A couple have lost more than 10 stone in weight as they limber up to take on all the Kiltwalk challenges.
Julie Strachan, 50, vowed to be healthier after her brother James Smith died of cancer last February, aged 52. Their father Jim also died of heart-related problems at the same age.
Now Julie and her 49-year-old husband Duncan, who are from Balmedie, have challenged themselves to complete all four Kiltwalk hikes across Scotland this year – for the second time – in memory of her brother. The Tartan Army Children’s Charity ambassador had completed one of the walks himself before he died.
Julie and Duncan will join more than 2,000 walkers taking part in the Aberdeen Kiltwalk on Saturday,
The pair previously raised £4,000 for the children’s charity and will this year be taking on the challenge for Macmillan Cancer Support.
They will also take part in the The Walk – Speyside and the Rob Roy Mighty Hike later in the year.
They decided to tackle their weight issues the night before their first-ever Kiltwalk in Glasgow last April and signed up with Weight Watchers that week.
Julie said it was their belief in each other that helped her reach her weight goal in just 10 months, losing just over five stone.
She said: “This was never about the way we look, it was just about being happy and healthy.
“We are both more sociable and now have much more energy to do the things we want to.
“There is no more avoiding outings because we don’t feel like it – we are now up for anything.”
Julie, who works as an office assistant at a contractor firm in Ellon, walks for half an hour every day on her lunch break, and the couple take to the pavements as much as they can instead of using their car for shorter journeys.
The mum-of-two said they realised how much fitter they were when they completed the Glasgow Kiltwalk in April in just five hours – compared to nine hours last year.
She added: “Duncan has a heart condition and was on a cocktail of drugs but that has now been reduced because he lost five stone.
“As long as we are happy and healthy, that’s all that matters.”
To register for the Kiltwalk go to bit.ly/2Jx5EJl.