Childhood friends to take on West Highland Way

Morag and Ishbel – pictured with Morag’s dog Saorsa – are set to take on the West Highland Way for charity next week.

Childhood friends Ishbel MacIver and Morag MacLennan are set to take on the West Highland Way to raise money for two vital Western Isles charities.

Stornoway hospital nurse Ishbel and Morag, who is a secretary at Sgoil na Pairc in Gravir have been good friends for more than 50 years since their school days in South Lochs, in Lewis. 

Next week the pair will embark on a lifelong goal of conquering the West Highland Way route to raise money for Hebridean Men’s Cancer Support Group and the Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative.

Speaking to the Free Press ahead of their charity endeavour, Ishbel said: “I didn’t want to do this on my own, but I was determined to do it, so I phoned a friend, and Morag said she would do it.

“We have been out walking since then, so it has been great. We have decided to put up the JustGiving page recently, but it is fine as we have been getting donations.

“My target was £500 but we have got close to £1,000.”

“We are going to leave it open for a few weeks to get more donations.”

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In January 2021, Ishbel’s brother Norman Nicolson (known as Flash) passed away after a short battle with cancer.

The short timeline of his illness meant he had few opportunities to access support from groups on the island who work relentlessly to help and encourage those facing the reality of life with cancer

Touching on her brother, she said: “My brother was 11 months older than me, so he was just 62 when he died. He had oesophageal cancer, that’s why I wanted to do something.

She added: “I wanted to do the West Highland Way for my brother and for it to benefit a charity. And my friend wanted to do it for WICCI.

Casting her eye to the task ahead, she said: “I am a wee bit nervous, but we are going for it anyway.”

“We recently did a 20-mile walk in Stornoway, and that was an awful day. 

“We are going to do it over six days – starting on Tuesday 25th and finishing on Sunday. The worst day will be the second day which will be a 21-mile walk.”

Ishbel said that they had received a lot of encouragement from the local community during their training.

She said: “We meet a 93-year-old lady in Marvig most days when we go on our walks, and she comes out to greet us with cream cakes. She said that we are quite right for doing it and that she would love to have done it too!”

“She has been very good at supporting us.”

To donate to Ishbel and Morag’s fundraiser, click here.

Article by Adam Gordon.

Photo courtesy of Ishbel MacIver