Carnoustie played host at the weekend to a courageous disabled veteran who is travelling the British coastline on a mobility scooter in aid of charity.
Mark Newton (47), from Wales, has raised over £15,000 for Help For Heroes, The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, Royal British Legion, SSAFA Forces Help and the RNLI by following the British coastline on his mobility scooter.
There were plenty of curious passers-by when the Guide & Gazette met with the former Queen’s Dragoon Guardsman and what he affectionately refers to as his ‘beast of burden’ by the War Memorial in gusting winds and intermittent rain.
Mark’s vehicle is a slightly modified Beamer 3 open-topped mobility scooter with an attached trailer, and given the poor conditions and a long day in the saddle it was decided to retire to the 19th Hole where staff kindly agreed to allow Mark to charge his vehicle overnight.
Asked how he got started Mark revealed: “I’ve got a very low boredom threshold, I was made redundant in 2010 and I can’t sit on my behind and do nothing.
“A bloke planted a seed in my head when I got my first mobility scooter. I was going down the local river to do some photography and a bloke stopped me and said ‘You can go round Britain on that’ and that planted the seed. I went round Wales first as a test in 2011.”
Mark set off in April from Lochgilphead, Argyll and Bute, and if all goes well plans to finish his journey there in August. He has been accompanied by his two cats who seem at home in the small trailer in which he sleeps at night. Overall the public has been sympathetic to Mark’s cause, and he was quickly welcomed by the regulars in the 19th Hole. During the course of the interview several came over to inquire about the strange vehicle parked outside the pub.
Surprisingly, not everyone has been so welcoming. He said: “I get the odd rejection. As you get to more populated areas people don’t want to leave the door or window open or they haven’t got an outside plug.
“My worst experience was in Durness where the scooter was vandalised. It still rankles with the people there.
“He was just an idiot who said he was going to throw my scooter in the sea if it was still there in the morning.”
You can follow Mark’s progress on his epic journey on Twitter @aroundbritain or visit www.aroundbritain.org.uk