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I'm walking on the Ayr

Melissa Donald - RCVS President 2022-23

In May our Senior Vice-President Melissa Donald will be doing a fundraising walk for Vetlife, a charity that is close to her heart and also provides a vital service for members of the professions during difficult times. 

Next month I will be undertaking the River Ayr Way walk for VetLife with some friends and colleagues. It is a 41 mile walk, usually done over three days, we will do it over the late May bank holiday weekend over two days (there is an ultra-run version done in one day too, but that’s for another time….. I’m no Jasmin Paris!)

Dr Melissa DonaldSo why the River Ayr Way? A good question with there being so many options. Mostly, it is because it is on my doorstep. It starts at the source of the river Ayr at Glenbuck. A place you will possibly only know if you travel along the A70 between the M74 and Ayr. Travelling west and overall downhill it takes you through the Ayrshire countryside, through and around old mining towns such as Muirkirk and sheep country. The lambs will be plentiful by the time we go in a few weeks.

The first half is quiet and natural, paths using a disused rail track and maintained by sheep and farmers allow us to get into our stride. As the river widens from a stream to a more established waterway, the paths become more used and the landscape changes from hill farming to more conventional fields until at the end of the second day, when feet and tongues are tired from the walking and talking, we reach the mouth of the river in the town of Ayr.

I hope this will be the first of many walks in Scotland that we do. There are the coastal paths, the West Highland Way, the NC500 to name a few. The Scottish landscape is famously varied, but I can guarantee the weather…. Variable whatever the season!

We will be raising money for Vetlife whilst doing this, as the demand for VetLife’s services has never been higher.

As someone who has completed a few road races, one of the really overwhelming features is the plethora of different charities people raise money for.

The messages on the running shirts are both tear jerking and inspiring. Even when I think of my immediate family and friends, there are so many charities and good causes that I could get people to sponsor me for.

We could have chosen any charity, but over the years I have always found it difficult to get people from outside the profession to support VetLife as it is so niche. Which is why I am asking YOU to support us for this.

VetLife is OUR charity, that supports OUR people; for anyone involved in the profession, it is there 24/7, 365 days of the year which is why we continually need to fundraise and support it, be it as a regular donor, a life member or as an occasional sponsor for madcap ideas like our River Ayr Way walk. 

If you’d like to find out more about our adventure or help with the logistics such as driving, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and here’s the link to our Justgiving page

As I come up to the end of my eight years on Council this July, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me on this journey, those who entrusted me with their votes, who have been there for me in the background, who have taken time to listen to me.

I hope I leave the profession progressing to what it needs for todays new graduates to have as wonderful a career in their time as I have been able to have during mine.

Published on 27 March 2024

Tags: Events/meetings