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Charity fundraiser Tony Bonning has paid tribute to the islanders who helped him during this Hebridean Way hike with his horse, Chief.

The author and storyteller contacted to express his gratitude for the kindness the pair had received along the way.

He said: “On behalf of Chief and me, please thank all the people who helped, donated, chatted, waved and generally made our Hebridean trek a wonderous and unforgettable experience.

“In my long life, I have seen the worst of human nature. On the Islands of the Outer Hebrides, I saw the best. Thank you.”

His charity walk from the Butt of Lewis to Vatersay in aid of the 3Rs Horse Rescue Centre Charity has raised around £3000.

Along the way, Tony also held storytelling sessions at various island schools and visited sites associated with the water kelpie of Scottish folklore. Tony has been collecting tales of the horse-like demons for 40 years and has written two books on the subject.

After their five-week-long island adventure, Tony and Chief finally made it back home earlier this week. Chief has rejoined his horse companions in Glenelg while Tony takes a well-earned rest at home.

Added Tony: “I will do my best to write individually to everyone who helped us on the trek; in the meantime, I would like to express the deepest gratitude to all the selfless people who eased our way. I have never forgotten all the people who helped us on previous expeditions, and I will never forget the people of the Outer Hebrides. To me, you showed the true soul of the islands: kind, generous and caring.” 

During the trek, Tony was able to reunite with an old friend, Eoghan MacLachlain, whom he first met in 2001 at St Mary’s Hall in Benbecula. At the time, Tony was the Poet in Residence at Taigh Chearsabagh Arts Centre, and Eoghainn was playing the Bodhran with a local ceilidh band.