The West Highland Way is a 96 mile route that starts at Milngavie, passes through Mugdock Country Park, follows the shores of Loch Lomond, passes Ben Lomond, through Glen Falloch, crosses Rannoch Moor, climbs the Devil’s Staircase, descends to sea level to cross the River Leven, enters Glen Nevis and finishes at Fort William.
On average, it takes a week to walk – with plenty of rest stops along the way – but NHS Forth Valley Emergency Nurse Practitioner Andrew McAviney, along with his friend Mark Foley, cycled the infamous route in just 21 hours, 30 minutes recently to raise awareness of Aspergers and Autism!
The idea came to Andy after his 12 year old son gave a talk to his whole class on World Autism Day about what it was like to have Aspergers – the good parts and the difficult parts. When Andy asked what he felt people could do to help he just said one word: “Respect.”
“I want to tell people about Aspergers and Autism so that they will be able to respect their differences,” Andy explains. “The National Autism Society helps to provide coping strategies for all involved, including me. Chances are that someone we know finds life difficult and may be on the spectrum – that’s why Mark and I put ourselves through this massive task, because no matter how hard it was it wasn’t going to be as difficult as a wee boy with social problems getting up in front of the whole class and expressing who he is!”
Andy and Mark encouraged people to support them by visiting the National Autism Society website to find out more or by giving donations. So far the duo have raised £800 and you can still support their cause by visiting http://www.justgiving.com/Andy-McAviney.