A LONG distance walker and writer is embarking on his third 1,000km trek in memory of his late wife, Jacqui, and to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
Dermot Breen is tackling the stretch from Castletownbere on the Beara Peninsula to Ballycastle on the North Antrim coast, a journey that will take him five to six weeks to complete. He started on June 20th.
In 2015, Dermot walked the entire Ulster Way around Northern Ireland and in 2016 he walked the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain. He even got a tattoo in memory of his Spanish journey.
In 2017, he took a break from long distance walking to concentrate on writing and has since had two books published charting his physical and emotional journeys since he lost his beloved wife of 28 years to ovarian cancer in January 2015.
Of his latest venture, which will see him covering up to 20 miles per day, Dermot said: ‘I thought that I had perhaps finished with my long distance walking, but when I learned that the Ireland Way finished in Ballycastle, I just felt compelled to get my walking boots on once again.’
Ballycastle is where Jacqui was brought up and her remains now rest in Ramoan Parish Church at the top of the town. ‘Ballycastle is a very special place for me and it will be highly fitting, and perhaps a little emotional, to end my latest walk there. The timing of my walk is also highly significant in that I aim to reach Ballycastle by August 1st, which is the date on which Jacqui and I were married 31 years ago. It might sound a little melodramatic, but it just seems to me that I was destined to do this walk.’
Dermot hopes to raise £7,500 for Cancer Research UK through his latest walk, which will push his fundraising total since 2015 to £40,000.
He set off from Castletownbere last week. You can follow his day-by-day progress on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/1000k4j/