After battling against searing heat, hail, thunder and lightning, Basil the deaf and blind dog and his owner have triumphed in the face of adversity by completing their coast to coast challenge. Words: Katie Avis-Riordan
After 16 long days Basil and his owner Michael Carter, 55, proudly crossed the finishing line after completing their 190-mile coast to coast walk from St Bees on the Irish Sea to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea.
‘I feel it has been an enormous privilege to have been involved in this event,’ Michael says. ‘I have met, both in reality and via the blog, some amazing, warm-hearted, generous people who have enriched my life enormously. Most of all I have had the pleasure of sharing this time with my beautiful Basil.’
The victorious pair have so far raised £6,490 including Gift Aid, for the charity Dogs Trust, which is more than double their initial target of £3,200.
‘I was so moved by people’s generosity and support throughout the walk and astonished at how many people became emotionally attached to Basil,’ Michael says. ‘One super fan, Helen Jamieson, had seen the piece in coast magazine online and had followed Basil every day. Helen came up to Robin Hood’s Bay to welcome us back and it was a very special moment for both of us.’
Coast reader Helen greets the succesful duo at the finishing line
There were some tough times with capricious weather, tiredness and Basil feeling heavier by the day. ‘I made sure that I didn’t think of the walk as being about reaching the end but about the day we were in. It was important for me to experience the highs and lows and enjoy the moment. We walked through some beautiful parts of the country but my heart is always by the sea. It was a beautiful moment for me when I saw it again after 14 days.’
At the end of their voyage the two companions dipped their toes and paws in the North Sea with a sense of relief and accomplishment, tinged with a little sadness that it was over.
‘The journey proved to be everything I had hoped it would be,’ Michael says. ‘It allowed special time with my lovely Basil and gave me precious memories for the future.’
And proving there is still life in the old dog yet, Michael has started to think another adventure may be possible after all…
Basil enjoying a well-earned lie down