AN Essex woman will today (Monday) begin her five-day camping hike around the island’s 98 mile coastline.
22-year-old Kelly Diggle has returned to the island after a stint here last year as a wildlife volunteer, and is tackling the challenging trek to raise money for a 10-week community work trip to Zimbabwe in January.
Starting this morning in Peel, Kelly is heading north along the coastline-hugging Raad ny Foillan footpath.
Carrying everything she needs on her back, she aims to set off at daybreak each morning and complete 20 miles before sunset and setting up the evening’s camp.
Carrying cooking equipment with her, Kelly will buy food whenever she passes near enough a shop, along the route that will take her along sandy beaches, rocky cliff tops, lush glens and through towns and villages, with a detailed guide book she hopes will keep her on track.
‘I enjoy the coast,’ said Kelly. ‘Last April I was here working with the Manx Wildlife Trust, and whale and basking shark watch groups.
‘It was good, and bottlenose dolphins are around this time of year, so it would be a bonus to spot any on the walk.’
November seems an odd choice of month to plan a five-day outdoor trip along the island’s windswept coast.
It came about as Kelly was accepted late onto the Zimbabwean development programme, and found herself needing to raise £800 by December 10.
The trip to the Isle of Man was already planned to visit the friends she made last year, so the decision was made to use the Manx trip as a fundraising challenge.
Kelly, who has previously volunteered in Africa as part of a wildlife conservation scheme in Botswana, said:
‘My long distance walk is a way of making sure developing countries can continue to benefit from the work of future volunteers, so it’s vital I reach my £800 target. I have been training hard and getting used to the weight I will be carrying – I’m hoping everyone will give generously as a result of my effort!’
She added: ‘The project I’m working on aims to help people in developing countries gain power over their lives and overcome barriers that keep them poor. This is a unique opportunity to work alongside people from a different culture who have requested help from young volunteers to fight poverty and make a difference where it’s needed most.
‘I’m really excited to get out there.’
To sponsor Kelly or find out more about the project visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/diggledonation.