, Ms Penny said: "You never know where you're going to be, you never know where you're going to end up.

"People are kind and they really want to do the very best they can to help you on your journey.

"It's a very, very humbling experience."

She said the support on social media and from those around her keeps her going on the journey.

Image copyright Karen Penny
Image caption Ms Penny has been documenting her journey and the characters she meets on social media
Image copyright Karen Penny
Image caption Ms Penny took this photograph of a sunset on the Isle of Coll
Image copyright Karen Penny
Image caption She captured this photo on the Isle of Mull

She aims to finish her journey by January 2023.

Her next destination is Alexandria via the Erskine Bridge.

Although she is missed by her loved ones, she said the most important thing for her to remember is that she is doing this for husband's parents.

She said: "Every day I get up and think if today is half as good as yesterday then it is just going to be a superb day.

"Every single day has been fantastic and it has been because of the people you meet en route."