Michael Yellowlees and his dog Luna continue on their journey through Port Alberni after a couple of interviews on a soggy Friday, March 5, 2021. Yellowlees left Tofino four days previously and intends to walk to Newfoundland and Labrador to raise awareness for a Scottish environmental charity. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Michael Yellowlees and his dog Luna continue on their journey through Port Alberni after a couple of interviews on a soggy Friday, March 5, 2021. Yellowlees left Tofino four days previously and intends to walk to Newfoundland and Labrador to raise awareness for a Scottish environmental charity. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Kilted Scotsman launches walking trek across Canada in B.C.

Michael Yellowlees departs Tofino to raise funds for endangered Caledonian Forest

A man from Scotland has embarked on a walking journey across Canada to raise funds for a forest in his home country.

Michael Yellowlees of Dunkeld and Birnham, Scotland, left Tofino last week and will spend the next seven months walking a marathon a day until he reaches Newfoundland and Labrador.

Yellowlees and his Husky dog Luna arrived in Port Alberni the morning of Friday, March 5 in a deluge of rain. They had already been on the road for four days.

“I’ve been walking from Tofino to Port Alberni for the last few days and taking snaps as I go. People back home are very much commenting, it’s so similar (to Scotland), in your landscape and also your weather right now,” he said.

Yellowlees is recognizable—when he’s not covered head to toe in a rain poncho—by his distinctive red beard and his kilt.

Yellowlees is a veteran of long walks, having trekked across India on a personal journey in 2017. He has been in Canada for eight months, and admits that he has romanticized what it will be like to walk from coast to coast.

“It was almost a romantic notion; Tofino is known as the end of the road. I liked the sound of that,” he said. “Also with what I’m doing, it has a bit of a metaphor to it, because we’re talking about the end of the road in regard to the environment. We need to do stuff about this now.”

While he admits there’s a “touch of madness” to attempting such a trek during a pandemic and in a foreign country, he is doing it for a cause: to help Trees for Life, which is trying to restore the Caledonian Forest that once stretched from coast to coast across Scotland. The ancient pinewood forest was formed at the end of the last ice age, and its unique ecosystem is almost eradicated.

Yellowlees is raising money online and writing about his journey on social media. He is travelling with a guitar, and often starts or ends his days with a song he posts on Facebook.

“Although I’m doing this for my own corner of the world in Scotland, it’s very apt across the board here, especially in Canada that we’ve got to be looking after what we’ve got. I’m trying to experience what you have here in regards to your wilderness.

“Please look after what you’ve got here. That’s what we’re striving for in Scotland.”

The distance from Tofino to Newfoundland is approximately 5,000 kilometres. Yellowlees thinks it will take him seven months to walk across the country, based on walking a marathon a day (42 kms or 26.2 miles).

“It’s going to take me a goodly while. I’m hoping I’m going to manage it before winter comes next year.”

Yellowlees is pushing a small hand truck with his guitar and some supplies. Luna will be his constant companion while on the road. He acquired Luna after working for a few months with a sleddog operation in Banff before coming to Tofino, where he spent four months.

He was working at the Tofino Botanical Gardens before he left.

Yellowlees had raised $4,000 by the time he and Luna made it to Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal as of Monday morning, March 8, to continue their journey east.

Follow Yellowlees’ journey across Canada on Facebook at Michael and Luna — A Rewilding Journey. Anyone wishing to contribute to Yellowlees’ journey can do so at justgiving.com/fundraising/michaelandlunarewild.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

RELATED: Senior begins Canada-wide bike ride in Tofino

RELATED: 700km in on a walk across Canada, Island man passes through Okanagan



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CanadafundraisingPORT ALBERNITofino,

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Michael Yellowlees and his dog Luna arrive at Pacific Rim Shopping Centre on Day 5 of their trip across Canada. Yellowlees, from Dunkeld and Birnham in Scotland, is raising money for Trees for Life. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Michael Yellowlees and his dog Luna arrive at Pacific Rim Shopping Centre on Day 5 of their trip across Canada. Yellowlees, from Dunkeld and Birnham in Scotland, is raising money for Trees for Life. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Michael Yellowlees of Dunkeld and Birnam, Scotland, arrives in Port Alberni during a typical southeaster storm, Friday, March 5, 2021. Yellowlees and his husky dog Luna will be walking across Canada to raise funds for Trees for Life, a Scottish charity. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Michael Yellowlees of Dunkeld and Birnam, Scotland, arrives in Port Alberni during a typical southeaster storm, Friday, March 5, 2021. Yellowlees and his husky dog Luna will be walking across Canada to raise funds for Trees for Life, a Scottish charity. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Just Posted

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Mainly clear and sunny skies are expected for the Okanagan-Shuswap region this week. (Maxpixels photo)
Warm, sunny week ahead in Okanagan-Shuswap

Daytime highs will reach the low 20s with mainly clear skies this week

File photo
Trip for cigarettes costs Princeton man $500 and a lecture

You’ve got to start obeying the rules of the road, says judge

The health authority will occupy the building until October 31, 2021. File Photo
Health authority pays town $7.4K monthly to lease Riverside Centre

Facility is being rented for COVID vaccinations

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s mass vaccination program will be delivered to Princeton residents from a clinic set up at the Riverside Community Centre. (Darryl Dyck/CP photo)
COVID vaccinations bookings began for local residents last week

Riverside serves as Princeton’s appointment centre

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read