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

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has listed Harbour Air and Air Canada flights to and from Nanaimo, from April 3, 4 and 12, on its list of flights with COVID-19. (News Bulletin file)
COVID-19 cases reported for Air Canada, Harbour Air flights, says disease control centre

Nanaimo flights for April 3, 4 and 12 listed on BCCDC’s list of flights with COVID-19

Rebates through Clean B.C.’s Better Homes New Construction program are available, says the City of Nanaimo. (Vancouver Island University photo)
Energy-efficient home builds in Nanaimo eligible for up to $15K in rebates

All building permits issued on, or after, April 1, 2020 eligible, says City of Nanaimo

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Housing crunch or not, it’s illegal to live in an RV in Nanaimo

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

Heidi Sinclair, executive director of Nanaimo Community Kitchens, left, accepts a $13,500 donation from 100-plus Women Who Care Mid Island, represented by Nahanni Ackroyd and Shannon Gorgichuk. (Photo submitted)
Caring women in Nanaimo give generously to community kitchen society

100-plus Women Who Care Mid Island donate $13,500 to Nanaimo Community Kitchens Society

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
UPDATE: Another COVID-19 case found as part of NRGH outbreak

Four patients tested positive for the virus in NRGH’s high-intensity rehab unit

(Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts on Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for what the COVID-19 public health orders are,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read