Mark McDougall- A Week to Walk the Way!

Date: 4th April 2016

Mark McDougalMy name is Mark McDougall, and my youngest daughter, Amy (aged 4), has Down’s Syndrome.

My wife and I joined Down’s Syndrome Scotland when Amy was a few months old, and we were still trying to come to terms with all the impacts that the condition would have on our lovely wee girl and us as a family.

Since then DSS has provided us with some invaluable support along the way: from the sage words of Jo Hughes in the Family Support Service (including advice on completing the daunting DLA forms), to Katy Lironi and the ABC group (through which Amy’s speech has blossomed), the DSS magazine “Full Potential” (which always has some inspiring content), and the conferences and training sessions (which we have learned a lot from).

The long and short of all this support is that we have a much greater understanding of the impacts that the condition “could” have on our lovely wee girl and us as a family, and that we are much better placed to overcome any challenges ahead and support Amy in achieving her full potential.

I would now like to give something back to DSS, and play some small part in helping to ensure their continued championing and support of those with the condition and their families. Inspiration has also come from our eldest daughter, Cara (aged 6), who instigated and helped organise an afternoon tea party in our house in January, which raised £300 (50% of which is for DSS).

So, on Sunday 10th April I will start a solo and unsupported walk of the West Highland Way, there and back, in seven days. The official distance one way is 96 miles / 154 km, so this equates to an average over the week of 27.5 miles / 44 km per day.

This will be quite a physical challenge for me, so over the last few weeks I have been getting as much walking in as possible – our dog has been delighted to be out and about as much! Time-wise I won’t be able to fully replicate the time/distance of the walk in training, but my fitness level is improving and I will just keep trying to progress this over the remaining weeks.

If you would like to sponsor me please visit my Virgin Money Giving page at  to make a donation.IMG_0287

So far I have been astounded by the generosity and support shown by individuals and businesses alike. I have also sought support from two British companies for clothing and equipment that I will be using, and I am delighted that they have kindly agreed: Buffalo Systems ( are providing me with one of their excellent Windshirts (and hood), and Anatom Footwear ( have provided me with a pair of their superb Explorer walking poles.  I have already surpassed my target of £1,000! The following are businesses who have kindly provided donations; Custom Cameron (, Craigend Nursery (Main Road, Cardross), Lomond Soap (, Cardross Pharmacy (Main Road, Cardross), Art of Hair (Main Road, Cardross), Cardross Tennis Club (,Ardardan Estate (, Ledgerwood Electrical Contractors (,Cardross Bowling Club (Church Avenue, Cardross), MacDonald Cake Company (, Groom N Go (Hillside Road, Cardross), JMD Motors (North Street, Alexandria), Tigh Na Cheo B&B (, Dales Active (, Linda Macdonald Jewellery (

I will provided a weekly update, and daily during the walk if technology (and tiredness!) allows, but for now I best get on with some training!