Drymen gym owner raises £3,500 for village hall after three-day West Highland way trek

Almost £3,500 has been raised for Drymen Village Hall after a local gym owner completed the punishing effort of walking the West Highland Way in just three days.

Michelle Eddleston, who lives in the village and runs Gym 63 in Balfron, decided to take on the challenge after reading about the difficulties faced by the hall’s committee in keeping it running amid surging bills and cuts to external funding.

The super-fit 34-year-old decided to do her bit to raise some funds by committing to traversing the 96-mile route in rapid time - completing the three days on Sunday (June 23).

Her initial target of £1,500 was soon reached and an online fundraising page has rocketed past more than double that mark.

Michelle said: “It was brilliant to be out there and I had a great time on my own - the walking for 10-12 hours each day obviously made the feet hurt but the support I got from people made it all worth it.

“I’ve done the Way a couple of times, but doing it for sponsors and supporters just widens the emotion of it all.

“I was also heavily fuelled by the coffee and cake that lots of kind people were buying me along the way which was so appreciated.

“The funds will all go to the village hall and the contribution it makes here to people. The total is at around £3,500 at the moment and it’s a couple more days before the JustGiving closes down.

“Apart from my feet, everything went really well although I’m still kicking around in the slippers at the moment!”

Michelle tackled a gruelling 42-mile stretch on her first day, travelling from the starting point in Milngavie to Beinglas, before that was followed up with another 30 mile walk the next day up to Glencoe.

The final day saw a final 28-mile stretch completed to the traditional finishing point in Fort William.

Michelle added: “My family and I live in Drymen and the hall is so well used by us. My kids go to youth clubs there and my mother also makes use of it for her crochet club.

“It’s supported locally by young and old and to lose the library and hall at the same time would be a big blow.”

Hall coordinator Rowan Higgins previously told the Observer the facility was facing closure within months in the face of funding pressures - with bills topping £1,900 a month.

Since then, there has been a rallying cry from locals to help plug some of those gaps to save the hall which has been part of the Drymen community since 1910.