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I missed the scenery, says retired GP after virtual Camino trek in his driveway raises more than £30k for Trocaire

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Martin McMullan finishes his 120km walk in his driveway yesterday

Martin McMullan finishes his 120km walk in his driveway yesterday

PA

Martin McMullan finishes his 120km walk in his driveway yesterday

Retired Belfast GP Dr Martin McMullan is resting easy after his five-day 'virtual Camino' walk helped to raise more than £30,000 for Trocaire.

Dr McMullan - who had to retire from his profession in 2012 after being diagnosed with an incurable form of blood cancer - said sitting down with a cold beer to celebrate his 58th birthday after completing the 120km walk on his Lisburn driveway was "going to be the best feeling ever".

He hatched the idea to take on the 'virtual' leg of the Camino de Santiago once plans for walking the real trek across northern Spain with St John's Rambling Retirees Walking Club were knocked back by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Instead Dr McMullan followed a virtual version of the Camino route using step-measuring technology and had breaks at mileages corresponding to real rest stops between Logrono and Burgos.

"I actually found it harder than I thought I would," he said.

"I missed the scenery. There's nothing to keep you motivated apart from the thought of the funds being raised.

"There's not another village coming up, not a mountain top to look down from.

"I've a pain in my left leg I've never had before, and getting across the finish line and getting to sit down with a beer is going to be the best feeling ever.

"It's all about the money raised for Trocaire. That is what kept me going."

His efforts have been praised by the charity's chief executive Caoimhe de Barra.

"This is an absolutely amazing undertaking by Martin," she said.

"We are so lucky to have supporters that like him who go the extra mile to support our work."

Donations can be made at https://justgiving.com/ fundraising/martin-mcmullan2

Belfast Telegraph