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The little hen that sparked a 96-mile fundraising trek

When poor little Pico was adopted by volunteer Lorna McGuinness, she was incredibly thin, couldn’t walk, and spent her first few weeks with her head bowed, looking very sorry for herself.

Over the months that followed and with a lot of TLC from Lorna, Pico gained weight, began to trust her keepers, and was soon a thriving, fully-fledged member of the family.

It was Pico’s transformation that inspired Lorna to tackle the West Highland Way, a 96-mile path from Milngavie to Fort William, to raise funds for the BHWT.

Lorna, who has been a BHWT volunteer since 2016 and runs the Denny rehoming site, said, “Like any other pet she had her own personality and was adored by us all. As she had been so poorly, she was completely spoiled even having her own purpose-built coop when she was strong enough to go outside.

“She was a memorable hen and we never forgot where she came from and how she thrived. It was Pico’s story that motivated us to raise money for the BHWT.”

lorna mcguinness

Most people take on the West Highland Way over a week or 10 days. But Lorna, along with her son Kyle, challenged themselves to complete it in just five days!

Fortunately, the weather stayed dry and warm with very few midges, but they were still long, tough of 20 miles’ walking to achieve their target.

As well as achieving their walking goal, the mother and son also reached – and surpassed – their fundraising target, raising over £730 for the BHWT.

Lorna added:

Day two (Balmaha to Iverarnan) was our toughest day as this involved walking 21 miles along some difficult terrain which was steep in places, and we had to scramble up and down some rocks and tree trunks. It took us 11 hours to complete, and we ended up getting to our accommodation when it was late and dark. It was tough to get up again the next morning to walk another 20 miles! The rest of the walk was tiring but on easier terrain and we finished in Fort William on day five with sore legs and very blistered feet!

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This was the second time Lorna has walked the West Highland Way, the first being many years ago and at a much more leisurely pace.

While she lets her feet recover from this trek, Lorna has no plans to take on another tough challenge any time soon, but she continues to make a difference to the lives of hens as a member of the BHWT Egg Club and, of course, as a rehoming volunteer.

“I have always loved hens and was fortunate to get my own when we moved to a more rural location a few years ago,” said Lorna. “Like many hen lovers, you get the ‘hen bug’ very quickly, learn more about where they come from and want to help.

“I started volunteering with the BHWT in 2016 initially helping out at Perth and then very quickly deciding that I could manage my own rehoming site in Denny, near Stirling, where I live. At that time there were only two sites in Scotland, and we needed somewhere more central; so, it was an easy decision to make.”

pico the hen
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I had the space and a fantastic husband who built a shed to accommodate the hens. With the help of a team of wonderful and dedicated volunteers, I had my first rehoming in 2017 and have never looked back. Since then, over 5,000 hens have found their forever homes.

You can still donate to Lorna’s fundraising page, and learn more about Pico, here

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