Andrew Miller recently undertook an amazing non-stop walk along the Fife Coastal Path.
Andrew has chosen to share his experience with Walk Fife.
At Midnight on Friday the 10th of July, I set off from Kincardine to try to walk the full length of The Fife Coastal Path, which is 117-miles long and I challenged myself to do it non-stop. I was unsure how far I could get and if it was even possible for me to get to the end at Newburgh, but I had a great support team around me and I felt I owed it to them, and those who’d sponsored me, to get as far as I could.
This isn’t the first time I’d walked this path; in 2017 my Dad (Rob Miller) and I completed the route over ten days throughout the course of the year. We’d walk for a day, then come back to where we left off, a few weeks or even months later.
Completing the Fife Coastal Path was a big achievement for him due to his age and his health as he was undergoing cancer treatment during this time. We both enjoyed the time together, walking round a county we were so familiar with, but seeing it from a different angle. He would tell me stories along the way from growing up in the area, which I continue to share with my family.
When Rob sadly passed away, aged 68, in June 2020, I was very keen to revisit the path and relive some of the memories we’d made, but also to try and raise some money for Marie Curie, a charity which had made a real difference to our family at the end of his life. Marie Curie nurses were really fantastic at helping my Mum and making my Dad comfortable. They stayed with him overnight and allowed my Mum to get some much-needed sleep.
With them in mind, my wife and I started to plan whether doing the FCP non-stop was even possible. After some logistic planning, we decided that it could be, as long as my feet and legs could hold out, but I would need help from some ‘socially distanced’ support walkers. I called up a few friends who were all very keen to help and including my wife and her campervan, I had my team.
We set up a just giving page and started to ask people for donations:
Myself and my first support walker set off from Kincardine in the dark and made fairly quick progress along the coast to the Forth bridges where the sun started to come up. Then it was just steady walking all through Saturday, going through all the familiar coastal towns, swapping support walkers at various scheduled stops.
My Wife was supporting me by driving ahead and making me food and hot drinks to keep me motivated. We tackled the Saturday crowds on the Elie Chain Walk and envied those in the East Neuk who were tucking into their ice-creams and fish & chips! When I got to Kingsbarns after 70-miles of walking, the sun was going down and it was time for an hour’s sleep.
Partially rested, me and my new support walker set off at midnight Saturday, on the hardest section of the path: the tidal section between Kingsbarns and St Andrews. Sunday morning was a very painful affair as my feet became blistered and swollen from so much use, however with Marie Curie and my Dad in my mind I carried on, eventually reaching Newburgh and the end of the path at 4pm Sunday afternoon, with the whole thing having taken just over 40 hours.
It was a very emotional finish and I was delighted to learn that we’d raised over £2500, making all the pain very much worth it.
I definitely wouldn’t recommend doing it in one go, however it is a wonderful route with lots of landmarks, beaches and beautiful villages on the way. I’m very proud of my team for helping me get to the end and hopefully my Dad would’ve been proud as well.