Methody head Scott’s pilgrimage promises to be anything but lonely

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Methodist College Belfast principal Scott Naismith has embarked on an ambitious 150-mile walk from Malin Head back to his Belfast school to mark its 150th anniversary.

The head teacher set off from Malin on Saturday morning and aims to reach the Malone Road in Belfast by Friday afternoon.

Mr Naismith chose the Inishowen town as the starting point for his epic journey as it was the birthplace of the school’s founder Sir William McArthur.

He laid the foundation stone of Methodist College Belfast in 1865 and three years later, on the 18th August 1868, the college was officially opened.

Mr Naismith completed the first leg of his trek from Malin to Derry on Saturday, a distance of just over 24 miles, finishing as he crossed the Peace Bridge.

On Sunday he left the city, walking another 18 miles to Aghanloo.

His onward journey will take him through Portstewart, Ballycastle, Carnlough, Whitehead and then onto South Belfast.

For the final leg of his journey on Friday he will be met by the new intake of first year pupils who will complete the final two miles back to the school where a celebratory fair will be held.

“I wanted to do something special to mark the school’s anniversary and walking a mile for every year of it’s history seemed appropriate,” Mr Naismith, who is originally from Motherwell in Scotland, said.

“I do enjoy a lot of walking and Inishowen is somewhere I walk quite a bit.

“I found out a great deal about Sir William for a book I was working on to celebrate the anniversary and so it seemed appropriate to begin at his birthplace in Malin.”

Funds raised by the walk and the fair will go towards the development of facilities for the pupils.

“It’s an early 4.30am start on the last day so I can meet up with the new first years in time,” added Mr Naismith.

“My deputy says he will keep me awake for the fair, but I plan to put my feet up and do a lot of relaxing come Saturday.”

Updates on Mr Naismith’s journey can be found on Twitter @MethodyBelfast.