Phil sticks feet up after 160-mile walk

Time for a well-earned rest: Phil McCartney gets home after completing his 160-mile sponsored walk around Co Antrim to raise funds for TACT Wildlife Centre. INNT 30-501-SO
Time for a well-earned rest: Phil McCartney gets home after completing his 160-mile sponsored walk around Co Antrim to raise funds for TACT Wildlife Centre. INNT 30-501-SO

Newtownabbey man Phil McCartney has enjoyed a few days of well-earned rest after completing an epic sponsored walk.

The 45-year-old walked around the perimeter of Co Antrim - a journey of more than 160 miles.

He crossed the finish line last Tuesday evening (July 21) - a week after setting off on his mammoth challenge in support of the TACT Wildlife Centre.

“It was tough at times, but I actually enjoyed it,” the TACT volunteer commented.

“The weather makes a real difference as it’s the thing you have no control over. It’s great walking along when the sun’s out, and I could cope with the rain. But it’s the wind that’s the worst. It’s tough walking in the wind, especially when it’s not at your back.”

On day one Phil walked from his home near Cloughfern to Ballygally, marching on to Cushendun on day two. He completed the gruelling Cushendun to Portrush leg of the walk on the third day, but was then forced to take an unscheduled rest day midway through the challenge due to bad weather at the north coast.

“The weather was great until I got to Torr Head and then from there to Portrush it was like a storm. The bad weather really took it out of me,” he continued.

Despite the delay, Phil was able to complete his challenge a day later than scheduled.

Delighted with the success of the fundraiser, he thanked everyone who supported him with the challenge.

“I’ve raised about £1,100 so far and I know there is still more money to come in, so I’m really pleased,” he continued.

“I know the money will be put to good use by TACT, and if nothing else the walk has raised the profile of the centre. More people now know about TACT and the good work it does and hopefully more people will pay a visit to see the animals and discover what a special place it is.”

In order to raise as much money as possible for the cash-strapped wildlife centre in Crumlin, Phil paid all his own expenses during his trip.

He also received a helping hand on the last two legs of his journey from the owners of the White River House Hotel in Toome and Oakfield Guest House in Lower Ballinderry, who on hearing about his fundraising exploits, generously gave him free accommodation.

Phil, who suffered from swollen ankles during his walk but amazingly didn’t get one blister, enjoyed a few days of hard-earned rest before returning to his day job at a Belfast engineering firm on Monday, July 27.

Anyone who would like to support him in his fundraising effort can still do so until August 20 by making a donation online at mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/tactwalk