Scottish man Michael Yellowlees will be spending the next few days walking through the Elk Valley on the local leg of his 8,000-km walk across Canada to raise funds and awareness for a charity that seeks to re-wild the Scottish Highlands and return them to the state they were in hundreds of years ago.
“I want to encourage Canadians to look after what they’ve got here, because this is what we’re striving for back home,” he said.
“We’re having to start from the beginning again because all our hills are barren.”
Yellowlees said that keeping forests should be a priority everywhere, and his home country was an example of what could happen if more wasn’t done.
“(Scotland) used to be forested coast to coast. You look at it now and understand that it’s really a broken landscape.”
Today only remnants of the Caledonian forests remain.
He said he was also hoping to raise the profile of Scottish history and ancestry in Canada, given the connection between the two countries.
Yellowlees started his journey in Tofino at the start of March – and his goal is to walk across Canada before Winter hits, with his end destination being Cape Spear, outside of St. John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador.
His companion for the journey is 7-year-old Alaskan Husky, Luna, who he met while working in Banff. Luna is a former dogsled dog – and according to Yellowlees, is enjoying what she’d think is a chilled-out walk.
“She’s used to running 100 miles in a day – and I’m just asking her to walk 40km, so she’s a very content wee dog at the moment.”
The weather’s been a bit of a mix for the last few days, but Yellowlees said it was something he was used to, given where he’s from.
“The Kootenays have been beautiful – absolutely stunning.”
Yellowlees said that he’d received lots of support on his journey so far, and any help from locals along the way was much appreciated.
You can follow Michael and Lunas journey on Facebook through their account – Michael and Luna – A Rewilding Journey. So far he and Luna have raised a little under $9,000 for the charity in Scotland, called Trees for Life.
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