Scotland-Canada 2019.

Two countries. One heart.

And that heart is growing (a recent Canadian census showed that well-over 5 million Canadians now claim some form of Scottish ancestry).

Making Scottish-Canadians the third-largest population grouping in Canada.

Over 5 million? The same number as the current population of Scotland.

So the bond between Canada and Scotland is strong. And has been for generations.

This is actually my third attempt at a coast-to-coast, Trans-Canada journey.

And ataxia is the common link between all three attempts.

I first hoped to travel across Canada in 2013. By train (as part of a “round-the-world by train” trip that I was then making). Unfortunately, ataxia first reared its ugly head during this trip, and struck before I reached Canada (I was travelling West to East on that occasion – and had got as far as Siberia before I started the old “falling over for no apparent reason” routine).

The second attempt should have happened in 2017/2018. But by foot!

At that time, I had just completed a 500-mile fundraising/awareness-raising walk in Spain, and was looking for a bigger challenge. However, as my ataxia had progressed a lot faster than expected at the time, my planned long-distance walk across Canada (even if made over two separate years as planned), was no longer physically possible. And all plans for future long-distance walking events were thwarted (and shorter distances too).

All that has now changed though.

Now that my wheelchair is a reality, suddenly a Trans-Canada journey is a possibility again.

And, not only is it now possible again (and by train, as originally planned), but I can now make the journey another ataxia fundraising/awareness-raising event.

So two birds with the one stone!

However, due to my new physical limitations, the journey will be shorter than I had hoped (I will start in Halifax, as planned, and end in Toronto – rather than continuing on to Vancouver).

But, as the whole purpose of this trip is to highlight the strong links between Scotland and Canada, and as these links are strongest in eastern Canada, then I am not too disappointed.