A potential meeting with the Loch Ness monster is just days away as Gary Walters prepares to depart Monday for Scotland.
Walters’ 11th Kinship Partners challenge — to raise dollars and awareness of the benefits of mentoring a child — is planned for Aug. 30.
Walters plans to swim the more than a mile-and-a-half width of Loch Ness. The water is hundreds of feet deep, cold and murky. Walters may sharing space with the fabled long-necked beast somewhere in Loch Ness’ depths.
To say the preparation for the swim has been intense may be a stretch, but Walters said he was able to conquer a fear of weeds in the warm waters of Red Sand Lake. A second trip to the mine pits near Riverton proved a little more daunting as the shallows dropped off into the darkness of deep water.
Walters, not a fan of water he has to swim in, nevertheless took up this challenge. All proceeds go to Kinship Partners. As part of the deal, those who donate funds will get a refund with their donation matched by insurance money from Walters’ policy — but only if the monster is the actual cause of Walters’ untimely demise.
As a bonus, donors of $500 or more get to pick a lure or other added attraction for Nessie. One donor already pledged $500 and plans to mail something for Walters to wear around his neck.
According to John Raboin, Walters’ challenge accomplice, the sky is the limit when it comes to bait to be added to the wetsuit-clad Walters as he swims in 50-degree Loch Ness.
Through the marvels of technology, the Dispatch plans to have exclusive images from the challenge in Scotland.
The swim is planned to start at noon on Aug. 30 in Scotland, or 6 a.m. local time.
For more information, go to Walters’ Facebook page at Walters Wacky Adventures or Kinship Partners at www.kinshippartners.org with a link for donations.
■ Kinship Partners has more than 200 children being mentored in the region. Children range between 5 and 14 years of age. Mentors are matched with children who have common interests. Adult partners may be individuals, couples or families.
■ Kinship has been serving the area since 1986.
■ About 45 children are on the waiting list hoping to be matched with a mentor.
■ For more information about mentoring or profiles of children who are waiting for a mentor, go to www.kinshippartners.org.
The road so far Kinship Challenges
■ 2003 — Walters biked from New Orleans to Baxter with his brother Craig, covering 1,540 miles in 19 days.
■ 2004 — He lived nine days on a ledge of Brainerd’s historic water tower just off South Sixth Street for “Perching for Partners.”
■ 2005 — Walters and his children, with Jackson, Jessica and Reggie participating, walked the length of Minnesota covering 437 miles in 22.5 days.
■ 2006 — Walters swam across a rough Lake Mille Lacs with three-foot waves. He covering 14 miles and raising about $20,000 in pledges. Walters swam on and off from about 6:30 p.m. Aug. 16 to 2:30 a.m. Aug. 17, spent a bumpy night on a pontoon and then continued to swim on and off between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Aug. 17 before reaching shore.
■ 2007 — Walters lost 100 pounds in a year, going from 290 pounds to 190 through diet and exercise.
■ 2008 — Walters and son Jackson unicycled for 24 hours around the track at Brainerd High School.
■ 2009 — Walters and Jackson traveled on inline skates from Brainerd to Washington D.C. as daughter Jessica traveled with them on her bike.
■ 2010, Walters completed the Twin Cities Marathon in 6 hours and 32 minutes. He said he thought about quitting but kept on because he wasn’t doing it for himself but was doing it for Kinship Partners.
■ 2011 — Walters, along with Jackson and Jessica, completed the “Coast to Coast for Kids” challenge, riding 3,179 miles on bicycles on a 54-day trek covering the width of the nation between the East Coast and the West Coast.
■ 2012 — For his 10th challenge, Walters’ goal was to raise funds and awareness for Kinship Partners and focus attention on being more healthy. He set up a trifecta of activities. The trifecta included working toward and keeping a healthy weight. He biked 200 miles during 15 hours covering the distance between Baxter and Bemidji and back again with his teenage daughter Jessica. And he completed the Twin Cities Marathon in October in 5 hours and 59 minutes, in time to qualify as a marathoner.
■ 2013 — Walters plans to swim Loch Ness in Scotland and prove once and for all if the fabled monster has any interest in a man from Minnesota clad in a wet suit.