A TILLICOULTRY woman and her dog are gearing up for this month's virtual Kiltwalk in aid of charity.

Gillian Reid is assistant director of operations at Shelter Scotland and is raising money for the charity after seeing first-hand how tough the last 12 months have been.

Living in the Hillfoots for the past two years, and five years in Fishcross before that, Gillian knows what a beautiful backdrop she has and so the decision to do her walk around Clacks was an easy one.

Despite regularly walking her dog Sasha, Gillian says this walk will be the toughest yet.

"This is definitely worth the sponsorship money," Gillian joked. "As much as I have a dog and am regularly out walking with Sasha, it's definitely not for these long, sustained periods.

"It would usually be an hour max we would be out for."

Gillian has been involved with Shelter Scotland for three years and knows just how important the money she raises will be, especially after the last 12 months.

She continued: "I think, especially in the current climate given the circumstances of the pandemic, recognising how important home has been to all of us, it's gone hand in hand with our ability to be safe and healthy.

"It's been really hard for those who haven't had a safe, secure home to actually be able to keep themselves safe during this year."

Gillian adds that fundraising events being cancelled due to the restrictions has been a real blow to charities who rely on that source of income.

She said: "It's been a challenge for charities, one of the key elements that has been removed from charities over these past 12 months has been mass events like the way the Kiltwalk would run under ordinary circumstances or even the London Marathon.

"[This] really has a huge impact on organisational finance which charities rely on [through] the donations of individuals and people fundraising.

"It's really great that the Kiltwalk is this virtual event and is encouraging people to get out there and do whatever they can to raise those funds."

This year's virtual Kiltwalk takes place from April 23 to April 25 and Gillian has decided to spread her walk across the three days.

The first day will begin at Tillicoultry, passing through Fishcross and Alva before returning home.

Saturday, April 24, will just be a few miles around Tillicoultry before Sunday's walk to Dollar and back.

Gillian done the Kiltwalk in Edinburgh five years ago, but is glad to have the Wee County as a backdrop this year.

"It's so beautiful," Gillian said. "Living in Tillicoultry, I really do pinch myself every day that I look out the window and see those amazing hills that are right there.

"Having that backdrop to do this Kiltwalk is just stunning."

Thanks to Sir Tom Hunter and The Hunter Foundation, all funds raised are topped up by 50 per cent.

Visit virtual.thekiltwalk.co.uk/fundraising/ScotlandsVirtualKiltwalk2021-GillReid to donate to Gillian's fundraiser.