Drama on the latest stage of the “Epic Trek”!

On Sunday 13th September, Mione, Sherlock, Frodo and Avatar set off on the next stage of their epic trek accompanied by young volunteer Sophia and Mione’s 11 year old grandson, Shaun. This stage was from Acharn to Aberfeldy, around 9.5 miles.  The adventurers set off around lunchtime, the weather was good, scenery stunning and all was going well.  That is, until about 3 miles before Aberfeldy.  With Mione’s daughter Cathy en route to collect them all at the end of the journey, Mione sent a text to say she thought they had gone wrong and were going to have to backtrack a wee bit.  The team had come up against a brand new deer fence with no way to cross, so diverted along the fence, hoping to find a gate, which they did, but it was padlocked! Darkness was starting to fall when Cathy arrived in Aberfeldy, and the team were no closer to finding their way out…by this time they were lost in a boggy forest, completely disorientated and increasingly worried.  By asking locals where the trail SHOULD have come into Aberfeldy, Cathy eventually made her way up a tiny track on the mountain in the Roost’s 4×4 to the gate which marked the place they should have been.  She left the car and walked up the trail, shouting all the time, but no answering shouts from the trekkers.  Luckily they had phone signal so could communicate that way, but Mione could not see anything to indicate where they were, or where they should be going, and by now darkness had well and truly fallen.  11 year old Shaun was calling his mum telling her he was frightened, and all Cathy could do was promise she’d find him soon and he would be ok.  Afraid to go any further into the wilderness in the dark and risk getting lost herself, Cathy returned to the car to find a local man waiting there, who had seen the 4×4 passing his remote house on the way up the mountain and come to see what was going on.  Scared and upset now, Cathy explained the situation, and the wonderful man immediately contacted a friend and his wife, and the 4 set out in different directions to try to locate the missing party, one up the mountain and 2 via the farm roads to attempt to locate them that way.  Mione and the team were now lost in pitch black, in a huge patch of bracken which towered over their heads, and both people and dogs were getting more and more exhausted.  Constantly blowing their emergency whistle, at long last they heard an answering shout in the distance…the neighbour had found them!!!  But it was not over yet.  He made his way to the exhausted trekkers , only to find they were at the wrong side of yet another huge deer fence and could not get through!  He led them further along the fence, passed yet another padlocked gate, and eventually, after a nearly impossible climb over a huge stile (poor dogs had to be manhandled over, Mione not much better!), a torturous scramble over felled trees and forestry debris and a horrific climb up a muddy cliff, the lost souls made it out to be met by an incredibly relieved (and rather emotional!) Cathy and the other searchers!  All 3 were shattered, and poor Mione in quite a bit of pain after the arduous, frightening and much longer than intended journey, but they were safe!   The wonderful brave blind dogs had been understandably confused and nervous through the past few hours of rough terrain, and were very pleased indeed to be out and in the car for the journey home!  Thank goodness for the wonderful, kind locals, and we would all like to thank them from the bottom of our hearts…without them, the story could have had a very different ending….

Please please support their trek if you can by donating here: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/blinddogs …I’m sure you will agree, they have most definitely earned it!