Autistic father & daughter walk 1900 miles, completing all 29 of Scotland's Great Trails | Our Spectrum Adventures
Fundraising for Scottish Autism
We are Ian, Sarah and Eve. A neurodiverse, outdoor, home educating, adventurous, cancer surviving family who live in a small rural community in Scotland. Together we want to show you that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
Our goal is to challenge stereotypes and perceptions around autism and mental health, supporting people and charities and championing neurodiversity through public engagement and awareness.
Last year in 2022 we hiked the length of mainland Britain (1300 miles) in aid of autism. It took us over 9 months, but we did it, with Eve now holding the unofficial record for the youngest person ever to complete the walk.
This year Eve and I (Ian) will be backpacking all of the 29 Scottish Great Trails. This includes The West Highland Way and the Southern Upland Way (Scotland’s Coast to Coast). This is not a virtual event, we will be out there in all weathers, on the trail, hiking mile after mile!
The total mileage will be over 1900 miles, but will be more like 2000 miles once we factor in essential off trail hiking for supplies and of course, coffee and hot chocolate!
We will try to complete the whole 29 trails within 2023 but will extend this into next year if needed.
On route Eve and I will be blogging and vlogging the whole 2000 miles in real time so that you can follow along with us every step of the way.
Through this we will both show and tell you exactly what we are doing, where we are and what it’s like. This will hopefully give you an unfiltered perspective of the realities of life on the trail, showing the emotional and practical aspects of the challenge, answering any and all questions and making you feel as if you are with us throughout the whole journey.
We will be walking the Great Trails, one after another with a small break (if possible) between each one. Eve and I will be hiking throughout the year. We estimate this challenge will take most, if not all of 2023 to complete. We will be home educating Eve on the trail as we hike.
Our primary accommodation will be our little tent, which we will be carrying with us, along with our other supplies. This will be supplemented with other on-trail accommodation such as youth hostels and Air B&Bs. We also have access to our wee campervan when Sarah is available to come and see us (she will be working while we hike).
FOOD, DRINK & ESSENTIALS & HOT CHOCOLATE/COFFEE
Food and other essentials will be purchased as and when required from local shops during our hike. Morale in the form of coffee, and sweet treats for Eve, will be vital. We will purchase these as and when we can afford to do so. As a small personal plug, we have a Buy Me a Coffee page for any donations to help with coffee and treats for Eve, thank you!
The primarily reason for hiking 2000 miles is to raise awareness of autism and challenge some of the stereotypes surrounding it. We are also raising much needed funds for Autism Scotland to support their work with individuals and families with autism and mental health issues through our Just Giving page. We have our own personal stories that help motivate us, as both Eve and I have a formal diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
Any donation that you generously give will help to build a bigger and brighter future for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. The challenges faced by people with autism and mental health issues go mostly unseen until it is too late. The below fact I have taken this directly from the Office for National Statistics
“From 2001 to 2018, suicide and injury or poisoning of undetermined intent was the leading cause of death for both males and females aged 20 to 34 years in the UK, for all years observed, accounting for 27.1% of male deaths and 16.7% of female deaths for this age group.”
This is the link to our Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/page/scotlands-great-trails
Autism affects 1 in 100 people. When most people think of autism the usual stereotypical traits come to mind including obsessive interest in specific topics, repetitive behaviours, lining up of toys etc, communication difficulties and public outbursts. However, these traits do not represent the full spectrum of people with autism.
Autism has long been thought to affect girls and boys disproportionately with boys four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls. One reason for this massive underdiagnosis in females is a phenomenon known as ‘autism masking’ whereby a person disguises their autistic traits to 'fit in' with their neurotypical peers. This is very damaging to the individual and is basically their coping mechanism resulting in constant exhaustion, loss of identity and mental health issues.
For both Eve and I, our challenges due to autism impact our lives every single day.
However, being outdoors in nature, be that in wind, sun, rain or snow, whether hiking in the mountains or wild swimming, we feel happy, free and content. It is where we belong!
Eve and I both have autism. Sarah is neurotypical (not autistic) but obviously, her life is impacted every day by autism.
When Eve was one year old, Glasgow Children’s Hospital found a tumour on her spine. At the same time as this, Sarah also received a diagnosis of cancer. This was the darkest time of my life. We were told that Eve would not survive any longer than a few days. Sarah would go for her operations (she had several) and then come back to the children’s hospital to be with Eve and me.
As you can see, they both survived and made a full recovery. This was when our lives changed direction and we dedicated ourselves to family time and trying to help others overcome their difficulties.
All of our adventures have Eve as the primary motivating factor and influencer. We do not force her to do these challenges. If you have followed us for a while, you will know that Eve encourages us and keeps us going. Eve is an awesome child (I am obviously biased), with an ambition to match her massive personality. Her goal is to climb Mt Everest one day. Eve has a poster of Mt Everest above her bed so it is the first thing she sees in the morning and the last thing she sees at night. That is her motivation.
We both received our diagnoses of Autistic Spectrum Disorder through NHS Scotland. This was a long and painful process but one that helped provide a lot of answers to life-long questions.
One of our biggest challenges is social interaction and communication. I also struggle with people in general! We are definitely introverts who are happy to shy away from people and enjoy our own company.
Your help and support is incredible and gives us more motivation than you can ever know. There are several ways that you can help and support us.
We are active on social media (mainly Facebook) and will be blogging and flogging the whole 2000 miles, so please give us a Like and a Follow would be awesome, thank you!
Facebook @ facebook.com/ourspectrumadventures
Instagram @ instagram.com/ourspectrumadventures
I also set up a Go Fund Me page to help with essential purchases like new trainers, clothes, kit repairs, toiletries and any other things we may find we need on the trail.
Go Fund Me @ gofundme.com/scotlands-great-trails
Finally, we have a Buy Me a Coffee page. Last year on our charity JOGLE hike, we were advised to set up a Buy Me a Coffee page. This is where you can help and support us, by buying us a cup of coffee and a hot chocolate (Eve also likes her ice cream even in deep winter). This in itself is such great motivation for us and I’m sure without all these generous donations last year we would not have completed our charity challenge of 2022.
Buy Me a Coffee @ buymeacoffee.com/ourspectrumadv
Our online persona is Our Spectrum Adventures. We have a website/blog (that I am are currently developing) along with a newsletter that you can subscribe to!
Website @ ourspectrumadventures.com
Newsletter @ ourspectrumadventures.com/subscribe
We cannot thank you enough for looking at our Just Giving Page. Simply getting this far down our page is an achievement, as I know I can ramble on! Sorry!
Your help and support is something that we never take for granted and appreciate more than words or actions can ever show. I can’t begin to thank you enough. In our current financial climate, we know your disposable income is not what it was, so any contribution is more valuable than it ever was. Every donation that we kindly receive, we make Eve fully aware of. Every donation on Buy Me a Coffee is used for just that, coffee and treats for Eve, again, we make her fully aware of where the money has come from!
If you have any questions or would simply like to get in contact for a chat please message us using
Facebook Messenger: m.me/ourspectrumadventures
Contact form: ourspectrumadventures.com/contact
Donating through Just Giving is simple and secure. Your details are safe with Just Giving as they never sell them or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity, not to us. Just Giving is the most efficient way to donate, saving time and cutting costs for the charity. We can accept cash donations, however, Just Giving is our preferred method of donating.
You can see visit our Just Giving page here justgiving.com/page/scotlands-great-trails
Just knowing that you are here and looking at our Just Giving page means more to us than you will ever know.
Thank you for all your love and support and we hope to meet you in person one day to say ‘thank you’.
Ian, Eve & Sarah