Registered blind Caron to tackle Great Glen Way in aid of Guide Dogs
A REGISTERED blind Watten woman has bravely taken on the challenge of walking the Great Glen Way to raise money for Guide Dogs.
Caron Jones (56), of the village's Achingale Place, had to retire from her role as a mental health nurse after her sudden sight loss in 2015.
In order to do the 75-mile walk, Caron said she had to lose weight. She started going to Slimming World because she had been assessed for a guide dog and realised that she needed to be fitter to look after it properly.
"I lost seven stone in weight and thought this could be a great opportunity to give something back," she said.
Before signing up in April last year to Alison's Slimming World group in Thurso, she said: "I needed help to get out of a chair. Literally walking across the road I would get out of breath."
Although she has not yet reached her target weight of 11 stone, Caron, who was 20 stone and two pounds, now weighs in at 12 stone and nine pounds.
Originally from North Wales, Caron has lived in Watten for six years and she can often be seen out walking trying to get fitter.
Explaining why she decided to do the Great Glen Way, which runs along the side of the Caledonian Canal from Fort William to Inverness, she said: "I liked to go out for day trips and never really thought about doing such a distance. I was down in North Wales when I listened to a programme about the Great Glen Way and thought, why not?"
Caron initially set a target of raising £100 but has already received over £300 in support. People have been making donations through her Facebook page – Cai Jones – and she has set up a Just Giving page. Pamela Macadie at Notions hairdressers in Wick is also going to try and drum up some sponsorship.
She will be setting off on her walk on September 28, along with her friend Kath Tod from Forres, who will act as her support and guide, and hopes to complete it within seven to eight days.
Caron is on the waiting list for a guide dog but the average wait is between two and three years. With £55,000 the lifetime cost of each dog, she hopes to be able to help towards the funding.
A Guide Dogs spokesperson said: "The ability to get around is vital in order to live a full life yet thousands of people with sight loss never leave home alone.
"We empower visually impaired people to do that and rely on the support of the public to fund the guide dog service."