Two Hearts, Four Feet

Two Hearts, Four Feet

Rachel and Simon are finally home!

They have managed to raise an astounding £8000 to support both children and projects run by Ecologia Youth Trust.

They ran around the coast of Ireland, covering more than 2,500 miles over 8 months. Here’s what Simon had to say about their journey…

“Rachel and I arrive at the Park, Findhorn, ruck-sacked and on foot, greeted by a joyful hubbub of people and pipes, friends and acquaintances. As the local press catch us, ensuring a wider audience would learn of our endeavour, we could finally, in that moment together, let go, and break. With our eyes moist, gripping expectant hands, we tell each other we are finally home. Back home to those who have followed and know our story, and in their celebratory rapture, wrap us in their heartfelt welcome. Eight months and a day earlier, on 1 August 2018, we had left the same place, passed under the same willow arches, and sent off carrying the same smiling well-wish.

Rachel and I then spent 176 days running and walking 2583 miles around the craggy coastline, carrying a few spare clothes, sleeping and bivvy bags, waterproofs, some selected nuts and fruit, and an ocean of goodwill from everyone we meet while gallivanting clockwise through 17 of the 32 counties of Ireland.

Together nearly every hour of every day, our friendship, dependency and fire somehow surviving all that’s thrown at it, all that mind can muster.

Moving 15-25 miles on foot every day demands a relentlessness drive, determination and resolve. Staying somewhere different every night, rarely knowing where that will be, brings insecurity and anxiety. Asking others for help brings both a difficult relief and unmitigated joy.

The best days are those when the sun shines and the sea’s expanse quivers. The most memorable, when the wind blows so strong at Bolus Point we can hardly stand; grabbing the fence rails on the cliffs of Moher coast path to avoid the drop; walking alongside our own night-shine moonbeams up Derrynane beach; or waking at 6am to a pink sunrise along the full Irish Sea horizon at Wicklow Point lighthouse.

But for all the drama, we remember the humdrum of hours and hours of one-step after another, occasionally brightened by the offer of tea, or an appreciative ‘fair play to ye’.

The Irish are known for their open hearted warmth, and we met enough to ensure that every night when we needed shelter from the rain (over 50%), it was found in house, hotel or cow shed, and that we never had to pay for it.

Nearly half of the £8000+ funds raised was picked up on the road from a charity-aware population, well versed in giving to those in need; and when children need, the Irish rise.

Rachel and I both personally support children in the Russian, Kenyan and Ugandan communities that Ecologia have long helped to uphold. For us in all our privileged struggle it was the least we could do to continue to help those who need it. Thank you for supporting us! We appreciate it very much.

Please continue your support to help Simon and Rachel reach their £10,000 target!

You can still donate:

Make a donation here

Or send a cheque to: Ecologia Youth Trust, 66 The Park, Findhorn, Forres, Moray, IV36 3TD




The Numbers

  1. At 2,500+ miles, the distance was exactly half of Simon’s run around Britain in 2016
  2. Distance covered: 2,583 miles/4,133km
  3. Most miles in a day: 31.5
  4. Average miles per running day: 16.6
  5. Weight carried per day: approximately 10Kg
  6. People they met: 620


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susie Kemp

Susie has 30+ experience as a creative copywriter, editor, and proofreader, starting out as a 20-year-old copywriter in the Mad Men world of early 1990s advertising in South Africa. Ever since, she’s had a love affair with creative conceptualisation, thinking outside of the box, writing to a deadline, and being thrown in the deep end!

She took an MSc in Publishing at Edinburgh Napier University as a mature student, in 2015, and continues to keep herself busy working as a copy-editor, proofreader and copywriter in book publishing, corporate communications, and publishing project management.

Apart from her love of working with independent authors, Susie has a fondness for working in the third sector and likes to use her corporate communications and marketing experience to support projects close to her heart. She has lived and worked in the Findhorn area for 25 years, and has been involved in a number of third sector projects and organisations, and family businesses.

Working at Ecologia Youth Trust helps Susie to live in integrity with her values of supporting the next generation to be the best that they can be, and she sees it as a way to give back to Mama Africa, the beloved continent on which she was born.

Ellen Shaw

Ellen joined the Ecologia team in June 2018 as Marketing and Communications Manager. Ellen has lived in Scotland for 6 years and has worked for non-profit and charitable organisations across varied fields. She currently shares her passion for helping young people through Ecologia Youth Trust and she works as a dancer and dance teacher in her spare time.

Robyn Cooper

Robyn is the Associate Director of International Projects, having previously worked within the team as a Project Development and Marketing Officer from April 2019 until May 2021. As Associate Director, Robyn is co-leading the International side of Ecologia with Founder and Director, Liza Hollingshead, bringing a new energy into Ecologia as they look towards the future of the charity.

Liza Hollingshead

Liza is the founder of Ecologia and Director of International Projects. She was born and educated in South Africa and worked there as a high school teacher. She moved to live in the Findhorn Community in 1974. She started Ecologia in 1995 after being introduced to Dmitry Morozov, the founder of Kitezh Children’s Community in Russia, and was inspired to support the community in its mission to rescue orphaned children from institutions and give them homes, families and education in a supportive environment.

This led to projects supporting disadvantaged youth and children in South East Asia and in East Africa. TRead more about Liza’s story here.